Byline: Kristi Ellis
Los Angeles-based William Beranek of William B, who nabbed the CaliforniaMart’s Designer of the Year award in October, is launching a denim line for spring 2000 retailing.
“I couldn’t have picked a better time,” said Beranek, who is known for his fitted, sexy, young designer sportswear. “Everyone else launched denim at the same time, and it wouldn’t have had such an impact if I had done it for fall.”
The first group, which will hit stores in late January and early February, consists of 13 styles and wholesales between $33 and $56. Beranek used classic dark denim with red selvage along the edges. While usually concealed inside seams, selvage is used by Beranek as a decorative element.
On a jacket, for example, the selvage is placed at the end of a sleeve. A skirt boasts a vertical red selvage line down the center. And tuxedo pants feature the selvage on a side seam.
Beranek stuck with darker, 14-ounce denim for most of the range. Items that have booked strongly with retailers include a poncho with frayed neckline and trim, tuxedo pants and jean jackets.
In the second group, which will hit stores in March, wholesale prices are higher, ranging from $65 to $145. For this line, Beranek mixed high-tech denim — an unwashed cotton and polyester blend — with rhinestones trimming waistbands and side seams. Other styles boast silk-screened embellishments. For example, a flock of birds adorns pant legs and skirts. “The cuts are low, sexy and fitted,” Beranek said.
Beranek, who is projecting first-year sales of $1 million, said he plans to launch an e-commerce site featuring denim next year.
They came. They screamed. And they proved that sandblasted flares and bell-bottom jeans are not losing their grip on teenage style.
The occasion was the Levi’s-sponsored benefit concert for World AIDS Day last week. The lineup of bands included Monica, Destiny’s Child, Joey McIntyre, Wyclef Jean and ‘N Sync. And the fans were definitely in sync with what they consider stylish: jeans that fit tight and low and flare out over their sneakers or monster shoes.
Of course, there were a few rebels in the bunch. One gaggle of girls spotted in the Beacon Theater lobby before the concert were dressed, pack-like, in animal printed jeans and coats. One young woman proudly lifted the hem of her bubble jacket to show off jeans she had customized with splotches of bleach.
The concert, broadcast live on the Internet, raised a total of about $450,000 for Lifebeat, Music Industry Fights AIDS.
Levi Strauss & Co. is extending three of its brands — Levi’s, Silver Tab and L2 — onto teenagers’ backs. The San Francisco jeans giant signed a licensing agreement with New York-based Yak Pak to produce bags and packs starting next fall.
Like bags and backpacks sold under the Yak Pak brand, Levi’s styles will have an urban, utilitarian focus with pockets for a cell phone, beeper, ID and everything else high tech teens tote.
In a move to promote its Lee Dungarees and Lee Pipes brands, the Lee Co. has signed a one-year sponsorship agreement with Haro Bikes, a maker of BMX, freestyle and mountain bikes.
Under the agreement, Lee Dungarees will sponsor Haro’s mountain-bike team, while Pipes will sponsor the freestyle and BMX teams. The marketing and promotional tie-ins with retailers are still being formulated, but will likely include in-store displays, advertisements and appearances by members of the competitive teams. The program is slated to kick off in January.
Lucky Brand Dungarees knows how to party. The Los Angeles-based firm’s third annual Black-Tie and Blue Jeans gala last month, which raised approximately $650,000, featured Howie Mandel as emcee, with performances by Kenny Loggins and James Brown. Guests included Neil Young, Josie Bissett and designer Richard Tyler.
The event benefited the Lucky Brand Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising money for children’s charities, including The Oralinqua School for the Hearing Impaired, Island Dolphin Care, Shane’s Inspiration and Chase Place.
Lucky, which does about $60 million wholesale and sold an 85 percent stake to Liz Claiborne Inc. in June, is headed by Gene Montesano, chief executive officer, and Barry Perlman, president. It sells its women’s and men’s jeanswear and other products to about 500 specialty accounts and operates eight Lucky Brand stores. It also sells its products on the Internet.