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Designer Rolando Santana is stepping on the gas.

Along with the ready-to-wear collection that he has helmed for the past 14 seasons, he’s launched a dress line called Rolando by Rolando Santana at Lord & Taylor and is growing his contemporary line, Rolo & Ale, making its first appearance at ENK Vegas in pursuit of more exposure nationally and abroad.

Now in its third season, Rolo & Ale has grown from occasion dresses to a separates offering of 90 styles for fall, including tops, skirts, coats and trenches aimed at a customer in her early 20s to mid-30s.

“This addresses the woman who’s a recent college grad who’s started working and knows what’s going on in the world of fashion,” said Santana. “She’s media-savvy and wants to look on trend.”

A hallmark of the season is the judicious use of Neoprene fabric in many interpretations, from brushed to sleek to embossed to printed. There are fitted motorcycle jackets in the textured scuba fabric with topstitching, and sleeveless dropwaist dresses with ruffle skirts and fit-and-flare pencil skirts.

The New York-based line offers groupings in olive and heather gray with orange accents, camouflage in an oversize print with blue accents and gray and black looks.

Wholesale price points range from $33 for T-shirts, $57 to $87 for skirts and pants, $97 to $157 for dresses and $97 to $187 for jackets and coats. Currently, the line sells in about 50 stores including Neiman Marcus; À Bientôt in Houston and Couture & More in Palm Beach, Fla.

Retailers say the line is driving demand as customers search out well-made clothing at the right price point.

“My customers are responding nicely to the line,” said Arlene Bomar, owner of Couture and More. “It has a great fit and hugs the body in a flattering way.”

NEXT: n:Philanthropy >>


It’s no secret that the fashion world often draws Type A entrepreneurs from other industries, bringing a passion that helps propel lines to success.

That’s the hope of Yvonne Niami, owner and interior designer of real estate developer Skyline Development. (Her husband, Nile Niami, builds luxury mansions.) Yvonne Niami launched n:Philanthropy last season, surrounding herself with seasoned talent, including creative design director Alexandre Caugant, a former partner of Antik Denim and past consultant to AG and Big Star. Niami has created a contemporary line that’s grown from an ath-leisure collection to a more rounded selection of 60 pieces of jeans, T-shirts, leather skirts, leather jackets and faux-fur ponchos.

“It’s a mix of Rag & Bone, J Brand and The Kooples,” Niami said.

Niami said the Los Angeles-based line emphasizes quality fabrics, such as certified cruelty-free leather from Paris, and Ts made with 10 percent cashmere for an ultrasoft feel. There are fake-fur ponchos with leather fringe, pencil skirts, side-zip flocked sweatshirts, slouchy boyfriend jeans, skinny jeans with two-way stretch, novelty denim styles with wax coatings and washable stretch leather sweatshirts and leggings.

Picked up by nearly 20 retailers including Web site Lyon + Post and Kalifornia Jean Bar in Northern California, the line hopes to expand to bigger department stores and grow to include handbags and shoes. Niami is in talks with a handbag manufacturer.

Wholesale prices range from $40 for T-shirts to $99 for faux-fur bomber jackets, $210 for leather-fringed skirts and $565 for stretch-leather jackets.

Charity is another component of n:Philanthropy and a motivator for Niami. She donates 10 percent of profits to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles.

“We wanted to create apparel with a purpose,” Niami said.

NEXT: Another Important Culture >>

WWDMAGIC, Booth # 72942

As lines fight to stay relevant in the ever-dynamic fashion industry, they often morph.

Japan-based Another Important Culture has seen some changes over the past few years. Launched in 2001 by designer Manami Kobayashi under the umbrella AIC brand, which makes clothing, furniture and more, Kobayashi recently split from the parent, retained the rights to the brand and now is on her own (although the former parent buys the collection for its stores.)

On her watch, the line has transitioned from a sophisticated dress offering with silks and georgette to a more bohemian, wearable collection.

“The Japanese market grew younger and more casual so this line is more approachable,” she said.

For WWDMAGIC, she’s bringing 45 summer styles, including handbags and scarves, along with 35 styles for fall. Viscose and cotton are key fabrics for summer, wool-acrylic mixes are for fall, most of them sourced from Japan, India and Indonesia. It’s all about combining fabrics for different looks and feels, sometimes designing her own prints and blending them with existing styles, she said.

Kobayashi injects a playful point of view in her line with novelty items like high-tech fake-fur bombers, fake alpaca and Tibetan goat, wool and mohair blanket ponchos and billowy printed trousers made in polyester crepe for an easy drape. A typical ensemble would be loose trousers paired with an oversize knit top, accessorized with a foil-print handbag.

Wholesale prices run from $30 for T-shirts to $60 for dresses to $145 for coats. Handbags range from $25 to $150. So far, Another Important Culture is in about 30 stores in Japan and is targeting retailers such as Anthropologie, Calypso and Planet Blue in the U.S. The original line was sold Stateside as well.

Kobayashi believes the line will resonate with American consumers. “The identity of the brand is bohemian style, which is always going on in some part of the market in the U.S.,” she said.

NEXT: Colosseum >>

WWDMAGIC, #61706

People might not always look fit but they can look good in their pursuit of getting fit, thanks to active apparel lines like Colosseum, one of the brands capitalizing on the booming athleisure market.

Besides offering performance-based wear, such as its trademarked C-Dri technology, which wicks moisture away, and Body Hug nylon-and-spandex blend fabrics designed for a slimming effect, the Los Angeles-based line amplifies the fashion factor with bright colors, bold prints and novelty details. Sports bras feature double and criss-cross straps, leggings offer extra-wide waistbands and shirt designs often include cut-out back details.

“Nike focuses on performance, Adidas’ lifestyle focus is more about the track suit,” said Kristen Keyes Sullivan, director of sales for Colosseum. “Our line is more feminine. We have many layering pieces, and [out customer] won’t look like she’s in workout clothes.”

Raglan hoodies, puffer vests, cross-body sweaters and cable-knit tops are among the fall highlights in colors such as guava, coral and bright lime in the 65-piece collection. Tank tops, T-shirts, sports bras, leggings and shorts round out the mix.

Targeting a customer in her mid-20s to mid-30s, the line wholesales from $13 for tanks and T-shirts to $58.50 for outerwear.

Already at chains including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Luke’s Locker, Colosseum is now aiming for higher-end boutiques. The line’s umbrella company, Colosseum Athletic Corp., which licenses collegiate products to about 400 universities, including USC and UCLA, gives it leverage to enter college bookstores as well.

“We see this market growing for some time,” she said.


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