Nudie Jeans, the Swedish jeans firm known for its dedication to raw organic denim and sustainability, is gearing up for a substantial push in the U.S.
Underlining a plan to expand its wholesale and retail operations in the world’s largest consumer market is a shift to a direct-ownership model from an 11-year-old distribution agreement under which Want Agency has been responsible for sales, distribution and marketing in the U.S. and throughout the Americas.
Michael Irving, who’d been sales director under the Want arrangement, has been named director for North American sales and marketing, reporting to Andreas Åhrman, international sales and marketing director. Ruari Mahon, previously North American marketing and public relations manager, becomes global head of public relations, a new post. Nudie will name p.r. coordinators in London and Berlin in the future.
The transition to direct management of Nudie’s North American business kicks in on June 1 with Nudie taking complete responsibility for selling and shipping with the arrival of the spring 2015 season.
The change comes as Nudie puts a solid year behind it and embarks on plans to accelerate growth in a number of markets outside its home in Sweden. Last year, sales were up 18.5 percent to $64 million worldwide, from $54 million in 2012, with wholesale volume up 14.6 percent, to $55 million from $48 million, and retail revenues, including e-commerce sales, ahead 50 percent to $9 million from $6 million. Germany, South Korea and the U.K. provided the strongest growth last year while the company returned to Greece and initiated distribution in Russia.
“We have positioned ourselves for many years as the midprice denim brand in somewhat premium exclusive distribution channels at wholesale, putting us in a position for growth, which we saw strongly in 2013,” said Åhrman. “For 2014, we have higher expectations.”
Sources of growth will include the push into the U.S. and a diversification beyond jeans into tops, outerwear and accessories, which Åhrman said are still relatively small but primed for expansion after enhancements to the product-development team. In its jeans business, he expects regular fits to make a comeback this year after a strong performance by tight and slim fits in 2013. The regular-fit Steady Eddie model — with a normal rise and slight taper at the bottom — is expected to generate much of the increase in more relaxed silhouettes.
Nudie uses unisex sizing and doesn’t break out sales by gender.
Retail — which increased its share of revenues to 14.1 percent last year from 11.1 percent in 2012 — is seen more as an engine for wholesale growth and is increasingly tied to the company’s dedication to sustainability. Stores, like the Berlin store opened in collaboration with 14 Oz. and Bread & Butter founder Karl-Heinz Müller and a second Swedish unit in Stockholm, have been christened as “repair shops” where customers can have jeans damaged by repeated wearing restored to a more acceptable state without charge. Nudie’s Web site invites customers to take them up on the offer and points out that tighter-fitting jeans and those subjected to laundering or other treatment before sale are more vulnerable to visible wear.
Nudie has 95 wholesale accounts with 150 doors in the U.S. and an additional 43 with 85 stores in Canada. Major accounts include Barneys New York, Atrium and Mr Porter.
Nudie’s own retail network includes five of its own shops, including three in its home market of Sweden, two of which are in Stockholm and a third in its headquarters city of Göteborg, and one in London. As part of the transition to a direct-ownership model, a combination showroom-store in West Hollywood will become a Nudie-owned unit next month and subsequently be renovated.
Additionally, there are five distributor-owned stores in Japan, four in Australia and two in Europe in addition to the Berlin joint venture.
With the change in operations, Nudie is planning to expand North American retail, including wholesale penetration.
The firm is hunting for space in New York and Los Angeles, where it would like to eventually have multiple units. Among the top-priority markets for further expansion in North America are San Francisco, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto.
While its North American management organization is modified, the company remains on track to make each of its products traceable through the supply chain, from fiber to store. For the past year, Nudie has had a production guide, in which it lists all its suppliers and summaries of their sustainability and safety audits, on its Web site.
“Transparency is not a marketing tool for the brand,” said Åhrman. “It is simply how we work.”
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)