The MAGIC Marketplace includes distinct showcases for the men’s, premium, skate and street markets. Here, a look at what five key vendors from those categories are introducing for spring.
This story first appeared in the August 31, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The King of Tattoo Couture is heading back to MAGIC and, as might be expected, his return won’t be a modest one. The Audigier family of brands will colonize 32,000 square feet in the Central Hall, more than half of which will be consumed by a stage and multiple catwalks. Audigier-land will be just as much a party as a sales showcase with execs promising a nearly endless parade of Ed Hardy-clad models as well as “surprise performances” from Top 40 artists.
But there will be clothes, too. Highlights include a revamped sub label called Christian Audigier: Garage Parts. Think hot-rod sportswear with fewer embellishments and toned-down styling. Meanwhile, the entrepreneur’s namesake label, Christian Audigier, is shifting away from skull tattoo motifs in a bid to better differentiate the brand from sibling Ed Hardy and is playing with Renaissance iconography instead. Ed Hardy also is evolving with the launch of its True Vintage line, a series of T-shirts that relies less on logos and features the colors and graphics of Don Ed Hardy’s original artwork. The artist also has reportedly repaired his once-frayed relationship with Audigier and will start to produce new graphics for the company starting in fall 2010.
The golf brand, best known for the Big Bertha line of clubs, is showing its first apparel collection designed and produced by Perry Ellis International.
Under the tutelage of Miami-based PEI, Callaway’s three lines have been focused and upgraded, particularly the C-Tech label, which is geared to fairwayfriendly clothes that combine modern technology with uncomplicated style.
“There has been a lack of innovation in this area,” said Andrew Croteau, director of merchandising for the line, who pointed to C-Tech’s comfort stretch polo, made from a high-twist cotton that is interlaced with micro-polyester and spandex for a lightweight garment that moves. The company also updated the X-Series label — the umbrella for its more technical apparel — as well as its better product, The Callaway Collection, which features high-end fabrics and a luxury aesthetic well suited for that après-golf cocktail at the club.
Buffalo David Bitton
Buffalo David Bitton will show at both MAGIC and Project to reach the widest range of buyers.
“We really make something for everyone. We like to say that we don’t follow any one trend, and there’s not one trend that we don’t follow,” said Ellen Fassberg, vice president of men’s at the Montreal-based denim and sportswear maker.
At Project, buyers will get a first look at the brand’s new Worn and Loved label, a vintage-inspired line that carries its highest price points: $129 to $209 at retail. The core denim range, priced mostly from $99 to $129, will be the focal point at MAGIC.
“We’re going through a real fashion cycle right now,” said Fassberg of the spring denim collection, which features lots of distressing, grinding, resin coatings and tears and repairs. In terms of fit, straight legs rule, with about 75 percent of sales in those styles this year.
In Buffalo’s sportswear offerings, which comprise about 40 percent of the brand’s total sales, look for plaid shirts, chambray shirts, cuffed and rolled-up shorts and coated poplin and canvas outerwear. As in the denim, accessible pricing is Buffalo’s hallmark, with shirts retailing for $69 to $99 and outerwear for $119 to $139.
“In this economy, our price points have really become a sweet spot for retailers,” noted Fassberg.
Las Vegas will get a taste of contemporary Swedish cool thanks to Julian Red, the seven-year-old label that will join a group of progressive European brands showing at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Founded as a denim play, Julian Red has since evolved into a full collection of modern sportswear. This season, designer Mattias Lind is ditching the slim bottoms and long, drapy tops of last year for a boxier silhouette that is intentionally less crisp. Trousers are wider and rounder, and jackets and sweaters, inspired by rough Japanese twill fabrics and silk crepes, are wide and short with sharp lines.
Lind also focused on details such as gold and mother-of-pearl buttons, hidden stitches and skewed constructions, as in the lining that peeks purposefully out of the pants pockets.
The brand also will present its bridge label, 3-J, which translates the main collection’s modern Scandinavian style into garments that retail for less than $120.
Streetwear label Ambiguous Clothing, showing in the S.L.A.T.E. section of MAGIC, relaunched under new management this year, after its former parent, Irvine, Calif.- based Rays Apparel, went out of business. The brand is now owned by its China-based manufacturer and headed up by David Petri, previously a founder of the Split label.
Now based in Santa Ana, Calif., Ambiguous is sold in about 350 U.S. doors, including the chains Active Ride Shop and Jack’s Surfboards.
About 80 percent of sales are in surf and skate stores, and the designs target that customer, with skate-friendly stretch denim retailing from about $50 to $70. Plaid woven shirts are priced around $44 to $55, shorts are $44 to $52, pants are $52 to $69 and outerwear is $70 to $80.
The brand works with a roster of pro skaters — such as Corey Duffel, James Brockman and J.T. Aultz — as well as a rotating group of artists, on designs and graphics for the collection.
“The brand got a fresh start with a completely new infrastructure, designers, marketing staff and team riders,” said Petri. “A brand rarely gets the opportunity to completely reshuffle the deck and present a fresh outlook on culture and fashion.”
A partner company based in Biarritz, France, oversees distribution of Ambiguous in Europe.