IN THE MARKETS
DENIM’S NEWEST DEBUT
ATLANTA — If Fred DeLuca has any say in the matter, Blues by J. Arcaro is going to hit America in a big way. The current rep here for the company, DeLuca has been named director of U.S. operations for the 25-year-old Quebec-based contemporary denim line, which is the number-two denim line in Canada behind Levi’s.
The collection’s mix of comfortable jeans and updated denim fashion items manages to appeal to both the junior customer and the misses’ customer. DeLuca is planning to focus on the misses’ customer here in the States. “Women love the way the jeans feel because the company uses a lighter-weight denim that is more comfortable,” he explained.
He debuted Blues by J. Arcaro in the U.S. market last year, and is now projecting $3 million in sales for 1995. It’s represented in the Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles markets. “We don’t want to prostitute the line, so we are being very careful about the stores it goes in,” DeLuca added.
This season, in addition to basic denim, the line offers long denim dresses, short A-line skirts and a denim “tuxedo” jacket with tails. A best-selling cap-sleeve dress from fall has been updated for spring with short sleeves and is being offered in pastel colors. Wholesale prices range from $27 for jeans to $40 for a jacket. Currently, Blues by J. Arcaro is sold in such stores as Neiman Marcus, Chicago; Shockley’s, Florence, S.C., and Erica’s in Jacksonville, Fla.
AMETHYST’S JEWEL TONES
ATLANTA — Carlen Hultgren would be the first person to admit that Amethyst, her new clothing collection, is not about serious fashion. “It’s about comfortable, casual clothing — it’s no-fuss dressing,” she explained.
The mostly cotton, cotton knit, and cotton and Lycra spandex line is just that, easy pieces like A-line dresses, kicky shorts and crop tops in solid colors. “I don’t think women have time to go to the dry cleaners,” said Hultgren, who is owner and designer of the company.
Based in Atlanta, Hultgren did her research before starting the now three-year-old company. While going to school in the city at the American College for the Applied Arts, she “read Women’s Wear Daily every single day” and noticed retailers begging for color. Now color is the basis of the collection. Everything is hand-dyed, allowing customers to choose the silhouette and then the colors.
Amethyst is produced in Hialeah, Fla., and wholesales from $20 to $40. It sells in stores such as Almanac, Athens, Ga.; Expressions, Fayettville, N.C., and Paparazzi, Greensboro, N.C. “There’s really a resort feeling to the line, so I am focusing on the Southeast,” she said.
She took her own showroom in the mart two seasons ago and said it’s brought her exposure and new accounts. While the company is still very small, Hultgren just hired her sister as her business manager and is projecting sales of $100,000 for her fourth year in business. “The first year I started out with two sewing machines and an 8-by-10 room, and brought in $11,000, so this is good growth for me.”