BETTER: A RETURN TO THE CLASSICS
Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio
NEW YORK — With the better market becoming retail’s new hot spot, better-price sportswear vendors are adding some key looks to solidify their standing with the consumer.
Many are putting a new spin on classic looks like the shetland sweater and twinset, while updating the jacket with various treatments. Some firms are going after corduroy, once a basic that is now cultivating a more fashion-forward image.
“There is definitely a return to the classics,” said Peggy Westgard, vice president of merchandise at Newton, Mass.-based Cambridge Dry Goods, which is touting shetland sweaters in Fair Isle patterns, ruffled blouses and vintage jackets with velveteen cuffs.
The shetlands include such colors as chocolate brown and wine. The company is updating its madras plaids with a striated pattern it calls Ikat madras. It is featuring the plaids in walking shorts and bias skirts.
“We are putting a stronger emphasis on jackets this season,” she said, citing an emphasis on quilted jackets and rayon prints for early fall.
Cambridge expects blouses, pretty much a dud category for the past few years, to make a comeback and is offering them in ottoman and cotton.
Passionne Ltd., a leather sportswear house based in Los Angeles, is going after an upscale market and is aiming at women age 27 to 45.
For early summer and fall, the line includes short skirts, vinyl dresses, miniskirts and vests, all in black or white lambskin, according to Jacqueline Park, president.
Cynthia Maxx, a casual career division of California Apparel Inc., based in Los Angeles, is hawking textured fabrics, including washed linens, and is also featuring more details, like button treatments and stitching.
“We are doing a lot of washed linens that play off the prints,” said Dan Mollise, vice president of sales and marketing.
He noted that key styles include short jackets in linen and Tencel or in crepe floral prints. Jackets can also double as blouses, he said. The early fall line includes wrap sarong skirts, skorts and casual pleated pants.
Chava Ltd., a knit-driven firm based here, is going after texture, such as denim and tweed. “We are looking out for new yarns, which have more slub,” said Marilyn Hikida, executive vice president of sales and merchandising.
The palette for early fall includes berries, greens and chocolate browns, while looks include twinsets, zipped-up sweaters, long and short vests and cropped cardigans, many of which feature color-block patterns.
About 30 percent of the collection is in wovens, like pinstriped drawstring pants in rayon acetate or double georgette.
Northern Isles/Goodman Knitting, a division of Kellwood Co., is getting into textured fabrics.
“We are offering lots of mixed yarns, like printed corduroy and yarn-dye twills,” said Marion Pietrowski, catalog director. She noted sweaters have chenille accents, new button treatments and ribbings. The line also includes quilted jackets and vests as well as designs in sherpa and fleece. There are also plenty of denim-collared shirts and velvet sueded vests.
Northern Isles is serving up shetland sweaters in Fair Isle patterns as well as twinsets.
“These are classic looks that are being updated with a modern appeal,” she said.
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Lazy Daisy Inc.
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Pioneer Wear Inc.
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