Buyers and brands can put another season behind them, with the Las Vegas trade shows wrapped last week. Accessories from emerging brands could still be found at Pooltradeshow. Boho chic continued to be all the rage at WWDMAGIC, while contemporary brands got matchy-matchy with tops and bottoms sets to muted tones. Here, a few highlights from some of the women’s markets.
Backstory: Launched three seasons ago at Project Womens, this fashion-forward line offers a more sophisticated take on fast fashion, whether it’s tonal career dressing or contrasting sporty separates. New York-based designer Julia Zhu designs for both a 25-year-old customer up to 60-year-olds, and the line can be found in Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor.
Key Pieces: The olive mohair cape-style midi Marcel dress, $274 retail; oversized wool trenches and double-faced wool jackets; wide-wale slouchy corduroy trousers, all in the brand’s signature neutrals with a pop of olive.
Prices: Average between $150 to $200 retail.
Backstory: This brand, designed by Swedes living in Paris, aims to bring a European touch to the American market a la brands such as Paul & Joe Sister and Zadig & Voltaire.
Key Pieces: Ruched satiny tops and skirts bring an ath-leisure feel to the going-out wardrobe, while whimsical forest green and cobalt blue printed blouses and matching skirts lend an arty vibe to daytime looks. Faux-fur jackets and full-length coats feel luxe yet knowingly animal-friendly.
Backstory: Joe’s, founded in 2001 by Joe Dahan, is one of the original Los Angeles premium denim companies. It now has four boutiques in SoHo, Santa Monica, South Coast Plaza and Aventura, and is sold at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus as well as specialty stores across the country and in Canada, Japan and Mexico. The brand has since moved beyond blue jeans; its fall collection was inspired by both motocross and ath-leisure, as seen in a denim and leather biker jacket and skinny jeans with inset leather racer stripes.
Key Pieces: “Oftentimes a woman’s only choice in leather is in a skinny silhouette, so we wanted to offer our customer another silhouette that is still just as sexy as a skinny, but has an on-trend twist with the cropped bootleg. The cognac color is quite beautiful and the material used is a genuine stretch lamb leather,” said Joe’s vice president of marketing and e-commerce Jennifer Stender Hawkins, of the stretch lamb leather pants retailing for $698. The turtleneck is also back as a staple for both layering and styling.
Prices: Bottoms range from $168 to $198 retail; fashion pieces with special detail range from $218 to $298, and leather is $698. Tops range from $78 for basics and up to $328 for long sweaters, and a leather jacket is $698.
Backstory: Designer Derin Dundar, who hails from Turkey, wanted to give his three-year-old Los Angeles-based brand an American look “from an outsider’s point of view,” so he also picked a name he regarded as American-sounding. Whether or not it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, the line offers playful and fresh takes on shirting and shirt dresses and sells in about 50 U.S. boutiques including Ron Herman in Los Angeles and Felt in Chicago.
Key Pieces: The Brielle tunic is simple in the front, but the back features interesting ruching — a big trend at Project Womens. Other pieces include the cupro group, from tunics to midi dresses, in muted earth tones, another fall trend. The voluminous shirt comes in a variety of stripes and solids cut from linen, Italian cotton and silk-cotton blends.
Prices: Most pieces retail around $150.
Brand: Chan Luu
Backstory: The Los Angeles-based brand, which just celebrated its 22nd anniversary, continues to deliver strong sportswear collections in addition to jewelry and accessories. This season creative director Tessa Tran drew inspiration from the American “prairie” dress from the 1800s and gave it a modern, wearable spin. Tops, skirts and dresses feature Swiss dot fabrics, lace embellishments, ruffles and high necks. The romantic palette includes marsala, harvest gold and auburn. Lurex pinstripes and drapey satins round out the collection and give it a fun, fresh take.
Key Pieces: Wool-cashmere Juliette sweater, $385 retail; 100 percent cotton Paige high-waisted pant, $215. “The knits this season have boyish, slouchy shapes with a feminine twist; the Juliette is patchwork with an asymmetric hem and oversized sleeves, great for everyday wear with enough personality to stand out on its own,” said Tran. The Paige pant was inspired by a pair of French sailor pants found at a vintage dealer in Santa Fe.
Prices: $115 to $398
Backstory: The five-year-old Los Angeles-based young contemporary line is a master of fast fashion, churning out runway-inspired looks before the originals even hit stores. JOA stands for Just One Answer and is a favorite at Lulus.com, Asos and Anthropologie. This season, the line offers a playful yet polished take on nostalgic prints and silhouettes mixed with collegiate ath-leisure pieces.
Key Pieces: The slouchy houndstooth mock turtleneck sweater, $75 retail; corduroy wide-leg cropped pant, $79; red, white and blue plaid sweater dress and miniskirt with fringed hem; chevron “teddy bear” bomber jacket.
Prices: The majority of pieces retail for $50 to $120.
