By  on November 21, 2005

BARCELONA — HYD, the Italian-made hosiery and sock line based in Sabadell, Spain, is hoping to make strides in the U.S.

The line is marketed in the U.S. through Union City, Calif.-based Ifashiongroup and sells on the group's Internet sites, and, as well as to selected U.S. boutiques.

However, operations director Peggy Huang said HYD is beginning to broaden its target toward high-end department chains like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

"It's hard to open markets for high-priced quality hosiery in the U.S. because of the growing popularity of cheaper items coming in from China," Huang said. "It takes time for the fashion hosiery market to blossom."

Claudio Gazzotti, managing director of Industrie Tessili HYD, the Barcelona-based distributor of HYD, said the brand is established in Spain, with 500 domestic sales points in mainly multilabel specialty shops. He added that Spain's distribution potential is roughly double, or 1,000 doors. The company also sells in the U.K., but no other European export markets are being considered, according to Gazzotti.

"Our concept is based on a high-quality, semiartisan product — and durability is key," Gazzotti said. "We don't produce large quantities."

HYD's hosiery group includes pantyhose and knee-highs in two classifications: basic, which accounts for 75 percent of the range, and fashion, which makes up 25 percent of the assortment. Both feature hand finishings, flat seams and exclusive allergy-free materials. In addition, tights are lightly scented with natural aloe. Retail prices range from $18 to $30.

"We need to offer a complete line of sheers and fantasy so retailers don't have to look elsewhere," Gazzotti said.

HYD's winter fashion line features graphic prints, large-scale florals, lace-like openwork and fishnets.

Innovations for spring include the rollout of three-piece lingerie sets under the "You love me by HYD" tag line. The sets comprise camisoles, thongs and pantyhose in Lycra spandex and tulle, and feature brightly colored jacquard prints with color-coordinated waistbands and seaming. The sets will retail here for 40 euros, or $48, and the concept will be test-marketed in the U.S., where price points are roughly 30 percent higher, Gazzotti said.Spring fashion colors for the hosiery and socks range from pink and pistachio to champagne with a touch of glitter.

"Women need emotion," Gazzotti said.

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