Denim Dish

DDC-Lab Heads to Japan<br><br>Looking to build its presence outside the U.S., DDC-Lab has signed a new distribution deal for the Japanese market.<br><br>Sann Freres now distributes the brand in Japan, with Mitsui acting as the exclusive importer for...

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Madonna’s record label, Maverick, has produced a fall gift-with-purchase CD for CK Calvin Klein Jeans.

WWD Staff

DDC-Lab Heads to Japan

This story first appeared in the September 12, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Looking to build its presence outside the U.S., DDC-Lab has signed a new distribution deal for the Japanese market.

Sann Freres now distributes the brand in Japan, with Mitsui acting as the exclusive importer for the market. As part of the deal announced late last month, Sann Freres and Mitsui have committed to open a freestanding DDC-Lab boutique in an “A” class retail location in Tokyo within a year.

Savania Davies-Keiller, an owner and co-designer of the brand, said she’d been in negotiations with potential Japanese partners for a year.

The company decided to ally itself with Sann Freres and Mitsui because “they are really known for growing brands steadily…rather than very quickly and overexposing them,” she explained.

“It’ll be nice to have a flagship store outside of the U.S.,” she said. “And Japan is a great country to have that in.”

The company plans to open its second New York store in January. The brand already has a presence in the Japanese market, via direct sales from the U.S. However, with the backing of its new distributors, she said, “It’s going to put us on another level.”

The company expects to rack up $8 million in sales in the fiscal year ending June 2003, she said.

Noting that DDC-Lab’s line has expanded to include more than just denim garments, which now represent only 30 percent of the assortment, Davies-Keiller added that the company joined forces with its new distributors partly to try to raise the profile of its sportswear offerings.

“For the very first time, we’ve been recognized for something other than denim. That was one of the things that attracted us” to the deal, she said. “They said: You’re marketed as a denim brand, but you’re not. They were interested in the fact that we’re offering technology.”

In May, DuPont Textiles & Interiors made a “significant” but unspecified investment in DDC-Lab, as reported. That deal gives the company access to DuPont’s labs and new fiber and fabric technologies.

Calvin and Madonna’s Duet

For its fall marketing campaign, CK Calvin Klein Jeans has teamed up with Madonna’s record label, Maverick, to produce a gift-with-purchase that goes a step beyond the typical designer-packaged compilation CD.

In addition to tracks from Maverick, artists including Oakenfold, Me’Shell NdegeOcello and Soul Hooligan, the disc comes with software that a customer can use to remix the music on a personal computer. About 59,000 of the Music Tools CDs are being made for CK Calvin Klein Jeans retailers in the U.S., Europe and Japan, available in early October at stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Urban Outfitters and Parisian.

Fender’s Denim Riff

If big-name musicians can have their own clothing lines, why not the brand behind the legendary Stratocaster electric guitar played by such rock icons as Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix?

DaVinci Clothing Co., a casual clothing maker known for dressing rockers of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, has joined forces with Fender Musical Instruments Corp. to market a co-branded line of junior denim and denim-related items.

Today, DaVinci produces junior lines under private labels for teen-based retailers like Pac Sun, Urban Outfitters and Anchor Blue, as well as a women’s collection for small specialty stores. The Fender by DaVinci line, to launch for holiday retailing is to consist of 20 denim jeans styles using leather trims and torn corduroy details to give them a rock ’n’ roll vibe. The line also includes 15 styles of denim jacket as well as cap-sleeve screen printed logo T-shirts, muscle tees and V-neck baby tees that coordinate with the jeans. Wholesale prices range from $40 to $50 for the jeans and $55 for jackets.

The line is to ship for spring retailing. Wicks said he expects the co-branded line to reach between $3 million and $5 million in sales volume in the first year.

As part of the partnership with Fender, which was signed in May, DaVinci also has the right to incorporate the names of Fender’s properties such as the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Precision Bass and Jazz Bass into the clothing designs.

