L.A.’S BIG BLU: Denim is big business in California, and the Los Angeles Mart is going after it in a big way.
The Mart is launching its own denim trade show, called Big Blu, on Oct. 10-13. The show, which will be held in the downtown Mart, will run simultaneously with the Mart’s junior and contemporary market week, and ISAM, the International Swimwear and Activewear Market. It will be showing women’s and men’s goods.
“We’ve been thinking about doing this kind of show for a while, because it’s a natural area to expand in,” said show producer Jean Lonnquist. “Jeanswear as a lifestyle is very West Coast, and we have a strong manufacturing base here. It’s also a very complementary show for the junior and contemporary markets.”
Asked whether the event was going up against the International Jeanswear and Sportswear show, which will be holding its third edition later in October in Miami, Lonnquist replied, “We feel strongly that Los Angeles has its own strong sense of fashion, with all the manufacturers, buyers and showrooms here. It’s a natural selling point. In some of our ads, we use the tag line, ‘The place where denim is made, not just shown.’ “
Some of the big denim manufacturers based in Los Angeles include Guess, Z. Cavaricci, Steel Jeans and Yes Clothing Co.
Lonnquist said that while many manufacturers already have showrooms in the Mart, those that do not will be on the 13th floor in glass-front temporary showrooms.
“It’s not a booth environment,” she said. “We think of this as a real working trade show, where people will write business.”
Lonnquist said she couldn’t predict attendance, but said the October market is usually one of the busiest, and added, “We do expect those numbers to go up with this new show.”
While Lonnquist declined to name any manufacturers that have committed to the show, Z. Cavaricci did confirm that it has dropped out of the Miami show, and will be at Big Blu.

GLORY DAYS: Faded Glory, the New York-based denim line, has branched out to home furnishings. It has signed a licensing agreement with Fieldcrest Cannon, a bedding manufacturer also in New York, to produce a line of sheets, towels, comforters, blankets and bed and bath accessories under the Faded Glory name. The line will hit moderate and better department stores next spring.
Martin Richter, president of Faded Glory, said the line will be designed by Fieldcrest’s merchandising group in conjunction with the Faded Glory team, which is headed by Barry Zelman, vice president of merchandising.
“The style is going to mirror the Faded Glory product, which is very much Americana,” said Richter. He added that he doesn’t yet have wholesale prices for goods or a projection for first-year business.
In another project, Faded Glory is in talks with the fashion shopping channel On Q to produce a line of denim sportswear for men, women and children that would debut this fall.

MUSIC TO THEIR EARS: The teen magazine Sassy has combined with the music company Epic/Sony 550 and the mass-market teen denim line X-Am for a jeans promotion.
In the August issue, which hit the stands Monday, X-Am, Epic and Sassy each took a full-page ad to explain the giveaway: Each customer who purchases a pair of X-Am jeans at participating Hills stores will receive a music sampler cassette of current pop and rock music. Some of the artists featured in the mix include Celine Dion, Indigo Girls, October Project, Prong and Velvet Crush. At the same time, Sassy will be displayed and sold in the jeans department — a first for the magazine. The promotion is scheduled to start at the beginning of next month.

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