CONTEMPO’S YOUTH DRIVE
Byline: Teena Hammond
LOS ANGELES — Contempo Casuals has been cultivating its junior innerwear business the past few years with its own private label merchandise, but for fall the chain is taking on some trendy brands.
Alex Bajrech, vice president and fashion director for Contempo Casuals/Wet Seal/Limbo Lounge, said the Contempo chain is adding innerwear from junior labels Tart, Mudd and Backstreet.
Contempo began carrying innerwear “within the last four to five years,” Bajrech said, adding, “it is definitely a growing business but it’s going in a younger direction rather than a more mature direction.”
By younger, Bajrech is referring to fabrics and styles as opposed to the age of the shoppers. There is no typical shopper at Contempo, he said.
“As long as you’ve got the figure, as long as you’ve got the size. I’ve seen kids nine and 10 years old shopping in our store and I’ve seen women 35 and 40 years old shopping in our store,” he said.
The hottest innerwear items at Contempo Casuals are panties, especially thong and g-string versions. The overall best-selling panty style is the thong, which makes up two-thirds of panty sales at Contempo. The remaining one-third is g-strings, he said.
“Panties, panties, panties and panties. Bras are not selling. Don’t ask me why, I can’t figure it out,” Bajrech said.
Best-selling items are those with whimsical, youthful prints, such as airplanes and toys.
“We’re going to see a continuation of the younger novelty prints,” he said, referring to matching camisole and panty sets. “I think they want fun. With juniors it’s so difficult to have a stable statement for me to give. One month they might want a little satin with a little embroidery, the next month they might want a juvenile print.”
In the Contempo store at Westside Pavilion mall in Los Angeles, innerwear fills one section of the back wall of the store. The only sign in the area hangs over the panty section and reads “3 for $12.” The panties are $4 each if bought individually.
Camisoles and panties make up the majority of items displayed at this location. Many of the camisoles could double as sportswear, especially a cute, $14 white cotton version trimmed with rainbow grosgrain ribbon.
The rose print panties are the single best-selling fabric at this store, according to a sales associate. Boy shorts with matching camisoles are also popular, she said, pointing out a $16 camisole paired with $18 boy shorts.
The only items that are discounted are a few satiny aqua camisoles with black lace trim and many of the bras, including a shimmery, iridescent push-up bra marked down to $15.