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David Chu is relaunching his Lincs men’s collection for fall with a new management team, fresh designs and a plan for growth in both the U.S. and overseas.
This story first appeared in the May 26, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We said, let’s open with a clean slate,” said Chu, best known as the founder of Nautica, which he built into a $1 billion business before selling it to VF Corp. in 2003.
Lincs, which has been produced for five years, started as a golf brand. In 2008 it was merged into the David Chu tailored-driven line to create a lifestyle collection that includes everything from suits, dress shirts and neckwear to outerwear and sportswear. Lincs recently expanded into accessories and now offers items such as iPad covers, wallets and bags.
Chu started by beefing up the brand’s management, adding Paulette McCready Pipher as president, KD Fan to work on design, as well as a new vice president of sales.
Lincs, which had been sold exclusively in Dillard’s since 2008, is being added to Macy’s and Bon-Ton for fall, and the brand will launch in China in June, Chu said. Some 50 specialty stores such as Mark Shale and Puritan Clothing Co., will also carry the collection later this year. The company will also produce a capsule line of bags — totes, duffels, backpacks, etc. — exclusively for Saks Fifth Avenue’s private label program under the name Lincs DC & Co. for Saks Fifth Avenue.
“It’s a traditional line with a modern twist and a European influence,” said Chu. “It is inspired by the golf course but it’s not about golf.”
On June 8, Lincs will make its debut in China, through a partnership with Tri-State Holdings Ltd., which had worked with Nautica when it was still owned by Chu. The launch event will include a full runway show in Shanghai.
The line is expected to be added to 25 to 30 department stores in major Chinese cities over the next two to three months. Shops of 600 to 800 square feet are being installed that are designed to replicate the company’s townhouse in the Flatiron District in New York City, Chu said.
“The Chinese consumer is very interested in fashion, so we’re making the line more progressive,” he added. “In the U.S., it’s a lot of key item business, but in China, we’re trying to give it more sizzle as a collection.”
Looking ahead, Chu said he would consider expanding to Europe and eventually would like to open a store in New York, probably in the Flatiron area. “Maybe that’ll be in the cards for next year,” he said. “But as a young company, we need to stay focused for now on North America and Asia. That’s a tremendous task to take on. The team really understands the business, now we just have to implement it, find the right niche and grow within that. That will bring us where we want to go, but it’s a journey.”