By  on October 22, 2009

“Our challenge is always how to keep things exciting but wearable,” said Chris Cox, Nautica’s vice president of design and creative at a spring showroom presentation on Tuesday. “We are a traditional-based brand that wants to feel new and modern for today.”

To that end, Cox showcased sharp double-breasted suits with peak lapels and snappy seersucker designs in super 100’s fabric, paired with eye-catching aqua-hued dress shirts, all licensed to Smart Apparel. The tailored jackets were about an inch shorter than the traditional Nautica fit, pointed out Cox, for a more streamlined look.

Neckwear, licensed to Superba, featured silk heathered knits and cotton yarn dyes fashioned from shirting fabrics.

Slim fits were the key trend in denim. “That’s what everyone’s asking us for,” noted Cox. “And white and khaki denim is an important addition for summer.”

An explosion of bright colors livened up early summer sportswear deliveries, which then segued into a black-and-white theme as a transition for fall.

“We love swim,” added Cox, highlighting an array of volley-length trunks and boardshorts, with photo prints, floral motifs and watercolor designs. “The proportion is coming up the leg a little, and we want to get our guy into a shorter length.”

Nautica sales have been on an extended decline, with the brand shrinking VF Corp.’s sportswear coalition revenue 23 percent in the most recent second quarter and 18 percent for the first half of this year. The company attributed the declines to the very challenging department store and outlet store channels, as well as the exit of the women’s Nautica sportswear business in mid-2008.

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