By  on January 10, 2005

NEW YORK — Designer Stan Herman will unveil his eponymous collection of updated and upscale robes and at-homewear today at a new showroom and offices at 135 Madison Avenue here. Herman also has a new licensee, Carole Hochman Designs Inc.

Last fall, Herman’s new line joined the licensing family of the Hochman company, an independent manufacturer and distributor of private label and branded sleepwear and daywear. The company produces the Carole Hochman brand, as well as six licensees — Betsey Johnson Intimates, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Nine & Co., Esprit, Jockey and the Oscar Pink Label and Oscar Signature labels.

First-year wholesale volume projection for Stan Herman robes is $5 million, said Seth Morris, president of Hochman. “But that’s a conservative figure. We went in looking to raise the bar, and we’ve succeeded,” he said, noting that the goal is to position the Stan Herman name as a status brand.

Distribution is intended for major department and specialty stores, catalogues and specialty boutiques. Wholesale prices average $21 for bed jackets that have a vintage flavor to $40 for supersoft microfiber terry robes. 

Herman, who also serves as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and has designed everything from dresses and sportswear to Vogue Easy Patterns and Federal Express uniforms, said the new venture will “allow me to be a designer again.”

“It’s wonderful when you are challenged to design again and not just be a price range. They are so designer-driven here. I’ve always believed business gets better when design drives the business, not when business drives business. Some people consider robes a dying business. But I think it just needs to be revitalized. We’re already into the March line. I like that. They like to push you here, and that’s good for me.”

Herman was formerly designer of signature chenille robes and at-homewear bearing his name at the Intimate Apparel Division of Kellwood Co., and before that spent five years with Crowntuft Manufacturing Corp, which was acquired by Kellwood in 1989. The license with Kellwood expired in 2004.

Fabrics in the fall-holiday collection include several microfiber introductions: a polyester that has the look and silky hand of sheared faux mink; an ultrasoft polyester nylon fleece chenille, and a polyester terry blend that Herman called “micro lush.”“It’s something everybody is raving about, and it’s made to look like it’s a double-face fabric,” he said.

Styles include wrapped, button-front “car coats” that have a marled knit look, easy long and short dyed-to-match zip-front caftans, softly tailored long and short wrap robes, and lounge tops and pull-on pants. Special effects include retro-looking hand embroideries, honeycomb, quilted pointelle and wave patterns, and a new microfiber classification — printed polyester terry. Sizes will be S, M, L and XL. Select styles will be sized 1X, 2X and 3X.

Regarding competitive pricing, Julie Moscatello, brand manager for the new collection at the Hochman firm, who was a sales associate for the Herman line at Kellwood, said: “We’ve positioned this line price-wise slightly higher than private label, Miss Elaine and Diamond T. We have a tremendous sourcing base for development, workmanship and details, mostly in China and Pakistan.”

Donna Giambrone Ingram, director of merchandising and design for the Stan Herman line as well as private label and sleepwear by Nine & Co. and Jockey, said, “There was a lot of effort to upgrade the brand and its image.” She showed a new contemporary label conceived by the Hochman company’s marketing and design crew, which features the Stan HerMan name in lavender, green and pink on a Hershey chocolate brown ground.

Referring to the verbiage on the label and a hang tag that features a visual of Herman with a model wearing a robe, she said, “It’s pronounced Stan Her Man.” Ingram, too, was associated with Kellwood as a merchandiser of sleepwear and robes.

The interior of the hang tag says, “Meet Stan Herman. He’s the man who makes our lives at home so much softer, cozier, and most importantly, he does it just for you.”

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