IN THE MIDDLE
NEFERTITI EXPANDS: The Nefertiti Collection, which made its debut in stores a year ago as a line aimed at African-Americans, is gaining ground.
The line, a division of Smiles Fashions — a 20-year-old firm — is already in 250 doors, including Catherines and J.C. Penney for spring, and is expected to be in 400 doors for fall, according to Ashok Gurnani, owner. Most of the new doors will come from new department store accounts, including Macy’s East, he said.
The wholesale volume for ’97 is projected at $5 million. Last year, Nefertiti posted sales of $1 million, according to Gurnani.
The firm is moving from the 14th floor to the 37th floor of 1407 Broadway in March. The new showroom will be 3,000 square feet, compared with the current 1,000 square feet.
The fashions, which include tunics, short sets, skirt sets and long dresses, feature African prints in black and white combinations, as well as orange. Wholesale prices range from $16 to $45.
Smiles Fashions also markets First Class, a misses’ line; We Say So, a junior line; Rosy Tomato, large-size fashions, and Wisetime, a better-priced misses’ and plus-size line.
Last year, Smiles posted sales of $30 million, including volume from the Nefertiti line, said Gurnani.
MOVIE STAR WORKS MAGIC: Movie Star Inc., a lingerie firm that tested a line of sun-activated T-shirts a year ago, is now offering two different lines based on action sports and expressive graphics.
The T-shirts, which are for junior and misses’ customers, use a technology called SunMax, which is said to transform black and white graphics into colorful designs when exposed to the sun for 10 minutes. The technology was developed by GSR, a screenprinting company in Provo, Utah.
The lines, which are being marketed under the labels Spiked Melon and EMV, which stands for Energy Made Visible, will be expanded for spring to 1,500 doors, including J.C. Penney, Belk’s and Federated Department Stores, according to Mark David, chairman.
The line was tested in 64 Penney’s stores in January 1996.
The company plans to expand the concept to hats, short sets, backpacks and outerwear within the next year or so.
HALSTON’S NEW HOME: Halston International will move from 1407 Broadway in New York to 530 Seventh Avenue on Feb. 15.
The firm will take over the two floors formerly occupied by Anne Klein II and A Line. The new showroom will be 25,000 square feet, more than twice the current 10,000 square feet, according to Carmine Porcelli, managing director.
The 17th floor will house the Halston signature designer-priced collection by Randolph Duke, which bows in stores in April, as well as the design staff for the designer collection and the upper-moderate-to-better-price line. The marketing, licensing and retail development staff will be on the 18th floor, which will also showcase the upper-moderate collection.
BUGLE BOY IN THE RACE: The Indy Racing League, a national association of car racers based in Simi Valley, Calif., has licensed Bugle Boy to manufacture and market apparel bearing the league’s names and trademarks, according to a Bugle Boy spokesman.
Bugle Boy will provide travel sportswear and uniforms for 21 Indy Racing League teams and will also have the rights to produce and sell at retail apparel bearing authentic Indy 500, Indy Speedway, U.S. Auto Club, Indy Racing League and team trademarks, as well as official team uniform replicas and Indy Racing League-endorsed collections.
The merchandise is expected to be in stores for fall. Prices have not been set, the spokesman said.
IRL, which was formed in 1994 and grew out of the Indianapolis 500, sanctions six races, in addition to the traditional Memorial Day Weekend event in Indianapolis.