VERNON, Calif. — Lucky Brand Dungarees isn’t gearing up to be the next Gap. But the 13-year-old denim manufacturer, with its heavy dose of rock ’n’ roll Americana and Liz Claiborne’s deep pockets, is ramping up its retail team, updating the look of its stores and keeping up a brisk pace of expansion that will bring its current 68-store total to 100 by the end of 2004.

"It’s about us being able to survive in a business that we’re very different from," said Gene Montesano, chief executive officer, in an interview at the company’s headquarters here. He noted the brand shies away from the latest fads in favor of classic jeans and westernwear.

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