Denim Label Meltin’ Pot Expands for Fall

The rounded-out men’s and women’s Meltin’ Pot collections include pants, sweatshirts, knits and outerwear for fall.

MILAN — Meltin’ Pot is looking to build the brand’s profile in a difficult market by expanding its product range to offer a full look.

The rounded-out men’s and women’s Meltin’ Pot collections include pants, sweatshirts, knits and outerwear that will debut for fall.

Augusto Romano, Meltin’ Pot’s general director, said jeans were to remain the denim label’s core focus.

“It’s an evolution of the brand,” he said of the new lines. “We’ve consolidated our business, but this strategy will really raise our presence now on the market.”

Meltin’ Pot enlisted a new creative director, Walter De Virgilis, to oversee the collections, which utilize fabrics such as gabardine, jersey and cotton sweatshirt, as well as wool and chenille yarns for the knits. Prices range from $34 for a knit to $260 for a jacket.

Romano insisted the move to expand the collections wasn’t driven by sluggish denim sales. The company reported a 40 million euro turnover for 2008, or $58.8 million at average exchange, flat against 2007’s sales figure. The brand’s key markets include Italy, France and Germany.

“Denim is cyclical; every four years there is a drop,” Romano said. “I am not worried about the future of denim or to keep our core product as jeans. I believe the sector will turn around.”

Diversifying the brand’s offer is a move Romano hopes will enlarge space for Meltin’ Pot with its current retailers.

“The biggest challenge of working in this environment is convincing customers that they need to evolve and improve in order to successfully perform in the coming seasons,” he said. “The actual trend is to keep inventory low and wait for something to happen. They are afraid to make mistakes, and by doing so they limit the innovation and evolution that’s vital in our business, even more so in times like these.”

Meltin’ Pot’s U.S. distribution is 100 doors, which it plans to keep until the market is “more receptive,” noted Romano.

Licenses with accessories and bags, which Romano hopes to add by 2011, are also planned as part of Meltin’ Pot’s expansion.