Rock & Republic’s New Twist on Basics

Rock & Republic's Plain Wrap line offers lower prices, reflecting the economy.

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LOS ANGELES — Rock & Republic is giving fashion basics a twist in a new line for fall called Plain Wrap.

This story first appeared in the June 11, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

It is the latest move by the premium denim label to evolve with the challenging economy. With the lower prices and tongue-in-cheek branding, Rock & Republic hopes to appeal to a younger crowd as well as its existing customers.

The brand plans to offer T-shirts, jeans, hoodies and Windbreakers for men and women. Leggings and a tank top will be available for women only. Ultimately, the company is striving to provide a head-to-toe look with his-and-hers sneakers and stilettos.

In keeping with Plain Wrap’s name, each item in the collection is emblazoned with its name in capital letters. For instance, a screen print of “LEGGINGS” spans from the calf to the midthigh on the footless tights, and the women’s skinny jeans are identified as “JEANS” on the waistband.

“This is a new initiative with a new perspective for the consumer that wants fashionable basics with staying power,” said Michael Ball, founder and creative director of the Culver City, Calif.-based company. “This is just the start of something bigger, a collection that will evolve and grow with the addition of new product categories in future seasons.”

Plain Wrap is a spin-off of Rock & Republic’s Recession Collection, a limited edition group introduced this spring with more classic, less-embellished jeans retailing for 22 percent less than the flagship line. Plain Wrap retails for between $35 and $198. Devoid of fancy stitching, the new line sticks with a basic palette of black, white and blue.

Retailers that will sell Plain Wrap include Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s. Rock & Republic also plans to sell the label on its Web site and in its freestanding stores in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The latter, a 3,800-square-foot space that opened May 18 on Robertson Boulevard, will merchandise Plain Wrap among the flagship brand’s $385 paint-coated white skinny jeans, $410 red patent leather sandals with cork platforms and $26 lip glosses christened with names like Trust Fund.

While past branding efforts with the Indianapolis 500 and a star-studded fashion show at New York’s Cipriani have been anything but basic, Ball said Plain Wrap won’t weaken the brand’s image burnished by a rock ’n’ roll lifestyle oozing with glitz and glamour.

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