By and  on January 13, 2011

Riding the sector’s uptick, brands are ramping up their retail presences and expanding their collaborative efforts.

• Italia Independent unveiled its latest collaboration with belt maker Orciani — buckles — alongside a capsule apparel collection inspired by the 150th anniversary of Italy’s independence featuring tricolor knitted ties and fine knits with patriotic collar detailing. The company also is developing plans for small monobrand boutiques, including one in London, and is in talks with Giuseppe Cipriani to establish a retail base in the U.S.

• Swimwear label Orlebar Brown unveiled new printed styles featuring artwork by graphic designer Alan Aldridge — famous for his Sixties album covers for The Beatles and The Rolling Stones — and revealed it was considering opening pop-up stores in resort spots.

• Umbro and designer Aitor Throup introduced its Archive Research Project, dubbed A.R.P., a seven-piece line that delves into football heritage reworking archived pieces such as Sixties football shirts and drill tops from the Nineties into sleek performance microfiber pieces with thermal seams and detachable hoods that capture the sportswear brand’s traditional tailored roots.

• Jeremy Hackett, co-founder and chairman of British men’s wear brand Hackett, said the company is planning Middle Eastern expansion this year. A Dubai store is set to open in the fall, followed by sites in Qatar and Beirut. He also said the company is in talks with a “very strong American partner” to launch in the U.S., and has recently inked a deal to open a store in Milan.

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