POOL TRADE SHOW
Brand: Cartameb II
Backstory: Tamara Lipscomb founded the accessories brand in 2017 after having worked in the fashion industry and studied landscape architecture. “This is my voice merging those worlds together. I like to design pieces that look handcrafted and special yet bold,” she said of her designs, made with natural fibers, plant-based dyes and lead-free hardware, with minimal use of heavy metals. The name Cartameb is a combination of hers and her parents’ names, and the same one her mom used to sell antique furniture in the early Nineties. “When I decided to reinvent the brand, I added the roman numeral two at the end of the name,” she said.
Key Pieces: Sold on her web site and in Los Angeles boutiques, the horse hair, raw wood and suede cord necklace with brass details retails for $100. The dip-dye technique she uses on her thick cotton rope necklaces is a form of water conservation, and the natural materials support environmental sustainability.
Prices: $62 to $110
Back story: London designer Jade Pearl conceived her sustainable brand Foresea only a few months ago as a school project, with an eye to the future of sustainable fashion. She created samples by hand, presenting her spring 2019 line to buyers in Vegas — a collection of tops, jackets, jumpers and shorts in sherbet-colored hues using materials made from seaweed and recycled plastics.
“I didn’t want it to be bland. I wanted to bring it urban and to luxury and couture as well,” Pearl said. “I’m an ethical designer but not so obvious.”
Pearl said she’s already exploring use of pineapple, apple and mushroom leathers and other types of materials that can be repurposed into clothing.
Most pieces are meant to be unisex, although items such as the tops and shorts are cut for women. However, Pearl said she leaves it up to the wearer to decide.
Key Pieces: Dramatic sleeves on sweaters and jumpers, stripe detailing on shirts and hoodies.
Prices: Hoodies are around $80, sweaters are $140 to $280 and jackets are about $1,400.
Brand: Native Youth
Backstory: Native Youth really nailed it with the matching sets for fall. The Manchester company, which has been around for about five years, has continued to evolve its contemporary line this season, always with a point of view on modern silhouettes: wide-leg pants paired with three-quarter sleeve crop tops using bursts of orange, mustard and forest green.
Key Pieces: Matching sets range from a modern take on gray sweats — with a cropped, high-low hem top and joggers – to a more formal burgundy-and-white stripe top paired with wide-leg pants and forest green midi skirt and roll-neck top in a cotton viscose ribbed knit.
Prices: A plaid puffer $130; joggers $90; sweaters $80; wide-leg pants $80, and tops with ruching details, $70.
Brand: The Ragged Priest
Backstory: Perhaps like all good beginnings, The Ragged Priest got its start on eBay in 2007 and has become the go-to wardrobe staple for alternative, edgy fashion. Chief executive officer James Cutmore has since continued to grow out the line into a full assortment of denim, tops, bottoms, jackets, dresses, knits and accessories and also has a store in London.
The in-your-face brand is aimed at teens up through those in their late 20s with a customer segment that ranges from more commercial looks in the way of the Nineties-inspired pullovers to Goth and grunge with plenty of attitude Ts bearing slogans such as “Poison” and “Get Lost.”
Key Pieces: Blue plaid wide-leg pants, cropped sweaters with bold striping, and a black-and-yellow mini skirt and crop top set.
Prices: T-shirts are about $50, jeans $100 and knitwear is $85.
Backstory: The Los Angeles contemporary women’s brand now has two years under its belt. The sustainable label produces two collections a year, utilizing all deadstock fabric spinning out.
Founder Tanya Ramlaoui went to work designing for other brands after graduating from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising when it became clear just how much waste the industry generated. That observation became the seed fueling Aoui’s start, and she’s made it a point ever since to produce her line in Los Angeles using only deadstock fabric. Ramlaoui pointed to a sobering statistic: “Can you believe more than 15 million tons of textile waste is generated in the United States alone each year, yet only 15 percent of that actually gets recycled?”
The line is currently sold in a handful of boutiques, including Belle Ami Boutique in Houston, Infinity on Madison Avenue in New York and Novecento in Newport Beach, Calif.
Key Pieces: A leather moto jacket and shorts, along with matching silk tops and bottoms in solids and prints.
Prices: $45 to $500
Brand: Outland Denim
Backstory: Founder and ceo James Bartle founded the denim line with the aim of creating change, moved to action after seeing the movie “Taken” and wanting to do something to empower victims of sex trafficking. Outland, to that end, offers those interested in work the opportunity to do so at the company’s Cambodian factory, making zero exploitation garments using organic Turkish cotton, organic thread and mine-free zippers and buttons.
Workers are taught the steps necessary to create an entire pair of jeans (as opposed to only one step in the overall process). The factory’s current capacity is 50,000 pairs annually but Outland’s thinking big with plans to broaden the assortment and become what Michael Purkis, president of Outland distributor and part owner of Caulfeild Apparel Group Ltd., called the largest denim brand.
“We’re trying to empower people,” Purkis said. “Our goal is to rescue as many people while building a fashion brand around it.”
Key Pieces: The company’s top-selling women’s item is the Harriet high-waist skinny jean. The current denim offering is four styles, all made with a Lycra-elastene blend that provides stretch without bagging at the end of the day. The line’s also being built out slowly with T-shirts and denim jackets now offered.
Prices: $195 jeans, $245 jackets and $55 T-shirts.