By  on August 20, 2009

Fred Perry

Tennis, anyone?

At Fred Perry, it’s all about the racket sport as the core Authentics collection embraces tennis influences for spring.

“We really went back to our heritage and a clean, unfussy, pure and timeless aesthetic for this collection,” said John Young, U.S. country manager for the British-based brand, which was founded in 1952. “We have a lot of great whites, of course, but also tartan swimwear and woven shirts, which look great with shorts or white jeans.”

The brand’s signature tipped polos come in 36 different colors, including bold pinks, bright blues and vivid yellow, available in both classic and slim fits. Polos, at $74 retail, comprise almost 25 percent of the brand’s U.S. business, with track jackets, at $89.50, contributing another 15 percent.

The brand is sold in about 140 U.S. doors, leaving it a lot of room to grow, said Young, especially in comparison with a brand like Lacoste. “We’ve been a niche brand that’s been under the radar, so we’re actually seeing growth, even during these tough times,” he added.

Also at ENK will be the brand’s upscale Laurel label, which is priced about 20 percent higher than Authentics and sold in about 20 luxury retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Ron Robinson. The collection is made in Europe, versus China for the lower-priced line, and features dressy fabrics and sober color palettes such as chocolate, navy and mahogany.

Similarly, the company’s six-season deal for the fashion-forward Fred Perry by Raf Simons line — think orange slim-fit shorts — is sold in about the same number of exclusive doors, including Neiman Marcus and Opening Ceremony.

Fred Perry, which is owned by Japan’s Hit Union Co., opened its first U.S. store in New York’s SoHo in February. The company is looking for a NoLIta location for its Laurel collection.

A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz

After nearly two years out of the marketplace, designer Allen Schwartz is returning to the men’s wear arena for spring. At the ENK Vegas show, look for the A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz label’s laid-back approach to West Coast style, with classic designs gussied up with contemporary fashion details.

“These are the essentials of a man’s wardrobe, with close attention to detail,” said Matthew Klein, director of sales and merchandising at the company, which is headquartered in Los Angeles but conducts sales out of New York. “I think guys today aren’t looking for trends or fads, but pieces that offer longevity.”

Bloomingdale’s already has picked up the brand for spring in nine doors, and Klein — who is a former partner in the now-defunct Trafic trade show and was a co-founder of the Carpé men’s label — is looking to grow the brand in specialty store accounts. Denim jeans, twill shorts, jersey knit polos, chambray and oxford cloth shirts are among the key offerings for spring. Stenciled chest pockets, epaulets and contrast plackets on shirts are some of the defining design elements in the debut collection.

With the entire collection made in the U.S., wovens will retail from $145 to $165; polos, for $125; twill bottoms, for $198; shorts, for $185, and denim, for $205. There are about 35 pieces in two spring deliveries, with various colorways bringing the total number of styles available to about 50.

Schwartz sold men’s under his Allen B. label for three years, before it was discontinued and became a women’s-only brand exclusive to J.C. Penney.




Bespoken

Upscale tailored clothing and sportswear brand Bespoken is making its U.S. trade show launch at ENK Vegas this season. The year-old company is fresh off a presentation at the Hotel Ritz during Paris Fashion Week, and will be bringing to Las Vegas its collection of smartly tailored blazers, crisp dress shirts with narrow collars and sporty outerwear pieces.

“We’ve been doing especially well with our Harrington jacket and our trenchcoat,” said Paul Goncalves, who founded the label with his brother, Carlos Goncalves, along with another set of brothers, James, Sam and Liam Fayed.

The Harrington and trench jackets are fashioned from waxed cotton and retail for $650 and $850, respectively. The spring collection features a casual streak, such as a double-breasted tailored jacket that has been adorned with exterior patch pockets.

“We added some visual cues and wanted to make things a bit more versatile,” explained Goncalves.

The quality of the Bespoken product helps set it apart from other start-up brands, as the collection is produced in many of the same factories as Turnbull & Asser, the venerable English shirtmaker. The Fayeds grew up working in the Turnbull & Asser shops, as their father, Ali Al-Fayed, acquired the company in 1986.

Bespoken will be sold this fall at four Bloomingdale’s doors in the U.S. and Harrods in the U.K. The line is sold out of the Denise Williamson showroom in New York.

Culturata

“Made in Italy” is a key selling point for the accessibly priced Culturata line of shirts. The brand was launched in 2007 by Rome-based manufacturing company Carlotta Holding, which was previously a private label shirtmaker for Italian retailers.

“We own and control the entire manufacturing process and use local, artisanal craftsmen who have decades of experience,” said Jacques Haggiag, who runs Culturata from its headquarters in Toronto. Haggiag is the son of Aldo Haggiag, who founded Carlotta Holding in 1969.

For spring, Culturata is offering its core shirt collection as well as a line of environmentally friendly designs under the Culturata Organics label. The latter is made from 100 percent organic cotton, certified by both the Global Organic Textile Standard and Oeko-Tex, the leading governing bodies for organic materials.

Culturata’s main collection of shirts retails from $145 to $185, with the organic styles running about 15 percent higher in price. “Having a Made-in-Italy shirt available for under $150 is something that retailers have really been drawn to,” noted Haggiag.

Culturata is sold in about 40 specialty store doors in the U.S. and Canada, including Lawrence Covell, Pitkin County Dry Goods, Shaia’s and Butch Blum.

Innovative fabrics are a hallmark of the brand, and for spring it is offering shirts in an ultralightweight double-face cotton, a soft peach-fuzz cotton, called mano pesca in Italian, and a cotton that has been treated with hot stones in a process called fiammato, which creates a grain effect similar to linen.

ENK Vegas
Aug. 31 to Sept. 2
Wynn Hotel, Lafite Ballroom

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