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LOS ANGELES — Katie May aims to use the celebrity connections she developed while organizing public relations for Dolce & Gabbana in Hollywood to elevate premium denim into a luxury category with a new line called SINR Denim.
This story first appeared in the August 14, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Launching this fall with wholesale prices ranging from $90 to $100, SINR Denim cuts 9- and 10.5-oz. Japanese stretch denim into four bodies: cigarette, regular boot-cut, wide-leg boot-cut and bell-bottom. Each style is washed in a clean palette of cornflower blue or inky indigo. Embellishments are limited to contrast stitches sewn in black or yellow thread, as well as a tack button hammered out of dusty chrome. In lieu of embroidered back pockets, the line’s signature detail is a simple fold on the right back pocket revealing the fabric’s underside.
“I’m going to keep it really clean and sexy,” said May, who started the line with her ex-boyfriend, Alex Maimon.
While she derived the collection’s name — an acronym for Steel Inspired New-Age Revolution — from her blue-collar hometown of Pittsburgh, May is aware of the role that Hollywood plays in marketing fashion. She said she surveyed the network of stylists she met while working for four years at Dolce & Gabbana to discover what they and their celebrity clients didn’t like about some top-selling denim lines. Stylists such as Jen Rade, who dresses superstars like Angelina Jolie, offered insight on the jeans’ fit by trying on the first samples. For additional guidance, May turned to Indigo Group, the Gardena, Calif.-based manufacturer that has worked with denim labels such as True Religion Brand Jeans, to fine-tune the design and handle production.
May made complimentary pairs to give to celebrities. In anticipation of having the photos of the stars sporting SINR Denim run in magazines, she lined up Shopbop.com as her first retailer for the fall collection. She said she plans to expand distribution for her sophomore lineup to include additional styles such as a pencil skirt and a trouser. She’ll look to expand to specialty shops and department stores in the spring. Her goal is to generate $500,000 in sales in the first year.
“I come from superhigh fashion. I’m not going to go down on denim [quality],” May said. “I want [SINR Denim] to be the Dolce & Gabbana of jeans.”