By  on February 27, 2017
Rails spring 2017

Los Angeles contemporary brand Rails is ready for its next act, which it hopes will be a big step into the men’s arena.The company is set to launch its largest collection to date for men’s in March as it focuses on building out that side of the business, which had soft launched in a handful of shops last year.“The men’s collection to date has been a much smaller part of our Rails offering,” said owner and designer Jeff Abrams. “This spring collection is really our first move into making it a real lifestyle collection. We’re planning to make it as big as our women’s collections.”At the heart of the offering is a focus on fabrics with a luxe hand in the same soft button-downs that the company is known for along with basics, knits, outerwear and bottoms.The men's line is sold through the company’s online site but also at retailers such as American Rag and Planet Blue, in addition to small capsules for Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.It helps that the company’s women’s business has already taken off, with the collection sold in more than 1,000 retailers throughout the world including Shopbop, Revolve and Selfridges.“It’s been a very natural transition for us because we already have a built-in consumer base,” Abrams said of the expansion into men's.The company has plans for international growth of the men’s line in much the same way the women’s business started, with an eye toward the Middle East, Asia and South America.The privately held company doesn’t disclose financial information. Abrams told WWD in the fall that Rails had reached a tipping point in its growth and was on the way to becoming what he called a “midsize” business that has achieved profitability from the start.Men’s, which has so far accounted for about 5 percent of the business, could grow to be about a quarter of overall sales within the next two years, Abrams said. Key to that will be successful operations and a team that can scale with the growth, aspects Abrams is keen on tackling. While the founder has driven the creative direction for the men’s business so far, he plans to bring on a full-time men’s designer for the fall collection and said an individual has already been identified for the position, who will be revealed at a later date.Abrams said the company will likely open at least one store by the end of the year, with the first locations likely to be in New York and Los Angeles. Next year may bring a U.K. store, potentially in London, Abrams said.“I think for us evaluating the retail market we have to be conscious of what’s happening on a macro level of where customers are shopping, but I think there’s a place for us in a brick-and-mortar environment," he said. "Our brand is really focused on the wholesale model. We really try to support our retailers. Launching our own stores will give us a different type of opportunity where we can show the full breadth of Rails. I think there’s definitely room for us in the brick-and-mortar environment provided we have the right stores and the right locations.”

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