DENIM DISH

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REPLAY’S E PLAY: Replay, the Italian jeanswear and sportswear line, is dipping into the happening streetwear wave with its new line, E Play.
The streetwear line, which is geared to teenagers, was launched at Paris’s SEHM trade show in January. It is being sold in the U.S. at Replay’s stores in Los Angeles and New York and has wholesale showrooms in those cities.
The line will be part of the Fashion Box Group, which is also the parent company of Replay and Rivet, another denim company.
E Play, which stands for electronic play, is designed at the firm’s headquarters in Italy near Milan. It uses man-made materials such as polyester, nylon, neoprene and paper mixed with denim and other cotton fabrics.
The philosophy of the line, explained sales executive Claudia Balzer, is to give sports enthusiasts some new options as well as create some forward streetwear.
“These denim jeans are sprayed with resin and have a neoprene cuff and side seam, so you can actually wear them skiing,” she said. “Most of the jackets are lined with a paper fabric and weigh less than a pound, so you can take them hiking.”
Prices on the line run from about $27 for a lightweight jacket to $148 for one that uses several different fabrics.

BETSEY’S BLUES: Betsey Johnson is best known for making stretchy, sexy cotton and spandex designs with a devil-may-care attitude. Now she’s translating that look into a woven — a 10-ounce stonewashed blue denim, to be exact. The new looks will be on the runway during Johnson’s fall show on Monday, April 3, at the Josephine tent in New York’s Bryant Park.
Johnson, who said she’s been wanting to use denim “forever,” said the main obstacle was the big minimum orders that most mills require.
“We start with 1,000 yards,” she said. “Most people wanted us to do a mega program.”
Johnson said she finally found the right stuff in stock and began with a fitted cowboy shirt that has pearl snaps. She then added an A-line snap skirt, a long fitted skirt and some dress styles. Now there are about 20 styles in the line.
“I could design in denim until the cows come home,” she added. “It’s sexy, it’s corny — you can do everything from a corset to overalls.”
The new line will also be featured in the windows of her two stores in Manhattan, Johnson said.
“I wanted to redesign our stores, but that turned out to be too much,” she said. “Instead, we’re going to remerchandise. I’m going to focus on basics, the way The Gap and Banana [Republic] have been doing. We’ll have two months of windows with Betsey basics, where we focus just on shirts, skirts, bottoms, lots of solid black and white and denim.”
Johnson said she doesn’t see denim becoming a separate line. In fact, she said, it will probably appear only in a few collections each year, but will become more important in those seasons. Wholesale prices will be in “the 30s and 40s,” she said. Deliveries on the new group will start in June.

AISLES OF STYLES: The Larkin Group, a trade-show company that owns the International Fashion Boutique Show, is adding “Denim District” to its June 3-6 edition at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York.
The new section will “put a spotlight” on denim and denim-related companies, said Susan Larkin, vice president of marketing of The Larkin Group.
“It’s an opportunity,” she said. “Sometimes, people who have showrooms in New York say, ‘Well, why should we do the show?’ This gives them a good reason to come. And there’s been a big emphasis on unisex clothing in fashion lately, which many of these denim companies are.”
Some companies that have expressed interest in the new area are Parasuco, Peace by Piece and Gasoline.
Larkin said the new section will probably be featured in two of the Boutique Show’s five annual editions.

BLUE BELLE: A blue denim ball gown took first prize at a recent design competition in New York. The contest challenged students from two design schools to use Fortel EcoSpun in their apparel designs. It was sponsored by Wellman, which manufactures the fiber from recycled plastic bottles.
New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and the Philadelphia College of Textile & Science each submitted designs, and both schools were awarded first prizes.
The prize-winning eyelet-trimmed denim ball gown, made from a Burlington fabric of 65 percent cotton and 35 percent EcoSpun, was designed by FIT student Michelle Castrodad.
The Philadelphia Institute’s winning design was Heather Bujaky’s ivory EcoSpun fleece wedding dress with satin trim and train.
Over 50 styles were submitted for the competition, and more EcoSpun fashion will be included at Wellman’s fashion show April 7 in the Josephine Tent in Bryant Park during the 7th on Sixth presentations.