NEW YORK -- Banking on brighter colors, an infusion of hot trends such as chenille and mohair items and high interest in tunic shapes, makers of moderate and better-price sportswear say they're looking for an upbeat holiday season.

Nevertheless, while some firms are expecting increases in excess of 10 percent, others are more reserved in their projections, pointing to the stubborn economic environment.

"Interest in texture continues," said Ellen Daniel, merchandise director of the SK & Co.'s Jessica Tierney line, a division of Bonaventure Textiles USA, which has been revamped for fall. Daniel is expecting peaked interest in knitwear items, such as color-block chenille and mohair sweaters. Other key looks include embroidered wool crepe tunics over slim-leg pants.

"We expect some strong increases for holiday based on enthusiasm from retailers regarding the new direction we are taking," she noted. "But the economic climate is still tough."

Robert Stock Ltd.'s holiday line features mainly textured silk, most of it crinkled and puckered. "We are doing everything that has surface interest," said Danielle Anduze, design director for the company. One key area is expected to be brightly colored tunics with mandarin collars combined with palazzo pants.

Regina Porter, a better-price sportswear designer, noted that pleated velvet pants and jackets, worn with double silk organza blouses, will be a hot look for holiday. In addition, Porter's jungle leopard print group, which includes full pants with tunics, should also be strong sellers.

"We've had a few consecutive flat seasons, but I think starting with holiday sales will be up," she said. "Women have been hesitant about buying because of lack of color. But there are a lot of trends happening."

Kerrie Cline Tunick, design director at Norton McNaughton Inc., believes the firm's staple holiday item -- white rayon and acetate blouses embellished with lace and black beaded wool crepe jackets -- will be top sellers. She said the sportswear collection has been primarily black, but this year Norton McNaughton introduced colors such as ruby red and emerald green in brocades used as trim on jackets and pants.

J. McLaughlin, a division of Sanyo Fashion House Inc., is banking on the kilt as a hot holiday item.

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