BCBG’s younger sister, To The Max, is taking its time growing, while maintaining the design integrity of the house that spawned the junior collection.
While most designers are looking at the bear economy as decidedly grizzly, To The Max designer Max Azria seems to be playing with an entirely different animal. "We’re doing well in this economy — it’s good for us," he said. "We’re using it to become more creative, to come up with more designs and to better ourselves."
To The Max, the junior offspring of BCBG, which launched in 1996, is sold in approximately 600 specialty stores and 15 department stores, including Nordstrom, Burdine’s and Marshall Fields. Pieces wholesale on average for $22. The line accounts for six percent of the company’s sales.
The line’s appeal has grown as its customers have: The line was originally targeted at suburban adolescents between 14 and 22, but in fact reaches from 14 to 35.
"We’re designing for women and giving them versatility and quality — we’re giving them trends that respect their bodies," Azria said. "I try to remember my consumer. My goal is to design clothes that make her feel comfortable and allow her personality to come through. The best way to look good is to be yourself."
Fashion items constitute between 40 and 50 percent of the collection, while 50 to 60 percent are basics. "There are two types of people: those who want singular pieces and those who want a bigger concept and lifestyle. I work for the concept and the lifestyle," he said. "Our pieces combine silhouette, fabric and texture to make up a collection that is very easy, basic, casual and modern."
For fall, the 200-piece line will feature vintage elements and embellishments such as buckle straps. Japanese influences, both in silhouettes and prints, are featured in the line. Lending a hint of femininity, lace and appliqués also make cameo appearances throughout the collection. A T-shirt shows an all-lace front panel, while the back provides solid coverage. The wrap-top silhouette also makes a strong addition to the group. "The style changes little by little every season, but when you take a look back, you see the evolution," Azria said.The collection relies on its public relations efforts, wide retail exposure and broadening consumer base — but no advertising — to generate buzz for the line.
"A collection is like an infant: It has to mature and grow before it’s ready," Azria said. "I have so many things on my plate right now that I’m not focused yet on advertising." Advertising strategies await in the wings, however, and while Azria shies away from nailing down any concrete dates or projections, he does reveal an eagerness to gain more exposure. A target of 2004 is penciled in for the launch of advertisements in teen and fashion magazines.
In addition to a growing market within the U.S., To The Max is also discovering quiet success overseas. With no marketing efforts abroad, the line is still gaining sales in Canada, Mexico and Japan. Azria estimated that approximately 10 percent of the line’s entire sales is due to an international audience and concluded, "I will not be surprised if, by the end of the year, that figure has expanded to 25 percent."
While To The Max’s bastion of essential offerings may account for its inexplicable success and expansion during times that might crush similar collections that appeal to the same target market, Azria has a very simple explanation for why women continue to wear his wares: "The only key of our success is our ability to ignore the competition while concentrating on each individual consumer. Because only the consumer buys your product. If what you’re offering is good, then people buy it."
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)