Tory Burch Ramping Up Denim

Designer to expand collection for fall.

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Tory Burch will be delving deeper into the denim category come fall.

This story first appeared in the June 10, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The designer has revamped and expanded her collection’s denim offerings as part of a strategy to grow the business and enhance a product category that will aid in the company’s efforts to expand in Europe and Asia.

“We’re looking at [denim] as a core part of our business,” said Burch, adding that denim could represent as much as 10 percent of her ready-to-wear business by the end of the year.

Burch said denim has been a part of the collection since its introduction in 2004. She acknowledged that the primary denim offering consisted of boot-cut and slim styles. Offering a more in-depth denim assortment is recognition of how strong a component denim tends to be for her customers, Burch said. It’s also the right time for the company to be undergoing targeted product expansion.

“We want to prove ourselves in the denim world and we want to do it in the right way and at the right pace,” she said. “For us, it’s a learning process. I feel that we are at a good place right now. I’m really happy with the direction of our collection and it’s something that we’re going to continue to work on and expand. I think there’s always room for denim in the market if it’s great.”

Denim will become a standard part of the collection’s 11 deliveries throughout the year. Skinny and boot-cut styles have been joined by denim leggings, stretch corduroy, a Sgt. Pepper jacket, a sailor-cut style and highly detailed items such as printed denim, bottoms that have been hand-painted in silver and a jacket and a bottom that feature a washable leather.

“I think printed denim is really interesting and I think our prints really translate onto denim,” Burch said.

Retail prices for bottoms range from $165 to $250, and tops sell for $295 to $425. About 50 percent of the fabric will come from Japanese denim mills and the majority of production is in Asia. Other details include hand-ground holes, hand-painting, embroidery and whiskering. Burch also has mixed denim with other materials, such as leather and canvas.

“I’ve learned a lot in the last year doing a lot of research on different fits, textures and weights,” she said.

The revamped denim offerings will be carried in all the label’s branded stores in the U.S. and will be available on its Web site. Many of the brand’s wholesale customers also have picked up the line, as well as 100 department and specialty stores in Europe and Asia.

“As we all know, denim is very much part of how our customer dresses and how we all dress, so I wanted to expand on that and create more options,” Burch said.

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