NEW YORK — All but the newest designer and bridge companies are thinking global.
Donna Karan and Calvin Klein set up companies to run their businesses in Japan this year, and Karan opened a store in London and plans to open several more, said Stephen Ruzow, president of The Donna Karan Cos.
“We’re planning in excess of a 10 percent increase for 1995,” Ruzow said. Fifty percent of Collection sales and 40 percent of the bridge DKNY business this year were international, Ruzow noted, and more stores are planned for not only for London, but for Asia, Geneva and, as reported, possibly Milan.
And even though she’s concerned about other aspects of her business, Anna Sui said 1994 was her best year so far, due to foreign interest in her line. “I’m getting a lot of attention in the Orient and Saudi Arabia. I think fashion is exciting again, and stores are looking for new direction.”
Tahari will go after international business “aggressively,” Tom Murry, president, said, noting that the company has hired a director solely for international sales.
“Right now, we’re selling that area haphazardly, but starting Jan. 1 we’ll go after international sales in Europe, Asia, Mexico and throughout the U.K,” said Murry.
“It’s something we’re working on,” said Dana Buchman president Gail Cook. “Basically, we feel we’re going to Europe first. We are not in London or Germany, although we already have an extremely strong business in Canada. We want to roll out our international business, and we’re currently figuring out how.”
“There’s no question that every collection has to be right for global consumption,” said Mary Ann Wheaton, an owner of Byron Lars. “We just signed an agreement with a Taiwanese company called Legend to distribute Byron Lars there, and we are talking to two Japanese companies about distributing there. It will certainly beef up business, but the U.S. is still the market to sell.”
“International is where the growth is going to come from. Europe, South America, Asia, Hong Kong, Japan, all represent enormous opportunities,” said Victor Coopersmith, chief executive of Andrea Jovine. “We already have sales agents in Europe, and we’re looking outside our core business. We’ll also add additional product lines. Things like that are where we will see growth in 1995. But I don’t want to make a prediction for growth; this is a month-to-month business.”