NYDJ Apparel LLC’s slow, steady march into international markets has reached Asia.
The Los Angeles-based jeans and sportswear firm, owned by Crestview Partners since early last year, has signed a distribution and licensing agreement covering Japan with Itochu Corp., effective with the spring collection. Cross Plus Inc., a Japanese wholesaler specializing in women’s and girls’ apparel, will be responsible for sales of NYDJ merchandise to department and specialty stores in Japan.
“We would like to expand the brand throughout the Japanese market by making full use of our experiences and resources,” said Masahiro Morofuji, chief operating officer of Itochu’s brand marketing division one.
NYDJ late last year appointed Tom O’Connor as director of international sales.
The arrangement comes just as NYDJ prepares to launch e-commerce in Canada and Mexico on Friday. The move follows a distribution deal for the brand in Canada with Throat Threads Apparel, which anticipated the introduction of e-commerce in the Canadian market early this year and sales to Canadian department and specialty stores for fall.
In addition to the U.S., Canada, Mexico and now Japan, NYDJ is carried through distribution agreements in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
NYDJ, known for the Lift Tuck Technology that helps to give the wearer a more slender appearance, has also established a creative board to help guide its team in the development and assembly of its collections.
The team includes Bridget Moynahan, who became the face of NYDJ a year ago and who has been signed for another year in that capacity, and Cristina Ehrlich, who served as the stylist for the spring campaign featuring Moynahan and shot in October in Montauk, N.Y.
Also joining the creative board are makeup artist Fiona Stiles and stylist Jeanann Williams.
Among dozens of other credits, Ehrlich worked with Tina Fey and Julianna Margulies on this year’s Golden Globe Awards while Stiles advised actress Gabrielle Union and Williams styled Naomi Watts for the same event.
The board forms as NYDJ’s push into categories other than denim accelerates. It introduced dresses with Lift Tuck for fall and will add City/Sport, an ath-leisure group, and a group of slimming tops for spring.
“We’re well over 200 doors in slimming tops with our retail partners and had more than 50 doors for our soft launch of City/Sport,” said Robert C. Skinner Jr., president and chief executive officer of NYDJ. “We doubled our sportswear business in 2014 as we layered on dresses and tops and expanded our non-denim bottoms.”
He noted that the increased breadth of the line made the designation of creative advisers more timely. “We’re always looking for people who’d inspire and connect well with our customers, who we consider women 35 and up with a very active lifestyle,” he said. “We think that the guidance we get from Bridget, Cristina, Fiona and Jeanann will be a tremendous help as we get their ideas on what’s trending. They all have very genuine connections to our consumer and we think their insights and ideas will be a tremendous help.”
Skinner said he expects the denim market to improve for spring. “Our customer always responds well to color, and sales in white were very strong in the early transition to spring,” he said. “Obviously, it’s easier for sportswear to grow off a smaller base, but we expect our styling direction and emphasis on stock replenishment to serve us well as the denim market recovers.”