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LOS ANGELES — Chip Foster, one of the designing twins that started denim brand Chip & Pepper, is going solo with a new premium jeans line called Pray for Mother Nature.
This story first appeared in the May 27, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Launching this fall, Pray for Mother Nature will offer nine women’s styles, all inspired by a recent trip to Japan that Foster took with his wife, Nicole, who’s helping him design the line. Nicole, a mother of two young children, said she looked at what was missing in her closet to create fashionable but functional pieces that suit her lifestyle.
While Pray for Mother Nature will cover the basics with five-pocket jeans washed in a dark resin rinse, as well as a Seventies-inspired light blue tint, it also targets more forward customers with novel styles such as slouchy cuffed trousers, denim harem pants and a slim style stitched with seams running down the back.
“This line is going to work all around,” she said. “You can dress it up or dress it down.”
“It’s basic, but sexy,” her husband added.
The Fosters are launching Pray for Mother Nature three months after Chip and his twin brother, Pepper, converted Chip & Pepper into a licensed business model with lower prices. Venice Intelligence, a branding and licensing company owned by Pepper and his father-in-law, Charles Perez, now manages Chip & Pepper in the U.S.
After relaunching Chip & Pepper for fall with retail prices ranging from $98 to $130, Venice Intelligence plans to introduce fleece and woven tops, leather jackets and rayon jersey T-shirts as part of a sportswear line for the holiday season.
In contrast, Pray for Mother Nature, which will be made entirely in Los Angeles, will retail from $158 to $198. Living up to its name, the line will donate a portion of sales to environmental charities.
Chip Foster acknowledged the prices might deter customers facing economic challenges. But he hopes to tap into the demand among retailers and shoppers for something new and different.
“It’s kind of an exciting time to launch this new brand,” Foster said, estimating first-year sales of $2 million to $4 million. “We’re pros at this business, and we know what sells and what doesn’t.”
Pray for Mother Nature’s prices may not deter denim aficionados, said retailer Jackie Brander, co-owner of Fred Segal Fun, which specializes in the latest trends in jeans.
“The Japanese imported fabric is a standout, showcasing the quality of the jean and is reflected in its pricing,” she said.
The two styles that Brander ordered for her boutique in Santa Monica, Calif., were Slick Rick, a five-pocket legging made of the superstretchy Japanese fabric, and Who’s the Boss, motorcycle-inspired cargo pants that are sleek, slim and tight.
Foster said he wants to appeal to a broad range of customers, including Disney star Miley Cyrus, to whom he promised to send jeans after they met in a Los Angeles parking lot.
“I’m not going to close the doors and be a snob,” Foster said.