NEW YORK — Alvin Valley is ready to show consumers his other personality.
This spring, the ready-to-wear designer will launch As Is by Alvin Valley, a contemporary collection consisting of what he calls “straight sportswear.”
“There are two personalities to me,” Valley said. “There is one that dresses up and socializes where money and creativity have no limits. But I also wanted to dress the customer who’s on the street. I don’t want to be a designer whose clothes are only seen at gallery openings. I wanted to do a collection that was very tailored. It’s cool and fresh.”
Valley wanted to take the appeal of his rtw collection to a wider audience. Riding the success of his tailored pants, Valley sought to create a collection around his pants that took women beyond the hours of “9 to 5,” he said.
“A lot of the buyers [of the rtw collection] were saying, ‘You’ve already won people over, but not everyone can afford a $1,400 jacket,'” Valley said.
Part of the demand, he said, came from department stores that wanted to carry his collection but felt restricted because of prices.
“Clearly, department stores have the most problems because they are divided by floors and price points,” Valley said.
So, with pants at its core, he created a collection of blazers, blouses and sweaters at a lower price point, roughly 50 to 75 percent below the Alvin Valley Clothier Collection. As Is by Alvin Valley will launch at the Fashion Coterie trade show here next month.
“The collection is trend-driven and driven by fit,” he said. “I’m giving people what they are already looking for. We’re not working like a lab and experimenting. We’re giving the customer exactly what she wants.”
The collection consists of roughly 12 to 20 styles of pants in fabrics such as cotton, Italian wool and cashmere and wool, with a wholesale price range between $110 and $175. Pants feature Valley’s famously long 38-inch inseam.
“It’s really long,” Valley quipped. “It’s absurd, but you can always cut a [pair of pants]. You can’t make it longer.”
Blazers wholesale between $245 and $325, and coats, in wool and cashmere, have a wholesale price range of $275 to $425.
“It’s contemporary, but it’s a higher-end contemporary,” he said. “I didn’t want to skimp on fit. You should feel like you’re getting it at a reasonable price. We wanted to keep it crisp and luxurious.”
The name, he said, has two meanings: “First of all, you shouldn’t have to make any alterations to them, except maybe for the hem. On a personal level, it’s something I’ve always wanted to say to my parents. It was always a struggle with my parents. I wanted to say, ‘I don’t want to change. You take me, ‘as is.'”
As Is by Alvin Valley will be distributed to 300 specialty and department stores worldwide, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. Additionally, freestanding As Is by Alvin Valley boutiques will begin sprouting up within 18 months. He’s hoping to open storefronts in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas. An advertising campaign consisting of print ads in fashion magazines and billboards is also being considered.
Valley said he expects the wholesale volume for As Is by Alvin Valley to reach $10 million in its first year.
“By the second year, we should reach $20 million wholesale,” he said.
The challenge, Valley said, lies in commercial success.
“Being commercial is much more challenging than being a successful exclusive designer,” he said. “To be a successful exclusive designer, all I have to do is sell one dress and make one woman happy.”
The brand is owned by Valley and his business partner, Richard Rosenthal, but Valley said, “We’re in the final stages of closing a deal with Jacques Moret. I’m really focused on making Alvin Valley a brand and a permanent part of the American fashion language.”
Joey Harary, founder and president of Jacques Moret, said it was “just a matter of days” before the deal was completed. “We’re very excited about it. We plan on seeing a tremendous amount of growth with the brand,” Harary said.
Valley has no plans to stop with the contemporary market. He said, “I would love to follow up with a masstige collection. Who knows? Maybe Sears will call.”