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Spring is in the air as the all-important Las Vegas trade shows approach. Here, an octet of new and notable brands to hit up at the MAGIC, Project, ENK, Capsule, MRket and PGA shows later this month.
This story first appeared in the August 9, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
GREG NORMAN COLLECTION/DUNNING GOLF
Dunning Golf has been part of the Greg Norman family since last October, and the two brands will be housed in adjacent booths at the PGA Expo later this month.
Dunning, which retails for around 25 percent more than Greg Norman, has built its reputation on putting “playability” first. To founder and designer Ralph Dunning, they’re “not golfers, they’re players,” said Jennifer Stender Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the company, and being comfortable while being active is the brand’s primary focus. To fill that need, Dunning for spring will offer an interface stretch pique fabric for its polos that features mechanical stretch, wicking yarns and an ultrasoft hand. The colorfast fabric is also highly breathable and will be offered in an updated button-down collar style in six solids and six stripes, as well as a traditional polo in 11 colors. They will retail for $89 to $95. As a base layer, Dunning will offer a “nonmulesed” merino Australian wool fiber from socially responsible producers for use in crewneck T-shirts ($89), long-sleeve Ts ($99) and boxer shorts ($69). In both long and short pants, classic elements such as single-needle tailoring are employed and mixed with modern features such as four-way stretch for freedom of movement. Bottoms for spring will be available in both the original and a new Players Fit, the latter of which offers a slight tapering of the leg, a two-piece waistband with a V-notch and L-shaped pockets. The shorts will retail for $79 to $89 and the pants for $99.
At the company’s flagship Greg Norman Collection, the brand has updated the traditional stripe pattern by employing new placements and asymmetric designs to create visual interest and a more-modern aesthetic. “This is a brand that still offers a real true fashion collection,” said Hawkins. “That’s the point of differentiation.”
The spring offering will center around the label’s proprietary ML75 and Dri-release microfiber fabrics in its golf shirts. ML75 has been updated with a lighter feel and will be offered in 11 colors and retail for $65 to $69, while Dri-release shirts, which will sell for $69 to $75, will offer the performance of a microfiber with the feel of cotton. Tech pants and shorts are being offered in eight colors and feature a contemporary design combined with quick-dry attributes. They will retail for $65 to $75.
— Jean E. Palmieri
Randa Accessories Leather Goods has a lot to show at MAGIC this season and has taken 2,500 square feet within the men’s section to highlight its assortment of labels and categories.
In May, the 102-year-old Randa acquired Swank Inc., its largest competitor, and has spent the past few months integrating the two companies. “This is a transition year for us,” said David Katz, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We are going to highlight all our divisions under one landscape.”
Among the brands that will be available at the booth are Levi’s, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Columbia Sportswear, Nautica, Guess, Tommy Bahama, Trafalgar, Williamson-Dickie and Dockers. The booth will be segmented into Randa neckwear and leather goods, Swank leather goods and jewelry, the upscale Trafalgar assortment, seasonal footwear and Tommy Bahama.
Richard Carroll, vice president and creative director, said that, while the designs and price points may vary depending upon the label, there is one consistency: a “color explosion.” This will span everything from belts and ties to seasonal footwear, which will be offered in a variety of bright hues. “It will be fun, exciting and energetic,” he said.
Seasonal footwear is a new category for the company and, at MAGIC, the company will show its colorful line of sandals, flip-flops and slippers. “We anticipate a huge business in this classification under Geoffrey Beene, Weatherproof and Five Flops,” said Katz.
Men’s jewelry is also expected to garner attention at the show. Swank is the largest supplier of men’s jewelry in North America and offers pieces under brands including Kenneth Cole, Geoffrey Beene, Guess and Donald Trump. “Men’s jewelry continues to grow as a classification, particularly in the gift area,” said Katz. “As men continue to dress up and purchase accessories, cuff links and tie bars lead the way, and bracelets and necklaces are on the rise.” Another growing business is casual bags, such as backpacks, messenger bags, business cases and personal electronics cases available under Tommy Bahama, Levi’s, Nautica, Timberland and Dockers names.
In addition to spring, Randa will show some holiday gifts for immediate purchase. This includes such items as ice scrapers, snowball throwers, mug and hand warmers, which sell well in regions such as Florida and California, as well as in colder states, Katz said. Randa will also enter the ear buds business this year under several brands, including spROCKet and X-Gear.
Because of its wide range of brands, Randa can service retailers in a variety of price points including department stores, luxury specialty stores and midtier retailers, as well as off-pricers and e-commerce players.
ROCKMOUNT RANCH WEAR
The Denver-based Rockmount Ranch Wear has been a mainstay in the Western wear industry since 1946 when the company’s founder, Jack Weil, introduced the first Western shirts with snaps. The closure was so revolutionary at that time that the brand’s signature shirt is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution. Over the years, Rockmount, which is still a family-owned business, has counted such stars as Elvis Presley, Robert Redford and Dennis Quaid as fans.
