NEW EXEC AT JH COLLECTIBLES: Brad Saltzman has been named executive vice president, sales and marketing, for JH Collectibles, a new post.

Saltzman will be based in the company's New York showroom. He will be responsible for coordinating and directing JH Collectibles' sales and marketing strategies in department and specialty stores for the company's misses', petite and women's divisions.

Before joining JH Collectibles, Saltzman was vice president at Andrea Jovine. Prior to that, he was executive vice president for Semplice.

SEARLE'S SPORTSWEAR MESSAGE: After several years in the outerwear and knitwear retail business, Searle president Steve Blatt has decided to "dip a tiny toe into the big water" of sportswear and dress manufacturing.

"We think we need a little more exposure," said Blatt, who has five stores in New York under the Searle name. "We're starting out small and cautiously, selling the dresses to Bergdorf Goodman and the sportswear to Adele's in Pittsburgh and The Gazebo in Winston-Salem, N.C."

Blatt is designing the line, which will be called Searle and will be manufactured in the United States. The first delivery is scheduled for mid-August, and there will be new groups every month.

He noted that jackets will wholesale around $375, pants will be around $175 and dresses will be around $350. For the first season, colors are "very dark," including navy, brown tones, plum, neutrals and black. Fabrics will be mostly worsted wool and cashmere. He said he expects the line to do about $1 million during its first two seasons.

MATHE TAKES ON EP PRO: Lawrence Mathe, president and chief executive officer of Eastern Pacific Apparel Inc., which purchased the E.P. Pro and women's private label divisions from Crystal Brands Inc. last month, said he expects overall sales to hit $15 million in 1994.

Mathe, former president and chief executive of the Crystal Brands Womenswear division, which oversaw the operation of E.P. Pro and private label, and Stuart Warshaw, an apparel industry consultant, bought the two divisions in late May for $200,000. Warshaw is vice president and chief operating officer. Eastern Pacific was started for the purchase.Mathe said E.P. Pro business for fall and holiday has doubled from a year ago. Eastern Pacific, at 80 West 40th St., assumed all fall and holiday 1994 inventory and all open letters of credit. The business's total liquidation value was $150,000. The same management, merchandising and sales team formerly working with the two divisions at Crystal Brands will join Eastern Pacific, Mathe said.

E.P. Pro, a women's golf apparel label distributed through resorts and country clubs, had 1993 sales of $7.5 million. The private label business, which had a volume of more than $1 million, works primarily with Dillard Department Stores and Talbots, according to Mathe. Mathe further noted that a licensing agreement has been signed with Wolsey Canada Inc., Montreal, to manufacture and distribute a line of women's and men's golf apparel in Canada under the E.P. Pro label.

CRAIN LEAVES GITANO GROUP: After the assets and the name Gitano were acquired by Fruit of the Loom this year, a few of the company's executives stayed on to administer the bankruptcy of the Gitano Group. One of them was C. William Crain, who had been the vice chairman and chief operating officer under chief executive officer Robert E. Gregory. Because the group's Chapter 11 reorganization is winding down, Crain has decided to leave the group, Gregory said Tuesday. According to a spokesman for the company, Crain will take some time off before making his next move. Crain couldn't be reached for comment.

GIRLS' HOOK: J.G. Hook, which made its name with its own women's sportswear line but now is a total licensing operation, has signed a deal with Hickory Hills Industries to manufacture a line of J.G. Hook girls' sportswear. J.G. Hook already has a line of girls' dresses, girls' outerwear and boys' sportswear. The line will make its debut for the spring 1995 market and will consist of coordinated sportswear and related separates for department and specialty store distribution and catalogs.

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