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LOS ANGELES — Milo Revah, co-owner of Revatex Inc., maker of men’s skate-driven line JNCO Jeans, is trying again with the ladies.
After past forays into the women’s market in 1997 and 2000 that hit snags, this fall, Revah is launching J&CO, a casual contemporary line of denim and twill separates, rayon-spandex sporty and dressy shirts, mesh tanks and French terry athletic sets.
“The younger market is price focused, while the actual product is secondary,” observed Revah, who experimented with a higher-end juniors product in the past. “[We were] finding it increasingly difficult to handle the prices in that category, hence the move to the young contemporary market.”
One lesson learned is separating the brand extension with a twist to the name. The past incarnation carried the JNCO label, which he said caused confusion. Still, industry observers believe J&CO can bank on its parent name to generate retail goodwill for easier distribution.
“They’re a brand already. People recognize the resource and they’ve already proven themselves at marketing, which gives them a little extra advantage,” said Trish Moreno, owner of fashion consulting firm Trendsyndicate.
Building brand awareness is a forte of JNCO, whose promotions path has followed traditional as well as street-level tracks. When pushing its signature ultrawide pants, it employed graffiti artists to paint logoed murals near teen hangouts. At one point, JNCO had a store on a trendier stretch of Melrose Avenue, outfitted with computer terminals, video screens and weekend DJs; it closed about two years ago.
More recently, the company has sponsored the L.A. Galaxy and MetroStars soccer teams and has snagged placement in “The Fast and the Furious” video games scheduled for release in November.
The marketing muscle behind J&CO’s late seasonal debut at MAGIC International in August will flex in a new direction, according to Eli Petel, vice president of marketing. Placing the saucy fall print campaign, shot in Paris featuring a sweaty woman in a boxing ring, in such teen reads as YM and Seventeen this fall is Petel’s next objective.
Packaging is also part of the line’s appeal. Its hangtag: an antique copper lanyard clipped to a weathered logo denim label.
Pricing is generally more on the accessible side, with T-shirts wholesaling at $10 to $12, athletic separates from $19 to $24 and jeans from $27 to $37 — although the styling takes aim at the likes of higher-priced Lucky Brand Dungarees, Guess Inc. and Mavi Jeans.
Under the direction of Julien Jarmoune, who designed denim in France, the 50-piece, trend-driven collection focuses heavily on denim. Five-pocket fitted pants have tinted and crinkled effects, creased fronts, two-tone stitching, slash pockets and back pockets edging the yoke. Rear-pocket details vary from center embroidery to flaps on cargo-styled jeans. Jarmoune also pushes sexy ease in camouflage broken-twill cargo pants and tops, from vintage-looking screen prints with bell sleeves to sleeveless raglan shirts with screen prints of Sixties psychedelia or Asian tigers.
In that other category staple, French terry cloth sets, J&CO offers pants and skirts with cargo pockets in solids and two-tone looks with wide waistbands and diagonal seaming.
The collection, shipping Sept. 30, has breadth as well as focus, believes Cynthia Rivera, the line’s national sales executive. “We want to be known for our denim bottoms. We think we can serve an overlooked [consumer who] doesn’t want bubblegum jeans and can’t afford lines in the contemporary market.”
With negotiations under way with boutique and department store channels, Rivera said she expects the line to hit first-year sales of $20 million. JNCO’s men’s wear generates around $100 million.
Already, Jackie Brander at Fred Segal Fun, which carries Seven for All Mankind, Hudson Jeans, Joe’s Jeans and Blue Cult, has placed an order for the jeans.
“We were struck with the great washes and impressive attention to detail and didn’t think the price compromised quality or style,” she said.