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In the Eighties, the Members Only tag line read, “When you put it on, something happens.” Now, that something comes in the form of a jeans line.
This story first appeared in the November 20, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The brand, which became iconic for its signature nylon jackets, has made a comeback. Members Only was resurrected last year by Designer License Holding Co., which also produces the Bill Blass and Earl Jean brands. Out of the gate, the company hit high-end specialty stores with a collection of contemporary leather and nylon jackets. Since then, the brand has made a resurgence, expanding its mix with leggings — including “liquid leggings” made to look like leather, velour leggings and even leggings that appear to look like denim jeans. For spring, the company has launched a full collection of real denim jeans.
“We shipped about 20,000 pairs of our liquid leggings,” said Kelli Delaney, designer and creative director at Members Only. “And celebrities love them — Fergie, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus — they all wear them, so consumers come into the stores asking specifically for them.”
The success of the leggings led Delaney into the jeans arena. Mostly skinny-leg styles and a few pairs of shorts, the denim line consists of eight styles, including the Ripper, a hand-ripped vintage-inspired style; the Carly, a basic stretch style; the Sharpei, which is pleated at the knees and hips; the Quilted, with an allover quilted stitch and three-button closure at the leg opening; the Storm, with a crystallized tie-dye wash, and the Graffiti, a white denim style with accents of pink and orange. The Members Only logo appears twice on every pair — on a small metal plate on a rear pocket and on a smaller fabric label on a front coin pocket.
All jeans are made of Japanese denim, which Delaney imports to Los Angeles for manufacturing.
“It was really important to me to manufacture the product in the U.S.,” she said. “We do mostly everything in New York and Los Angeles. Overseas, I feel like I don’t have the control I want to have.”
The Members Only denim line wholesales from $39 for a pair of shorts to $75 for the jeans. Delaney said she is aiming the collection at high-end specialty stores, including Intermix, Nordstrom and Kitson.
“The price is very affordable for the premium denim market,” Delaney said. “For a girl to be able to walk into a store and come out with a pair of $140 premium jeans is almost unheard of today. And in this economy, consumers are watching their budget, so she will feel like she’s getting a bargain.”
Delaney said she expects to reach about $3 million in first-year sales with the jeans line. She plans a line of handbags with CC Skye and a men’s line for spring.