With that heritage as a backdrop, Rockmount will bring its unique take on American fashion to the MRket show for the first time this season.
Steve Weil, grandson of the founder, said he will bring the company’s men’s, women’s and children’s collections to the show as he seeks to expand Rockmount’s penetration in better specialty stores.
The men’s spring collection will offer short- and long-sleeve shirts in yarn-dyed Pima cottons in checks and plaids as well as lighter-weight denims with vintage embroideries. “A lot of what we do is very intentionally year-round,” Weil said. “We use versatile fabrics and colors in our shirtings. And they’re all designed for the maximum selling window.”
There will also be short-sleeve models featuring novelty prints ranging from Hawaiian to vintage Western patterns.
“There are certain designs that we have that are the longest produced shirts in the country,” Weil said, “but that’s not to say that we don’t have 50 percent new things each season.”
Men’s shirt prices range from $75 to $120 retail and are sold in mainly independent Western, fine men’s and lifestyle stores around the U.S.
It may always be endless summer to a surfer, but even the most passionate water-sports enthusiast eventually grows up. It’s this man that Quiksilver targets with its Waterman Collection.
The line is designed to appeal to “more mature males who are action sports enthusiasts,” said Peter Mel, marketing director for the brand and a former professional surfer — guys that still like to paddle, spearfish or spend time around the ocean or other bodies of water.
“It’s got a cleaner design, is user friendly and not logo-driven,” Mel said.
For spring, Waterman, which will be shown at MAGIC in the S.L.A.T.E. section, will offer its take on boardshorts for the 30-plus man. Some of the models will be manufactured from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which is recycled from plastic bottles. The shorts feature four-way stretch and many have a diamond dobby, which is a hallmark of the brand. They retail for an average of around $65.
“We’re also known for our woven tops,” Mel said. At the show, the brand will showcase its Tama Reef style, a printed silk polynosic mix that is “very comfortable” and will retail for $69.50.
“And one of the successes we’ve had is Burgess Bay,” a lightweight linen shirt with roll-up sleeves, he said. For spring, the company is adding three new colors, including sandstone and scuba blue. It will retail for $69.50 as well.
Waterman also offers a variety of water-related accessories, including an inflatable personal flotation device, a hydration pack and the new polypropylene front-zip jacket with reflective detailing.
The line is distributed primarily in surf and sport specialty stores including Bass Pro Shops but is also available in Macy’s and Nordstrom.
Peru often conjures up images of the vertiginous mountains of Machu Picchu, but the coastal country also has a strong surfing heritage — some accounts even say the sport was originated by early settlers of the region. Lorenz Korder Fort channeled that inspiration in founding his swim and sportswear line Olasul, a portmanteau of the Spanish words ola, meaning wave, and azul, meaning blue.
For spring, the line has grown its assortments into new categories, offering shawl collar cardigans, reversible sweatshirts, button-down oxfords, chino pants and bags fashioned from industrial trucking tarps in addition to its core men’s swim lineup.
“Our theme this season is the motion of water and the sea and waves, so our prints are very gestural,” said Fort of the spring designs, which will be at the Capsule show. “There are swirls and zigzags, with a color palette in aqua, orange and chili pepper.”
There’s also a capsule collection within the larger line that incorporates the logos and colors of historic surf clubs like the Bondi Boardriders Club in Australia, the Biarritz Surf Club in France and Club Waikiki in Peru for retro designs including palm-leaf print swim trunks, a solid longer short and a logo T-shirt.
Fort, 28, was born in San Francisco and moved as a child to Lima, Peru, where he grew up. He later studied business and studio art at Connecticut College and then worked at a branding agency in New York, working with accounts like Club Monaco, Coty and Revlon. After taking some classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology, he launched the self-financed Olasul in 2009.
The brand is now sold in 60 department store and specialty store doors, including Bloomingdale’s, Scoop, Ron Herman and Tenet in Southampton, N.Y. The boardshorts, which retail for $120 to $150, are made in Spain and Morocco from quick-dry Spanish fabric, while the sportswear is made in Peru from Peruvian Pima cotton.
“All our swim fabrics and construction are European and compare with competitors like Orlebar Brown and Vilebrequin, but are much less expensive,” noted Fort.
— David Lipke
J AND COMPANY
J and Company is relaunching this fall as a full men’s and women’s collection following a three-year hiatus. The brand was originally introduced as a denim line in 2003 by owner Milo Revah as J&Co., but stopped production in 2008. In its new incarnation, the brand has tweaked the name and expanded into suits, sportswear and outerwear.
