AL & ROZ PIVNICK, Room 11S333


True to its name, Spanner is a Canadian lifestyle collection designed to fill the diverse merchandising needs of a variety of stores.

American retailers Judy and Rod Phillips, owners of the Michigan-based J. Phillips resort specialty chain, recently entered into a partnership with Spanner’s owners, allowing them to import the 29-year-old line to the U.S. under the authority of their other firm, the American Distribution Co.

“I sought out Spanner because I was getting frustrated with the Rafaellas of the world, and all those lines that end up at T.J. Maxx,” said Judy Phillips.

“This line gave me an opportunity to individualize a look, and that’s what being a buyer is all about; that’s what makes specialty stores special,” she said.

The international version of Spanner, designed by Toronto-based Susan Lee, targets women between 25 and 55 years old and wholesales between $20 and $80. The latest groups include bright reversible cotton sweaters, brushed microfiber slickers, and embroidered T-shirts.

THOSE GUYS, Room 12S333


Cambridge Dry Goods

This Natick, Mass., collection relaunched in August with a group of casual washable separates poised for better specialty stores. The clean-cut line got its start in 1980 and was sold 13 years later; now it reemerges with its original chairman, Kent Spellman, and original designer, Karen Craven.

Targeting customers aged 30 to 50, Cambridge Dry Goods is available in sizes 2 to 14 and S-XL. Silhouettes for spring include raglan baby T-shirts and cotton and Tencel capris in punchy colors and prints like batiks and tropical designs.

Coordinating hats and tote bags, and the line’s sleepwear component highlight Cambridge’s focus on lifestyle dressing. The average wholesale price point is $34.

Kent Spellman said that he has been pleasantly surprised by responses to the updated line and anticipates several crossover orders with current accounts.

“We believe 80 to 90 percent of our stores will buy Cambridge,” he said.



Envisage is the Sarasota, Fla.-based oeuvre of Hungarian-born Andrea Mihalyffy, who began the knitwear collection in 1998. Chiefly outfit-driven, the specialty store line offers basic mix-and-match silhouettes like dresses and cardigans in yarn blends like wool crepe and viscose rayon.

From $95 wholesale for a simple top to $250 for a coat, Envisage targets a wide range of women between 25 and 70 — a versatility Mihalyffy attributes to the line’s classic styling, comfortable fit and flexibility (she fills orders for custom colors and silhouettes).

On current display are complementary groups of neutral coordinates, duster coats, Lurex cocktail dresses and separates in multicolored yarns.

AMBROSIA & CO., Room 9N104

Jeffrey by Jeffrey Halper

A division of 19-year-old BAD (Body Action Design), Jeffrey by Jeffrey Halper was developed last year to fill the demand for more exclusive, higher-end merchandise in the contemporary sportswear category. With the same emphasis on Lycra and key items, Jeffrey only shares a small portion of BAD’s specialty store accounts.

“To test our own creativity and get Jeffrey in the right stores, we aimed to open 75 new doors,” said Halper. “Out of 100 customers ordering the line in its first season, 25 were BAD retailers, so we definitely hit our goal.”

Targeting consumers 25 to 50 years old between sizes 2 and 14, Jeffrey comprises silhouettes in European fabrics that wear well for business settings or outdoor social events. Summer silhouettes include Victorian-style shirtings, embroidered and ruffled blouses, and Americana-themed pieces. Wholesale prices average at $50 for tops, $85 for bottoms and $138 for jackets.

The volume for 2002 is projected at $2.5 million wholesale.


Weekendz Off

This Los Angeles line is a recent spinoff of an established men’s luxury casual sportswear label of the same name. With wholesale pricing ranging from $30 to $60, the collection targets women from the ages of 30 to 50 with a flair for the unusual, said national sales manager Nancy Drobnis.

A solid-based, outfit-driven resource, Weekendz Off is distinguished by its color variety and use of soft fabrics like silk linen and Tencel, cotton and Lycra spandex blends. Summer silhouettes include five pocket jeans and novelty T-shirts.

“Everybody’s lifestyle is different, and that’s what we’re all about,” said Drobnis. “Not everyone likes to go to the beach or hiking on the weekend, so we appeal to an audience that does a lot of different things.”

She predicts the company will reach $5 million wholesale by yearend.


Hanky Panky

Gale Epstein’s hobby of making lingerie out of embroidered handkerchiefs eventually blossomed into a sportswear collection with similarly delicate treatments. Headed by Epstein and business partner Lida Orzeck, the 24-year-old company is based in New York.

Targeting consumers between 20 and 60, the better-to-bridge novelty-top driven collection has a strong lace motif, with scallop-edged camisoles and lace-trimmed cardigans among the latest silhouettes. Other groups come in paisley matelasse, hammered stretch velvet and plain nylon mesh. Wholesale prices range from $15 to $32, and sizes are S-XL. Hanky Panky has over 2,000 specialty store and catalog accounts.


Mondo Designer Series

Toronto-based Mondo Designer Series is a contemporary misses’ line with a core pants group for women 25 and older. The 19-year-old firm emerged when owner Idris Kolia decided to put his experience in designing men’s wear to use by creating a pants-driven collection for men and women.

Kolia dropped his struggling men’s wear group two years after its inception and concentrated on soon-to-be Mondo classics for the ladies, like the five-pocket jean and the zip-up flat-front pant.

Kolia offers a selection of 15 to 20 pants silhouettes ($30-$80 wholesale) and blazers ($60-$115 wholesale). Skirts and shorts ($60 wholesale) diversify the line, with an emphasis on clean styling rather than treatments or embellishments.

“We try not to run the same novelty prints, but we do run the same solids because customers look for them every year,” said spokeswoman Elyce Gruenspan.

Targeting small boutiques, the spring-summer group incorporates florals, stripes, novelty prints and solids into five-pocket jeans and fly-front capris with jean-style jackets, 23-inch skirts and mid-thigh shorts.

Volume for 2002 is projected at $2.5 million wholesale.