“The fashion and music businesses have always been aligned, from the early days of the Beatles suits, to the likes of Lenny Kravitz, causing a one-man Sixties-Seventies fashion revival,” said Chris Wicks, owner of DaVinci, a Los Angeles-based company. “Today, sex and rock ’n’ roll rule the direction of fashion in both the young men’s and junior markets.”

Over the years, DaVinci has dressed a number of prominent musicians, including Sugar Ray, Los Lobos, Jimmy Ray Vaughn, Chris Isaak and Steve Jones.

A Brush With a Star

On Saturday, Dollhouse and Elle Girl magazine helped one girl meet one of her favorite stars.

Ashley Garrett, a 18-year-old native of Milton, Fla., met the singer Ashanti after Garrett’s mother entered her in a contest through Elle Girl. The prize also included a Dollhouse wardrobe. Garrett won out of more than 3,000 entries. She was flown to Manhattan with a friend, stayed in the Paramount Hotel in Times Square and rode in a limo to meet Ashanti. These were all firsts for Garrett.

“My mom entered me in the contest. She enters sweepstakes and contests like you and I eat and sleep,” she said. “I have never been to New York and have never flown before either and I have never been in a limo. I am from a small town, so this is a big deal for me.”

On Sept. 7, Ashanti met the winner at Blue Fin at the W Hotel in Times Square. The two had the opportunity to talk, take some photos together and then sit down for lunch before getting into another limo on the way to Macy’s Herald Square, where the singer signed autographs for other fans. While Ashanti was noticeably tired from constant traveling on tour, she came ready to meet an eager fan.

“I love meeting fans and asking them questions,” Ashanti said. “I like to ask them normal questions, like where they live, what they like, stuff like that.”

The singer was sporting a Dollhouse top, and she said she really likes the clothes, but her favorite jeans are Levi’s.

“The low-rise Levi’s are the best,” she said. “They have an amazing fit and they are so great. I love those.”

Denim Day Draws Near

The Sept. 20 deadline for registration to Lee National Denim Day is ticking closer and, as of early this week, registration was tracking ahead of last year’s rates.

“It’s up to about 16,000 companies. At this time last year, we were at about 14,000,” said Kathy Collins, vice president of marketing at Merriam, Kan.-based Lee Co., which organizes the annual charity event, in which employees of U.S. companies agree to pay $5 for the privilege of wearing jeans to work.

The money goes to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, which finances research into the disease, as well as funding efforts to educate women about the disease.

This year’s Denim Day is scheduled for Oct. 4. The jeans maker aims to raise $7.5 million in donations this year. About 1.5 million people participated in last year’s Denim Day, raising $6.3 million, though the number fell short of Lee’s initial goal as most charitable giving was affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Over six years, the event has raised $30 million for breast cancer programs.

This year’s celebrity spokeswoman for the event, Melina Kanakaredes of the TV show “Providence,” is expected to make a number of public and TV appearances in the coming week to promote the event, Collins said.

Shachtman Back at Guess

Nancy Shachtman returned to Guess Inc. last week as president of its wholesale business. She had been on a leave from the company since February, according to president and chief operating officer Carlos Alberini.

“We did not do anything with her position and she was dearly missed,” he said. “We are glad she is back.”

Prior to leaving Guess, Shachtman had a 16-year tenure at the firm, moving up in the sales and merchandising departments. She was named president of wholesale in 2000.

StyleLab to Show in N.Y.

Diesel StyleLab, an offshoot of the Diesel label launched in 1998, will show this season in New York for the first time.

The label, which was launched as a high-end casual collection highlighting innovative designs, has shown in London, Paris and Milan over the years, but decided to show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Bryant Park in order to recognize the city after a tough year.

“Our decision to show the Diesel StyleLab spring 2003 collection in New York is a tribute to this city and the strength of character and artistic expression that defines the people that live here,” said Renzo Rosso, founder and president of Diesel. “New York Fashion Week is a powerful way to reach an influential audience, and Diesel StyleLab looks forward to having the opportunity to experiment and showcase our newest innovations to the international press and buyers.”

The Diesel StyleLab show is planned for Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. in the Pavilion in Bryant Park.

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