The line, which will be shown at ENK Vegas, has sold into about 100 specialty stores, including American Rag, Fred Segal, Madison, Atrium, E Street Denim, Base and Bill Hallman. “We have evolved the brand into all categories to reinforce our concept of urban chic,” said Revah, whose Revah Holdings Inc. is based in Los Angeles and operates a sourcing operation out of Hong Kong. “The brand has a focus on fine fabrications and finishes and an emphasis on comfort.”
That approach can be seen in the spring lineup’s French terry zippered hoodies that retail for $228, French terry dropped-crotch drawstring shorts for $168 and cotton linen jersey polos for $78. Suits will retail for $936, sport coats for $498, Japanese cotton shirts for $198, and jeans and twill chinos for $209 to $229.
The suits are made from wools blended with silk, mohair or stretch fibers, with natural, unconstructed shoulders. Sleeve heads are spacious for comfort but are paired with fitted armholes for a sleek silhouette. Pants for the suits are available in three different fits: narrow, straight and wide.
Shirts come in cotton heather, cotton stripes and double-face chambray. The somewhat fashion-forward jeans come in three fits: slim with a dropped crotch, straight and skinny. They are fashioned from compact denim and feature double coin pockets, straight yokes and double-needle topstitching.
Chinos, which are available in canvas, twill and double-face dobby fabric, are made using various dyeing processes that evince a range of vintage and faded characteristics.
J and Company has no connection to its well-known Los Angeles neighbor J Brand. Revah — who was born in Israel, raised in France and has lived in the U.S. for the past three decades — said there are no trademark issues, as his company has owned the J and Company name since the late Nineties, before J Brand was established.
DESCENDANT OF THIEVES
Launched in 2010, New York-based Descendant of Thieves was founded by Matteo Maniatty, a former sales director at Original Penguin, and his Berlin-based partner, Dres Ladro — a name that is an alias due to his desire to remain anonymous. (Dres ladro is also Italian for “descendant of thieves.”)
“The faceless alter ego is very much a part of the brand and has unconsciously infused itself in the brand, i.e. the faces of the models are all concealed on all editorial images,” noted Maniatty of the measure of mystery behind the company. He insisted that Dres Ladro is an actual person and the designer of the line.
The brand is focused on shirts, polos and T-shirts and is in about 110 doors, including Nordstrom, American Rag, Ron Robinson, E Street Denim and Halls in Kansas City. For fall 2013, the duo plans to expand the lineup into blazers and sweaters.
Each style is produced in limited editions, with only 398 units on average made per design, with each garment numbered by hand on the care label. Shirts include lightweight oxfords, plaids, horizontal stripes, polka dots and textured solids, like one shirt in a corona weave.
The polos, some of which have contrasting undercollars, don’t bear a logo on the chest, but use a colored dot on the lower hem as a subtle insignia. The dot is meant to imply the acronym for Descendant of Thieves.
The product is produced in India using mostly Japanese fabrics. Woven shirts retail for $98 to $125, polos are $79 and the T-shirts are $60, with Maniatty himself selling the line on the East Coast and the Ways and Means showroom in Los Angeles selling it on the West Coast.
“It’s all about these quiet details, like interior grosgrain trim, hidden pockets on the short-sleeve shirts and yellow taping that shows when you roll up the cuffs,” added Maniatty, who will show the line at the Project show.
GORJANA & GRIFFIN
Laguna Beach, Calif.-based accessories brand Gorjana & Griffin is launching a men’s collection called Griffin at Project Las Vegas.
“It seemed so obvious because we have a lot of men working here and we weren’t making any products for them. We were jealous,” said chief executive officer Jason Griffin Reidel, who started the company with his wife, Gorjana Reidel, in 2003.
The 40-piece line, comprising jewelry, bags and small leather goods, is priced from $10 to $180 wholesale.
“There seemed to be a shortage of men’s accessories that fit our fashion sense, which is simple and approachable,” said Gorjana Reidel, president and creative director. “We wanted it to appeal to a large customer base with something clean and classic that’s not going to break the bank account.”
The canvas and leather bags and small leather goods come in a range of neutral colors that complement the wide range of colors available in the leather and cord bracelets.
“Guys like having different bags for different things,” he said. The fall launch collection includes a messenger bag and a weekender bag and, for spring, there will be a boating bag and a smaller day bag.
The duo is also looking to redefine the way men wear jewelry.
“We’d like to evolve the male customer to show that you don’t have to have just one. You can switch them out according to your mood or outfit, or you can wear several at once,” he said.
In addition to the company’s e-commerce site, Griffin will be available at Revolve.com and in pop-up shops within all 45 Seven For All Mankind stores. The Reidels hope to open specialty store and boutique accounts at Project, with first-year sales projections of $3 million.
— Marcy Medina