By  on July 29, 2009

B.D. Baggies will relaunch in the U.S. market for spring 2010.

The shirts, known for their cloth packaging, are being reintroduced by the Italian company WP Lavori In Corso, which owns the worldwide license for the brand. The Bologna-based firm has added a contemporary spin to the brand, with a slimmer fit, while retaining its lived-in American sportswear heritage.

Two years ago, the company tapped David Mullen, founder of Save Khaki, to head a revamp of B.D. Baggies, with the first product introduced in Europe this past spring.

“We wanted to develop the product and get a couple of seasons under our belts before launching in the U.S., as well as Japan, this spring,” said Andrea Cane, creative director of WP Lavori In Corso.

B.D. Baggies has been absent from the U.S. market for five to six years, Cane said. Although the brand struggled in the U.S., B.D. Baggies has flourished in Italy and other European markets where WP Lavori In Corso distributed a separate, higher-quality collection under license.

“It’s a very recognizable brand and it was very strong in the Eighties and Nineties, but I don’t think the U.S. distributor, Enro Shirt Co., did a good job with it towards the end,” Cane said.

The new men’s spring offering includes the core B.D. Baggies shirt line; B.D. Foundry workwear-inspired shirts; and B.D. Studio shirts, which are dressier. In addition, a new Gym Baggs label incorporates basic activewear designs in fleece and jersey.

A women’s range of B.D. Baggies encompasses seven styles for spring, including a dress shirt, tuxedo style, tunic and dresses.

The men’s and women’s collections will retail from about $98 to $198, with the bulk selling for less than $120.

“We want it to be affordable, and in this economy we think we have the right pricing strategy,” Cane said.

B.D. Baggies was founded in 1986 by Matt Totilo, who was then an executive vice president at New York-based Enro Shirt Co. The concept was based on a relaxed-fit, prelaundered dress shirt with a casual attitude and packaged in a mini laundry bag. The brand made a quick splash in the men’s market and grew to $15 million in sales within two years.

WP Lavori In Corso became the European distributor of B.D. Baggies in 1987, acquired the Italian license for the brand in 1995 and in 2007 acquired the worldwide license in perpetuity from Enro Shirt Co.

The brand is sold in about 300 European accounts. In the U.S., B.D. Baggies has been picked up for spring by Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Barneys Co-op, as well as many specialty stores. The company expects to be in 30 to 40 department store doors and another 30 independent boutiques.

“There are many attributes about the collection that will make it appealing to a Bloomingdale’s customer,” said Kevin Harter, vice president of fashion direction for men’s, home and young world at Bloomingdale’s. “The design is simple, yet very fashion-right, with great fabrics and flattering fits.”

Founded in 1982, privately held WP Lavori In Corso specializes in leveraging heritage brands, and it holds the worldwide license and distribution rights for Woolrich John Rich & Bros. and Woolrich Woolen Mills; the Italian distribution rights for Barbour; the European distribution rights for Blundstone footwear and the worldwide license and distribution rights for Avon Celli, among other businesses. Last year the company posted total sales of 80 million euros, or $113.7 million at current exchange.

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