A few fresh faces exhibiting throughout this week’s plethora of trade shows.

RELATED STORY: Ones to Watch in Men's Wear >>

X by Gottex

Swimwear giant Gottex aims to make a splash in ath-leisure.

Fifty-eight years after its founding, the New York-based brand is merging activewear and sportswear into a new women’s label called X by Gottex.

While the flagship business designed by Keren Gasner is popular with women in their 40s and 50s, X by Gottex is geared for a younger customer who effortlessly tosses a blazer over leggings.

Designed by Qing Huang, a 26-year-old who worked for Me&City in his native China before graduating from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and honing his skills at Ohne Titel, the offshoot is making its debut at ENK Vegas in booth 28133 with jumpsuits, jackets, leggings, T-shirts and sweatshirts inspired by, in the designer’s words, “colorful movement.”

Sharing prints with the swim side, X by Gottex applies waves, geometric shapes and gradient shading to a palette of cobalt blue, black, white, mint green, red and orange.

French terry cloth and a stretch polyester jersey that is often used in activewear offset 3-D mesh. Huang manifests his motif for movement in curved seams. For instance, a French terry jumpsuit is enhanced with an arched mesh panel above the bust.

“We are trying to build a brand inspired by athletics,” he said. “We want to express the style and the look in a contemporary sportswear way.”

Following the fall inaugural collection that was picked up by Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters and Carbon38, X by Gottex hopes the sophomore lineup for spring will pave a way to retailers such as Barneys New York, Intermix and Bloomingdale’s in the U.S., and also to foreign markets in Russia and South America. Retail prices range from $70 to $200. Huang pegs first-year sales at $20 million.

“They can wear it to work, they can wear it to hang out on the weekend,” Huang said of the sporty separates. “It’s like a new lifestyle for the modern customer.”   

— Khanh T.L. Tran

NEXT: Baldwin Denim >>

Baldwin Denim

Baldwin Denim is heading to the desert with what it dubs its “cool core.”

Introducing its women’s line in Las Vegas at the Tents @ Project (booth 214), the Kansas City, Mo.-based jeans brand defines “cool core” as core products with a cool factor, namely, things that women turn to when they get dressed every day. Those could be jogger styles in sueded microfiber with water-wicking capabilities, brushed twill utility pants designed with pockets for subway tickets and cell phones, or boy-fit jeans with tapered ankles.

“I want to be one of three pairs of jeans in a woman’s closet that is her absolute go-to,” said Matt Baldwin, a retailer-turned-designer who started the namesake men’s brand with his wife, Emily, in 2009 and introduced the women’s component four years later. “I really want to build a solid business in the denim industry.”

These days, the denim market also expects sportswear. To that end, Baldwin is borrowing a bit from men’s closets for its oversize crewneck pullovers in Merino and yak wool for women. A French translation for “museum of modern art” and photographs of basketball hoops and intriguing edifices in Los Angeles and New York transform a simple top into a “mature graphic T-shirt that doesn’t read “young” but reads “right and relevant,” he said.

Black, white, navy and gray build the palette for tops and pants, while the denim washes include vintage treatments. Retailing from $150 to $400, all the products are made in the U.S.

“I have such a long-term view of how I want to build the brand,” said Baldwin, declining to disclose sales for the privately held company. “It’s about putting out the highest quality.”

— Khanh T.L. Tran

NEXT: LaeR >>

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