LEE’S LATEST LIFTOFF: Better late than never for Lee’s market week party, which finally took place Wednesday night at New York’s new Chelsea Piers sports complex.
The party, which had to be rescheduled due to last week’s blizzard, launched a new Lee division called Lee Riveted.
The division will use premium goods and more fashion-forward styling and is targeted at consumers between the ages of 20 and 35, said Ellen Rohde, vice president of strategic planning and advertising for the Kansas City-based brand. Lee is a division of VF Corp.
Lee Riveted is being shown to retailers now for fall shipping. It will go to Lee’s current retail distribution of better department stores, and will include core five-pocket jeans styles as well as related denim items. Wholesale prices will be about $1.50 to $2 more than Lee’s current offerings due to the higher-price fabrics and finishes being used. A pair of Lee jeans currently wholesales around $15.
Lee Riveted will have its own in-store displays and point-of-purchase materials, but will still be next to existing Lee products. The line will also have a new marketing and advertising campaign and new buying strategies, developed in conjunction with Fallon, McElligott, the company’s longtime ad agency.
“We are not abandoning our loyal core consumer, but we want to expand our relationship with other people,” said Rohde. “When we talked with younger consumers, they had no image of Lee, or they thought of it as their mother’s jeans. Lee Riveted is not a new brand; it’s a segment of the line that emphasizes products we feel are important to this consumer, so we’re highlighting them.”
AU REVOIR, BONJOUR: Roger Gordon, who joined Bonjour as president in April 1995, has left the company. Bonjour’s chief executive officer Charles Dayan declined to comment on the reason for the departure or a possible successor. Gordon could not be reached for comment.
SASSON’S NEW LIFESAVER: Sasson, the mass market denim and sportswear brand, is launching its spring/summer 1996 ad campaign featuring “Baywatch” actress Gena Lee Nolin.
Nolin plays the crafty Neely Capshaw on the show. Linda Elton, president of the licensed company, said Sasson chose her to continue its use of celebrities in the campaign, but also because Nolin projects an image its consumers are comfortable with.
“She’s from the Midwest, she’s American, she’s the girl next door,” said Elton. “It doesn’t hurt that ‘Baywatch’ is, through syndication and broadcasting internationally, one of the most-watched shows in the world. We’ll use images from the campaign in point-of-purchase setups, and the retailers love to see a celebrity.”
Sasson’s previous campaign featured Daphne Zuniga of “Melrose Place.” The print campaign, which features Nolin in various Sasson outfits at the beach or in a convertible, was shot in the Florida Keys by Eddie Celnick.
The print ads are breaking in February issues of consumer and trade publications. Sasson spent $2.5 million on the current campaign.
WHAT’S UP WITH DOC: AirWair USA Ltd., the American distributor of Dr. Martens, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the R. Griggs Group, the London-based manufacturer of the popular British footwear, accessories and apparel brand, as of May 1.
Griggs is purchasing a minority interest held by London Underground, an apparel company, in AirWair. The move is part of the limited liability agreement Griggs made with London Underground in April 1994.
At the same time, Dr. Martens has been making moves to expand the presence of its apparel line in the U.S. In addition to basics such as five-pocket jeans and T-shirts, the company has brought more fashion looks from its UK base for spring. It currently offers laminated denim, leather jackets, printed jeans, short denim dresses and cropped denim jackets.
The line is currently being presented at various trade shows for immediate and summer deliveries. It wholesales from about $16 for a skirt to about $95 for a jacket.
SLICK LOOKS: Pepe Jeans in London has launched a new finish it calls “kinetic denim.” Developed in association with Atlantic Mills, it has a slick, waxy hand. While the denim will fade with washing as usual, the waxy feel is permanent, Pepe said.
The finish also increases the strength, wear and warmth of the fabric, but is still breathable, unlike some laminated denims, said a spokeswoman for Pepe. The new finish has been incorporated into Pepe’s F2 line for women and M2 for men in a stonewash and a used wash. Currently, it is being sold on a limited basis to about 150 stores in Germany, Holland, Belgium and the UK. There are currently no plans to launch it in the U.S. The UK retail price will be $86.22 (55.99 pounds) a pair.
OUT AT SUN: Sun Apparel, the El Paso, Tex., jeanswear manufacturer, has laid off its three-person marketing department . Industry sources said the moves were made as part of a company restructuring. It could not be learned whether the marketing department would be replaced.
Sun recently acquired the license to manufacture jeanswear for women and men under the Ralph Lauren label. The firm also manufactures the Todd Oldham and Sasson jeanswear lines. Its own brands include the junior mass brand X-Am and the contemporary denim line Code Bleu.