Byline: Eric Wilson

NEW YORK — Amerex (USA) is launching its first new women’s outerwear label in three years, taking a gamble on a risky market — juniors.
The new line, Static, is geared to 15-to-25-year-olds and will bow with a six-piece capsule collection for spring retailing, said Jesse Mendelsohn, president of the Amerex Ladies’ division, which also produces the Current Seen moderate label.
Static features cotton twill and nylon peacoats, zipper jackets and a safari trench, wholesaling for $15.75 to $17.75. Amerex’s most recent women’s launch in 1994 was as licensee for the Jones New York label, now a powerhouse in most department store outerwear departments.
Static is the first venture into junior apparel for Amerex and will be positioned to compete with Biscayne Apparel’s Lee Lipton label and Herman Kay’s Jason Kole line.
Ira Ganger, president of Amerex, said he expects the line to post modest business in its first year, but feels it could generate $10 million annually by 2002.
“If you don’t grow, you’re going backwards,” Ganger said, adding that one way to increase the 65-year-old Amerex’s business is to address a new market, like moderate-price junior coats.
However, that is a volatile market, where consumers typically make impulse purchases on a fashion item with a shelf life of about one season, at best. That means Static has to be on target with its styling or the product will end up at discounters, Ganger said. It’s a key reason Amerex is launching the line with six pieces. Another is that it is a collection for spring, which is outerwear’s minor season.
“It’s a risky venture, but there is definitely a need for this type of look for the younger customer, but not a look that is all the way to the left or to the right,” Mendelsohn said.
Key looks from the first collection are a cotton twill peacoat with oversized shirt collar, angled flap pockets and burnished silver buttons and a nylon zip-front safari jacket with shirt collar and self-tie belt. They will be offered in black, white, manila, sage and lime.
Separately, Amerex has named Anthony Pisano chief financial officer, succeeding Susan Robeson, who left in June for personal reasons, according to an Amerex spokeswoman.
Pisano reports to Fred Shvetz, chairman and chief executive officer, and will work out of Amerex’s distribution center in Avenel, N.J. He was most recently chief financial officer at Stage II Apparel and has held chief financial positions at Gloria Vanderbilt Apparel Corp., Bernard Chaus Inc. and Tombrock Corp.
Amerex also holds the Misty Harbor license for women’s outerwear and produces Mulberry Street, a proprietary outerwear label.

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