DOCKERS TAKES A TURN AT COOL

Byline: Kristin Larson

NEW YORK — Dockers is shooting for a hipper, more stylish image and wants women to know that it’s not just about khakis for dad.
The brand, known for its classic, pleated pants, has updated its core collection and for spring launched an assortment that includes flat-front and boot-leg cuts, stretch blends and a variety of trendy prints, such as Asian-inspired toiles and pinstripes.
“A lot of people think of Dockers as a guys’ line and what we’ve tried to do is see how we can make it a line where women realize there are pants for her,” said Janet Howard, vice president and creative director of Dockers. “So we looked at our fits and made them hipper, younger and sexier and it’s paid off. Things that will make people scratch their heads and go, ‘That’s Dockers?”‘
With new features such as low-rise, no-waist pants, fitted shirts and skirts, Diane Jones-Lowrey, senior marketing manager at the firm, said the goal is to capture more ownership of their consumer’s wardrobe — as opposed to just owning the weekend.
“Dockers is a line of versatility and flexibility,” said Jones-Lowrey. “We want to provide more choices for everyday. So we’re offering more options in terms of wearing occasions, rather than relegating it all to Casual Friday.”
What this means is that the collection will include pants that can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on the day or night, Jones-Lowrey said, while also staying true to its misses’ audience.
“All we’re saying is ‘here’s another pant, that’s a little more stylish but that will also take care of any body issues she has,”‘ she said.
Still, Dockers’ will keep its focus on pants, with about 80 percent bottoms and 20 percent tops. The line wholesales for $18 to $24. New items include styles that are more tailored, with lower rises, tab fronts and stretch fabrics for comfort. Side-tie shirts, ruffle shirts and ruched blouses in a variety of patterns round out the offerings. Sizes range from 2 to 18. Retailers that carry the line include J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Macy’s West.
Terri Mann, senior vice president visual merchandise manager at Kohl’s, said Dockers has hit the mark in terms of updating its look to capture a broader audience, while also staying true to its traditional audience.
“What’s great about this is you can see what it has evolved from. They’ve done a great job at hitting that core classics business,” Mann said. “Based on sales, spring business has been strong and for fall, it’s just going to continue.”
This new commitment to fashion and style underscores a renewed emphasis on femininity — intended again to drive home the point that Dockers doesn’t just make mens’ pants, Jones-Lowrey said.
“It’s all about femininity,” she said. “One of the things we’ve done is introduce the symbol for female in the ‘O’ in Dockers [in advertising].”
The company has also updated its advertising and increased spending by about 15 percent. The spring campaign features a pink velum overlay which peels back to reveal the season’s “must-have” looks. Jones-Lowrey added, “If you don’t know the line is for women you will now.”
The campaign breaks nationally this month in magazines such as Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Lucky, Marie Claire, the Oprah Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, People, Real Simple, Redbook, Rosie’s, Self, Shape and Working Mother.

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