FOLLOWING, A RUNDOWN OF THE LATEST OFFERINGS TO GRACE AMERICASMART.
Byline: Subira Shaw
DAVID BYRNE, 11E112
In The Wash
A division of New York-based Un-Thinkable Inc., ITW showed for the first time in Atlanta this October with accompanying label In The Wash, which was launched in 1998.
With pricing between $44-$180, ITW features comfortable, yet fashionable pieces, targeting women from 30 to 60 years old who want clean, classic sportswear.
“We’re focusing on a customer who’s been forgotten about. There’s a huge market of real women out there, with kids, who want to dress easy and still be hip,” said sales director Neil Cohen.
ITW offers a broad range of fabrics and is more contemporary than In The Wash, with silhouettes including hand-knit sweaters, chiffon blouses, printed silk bias-cut skirts, shirtdresses and striped ankle pants in linen blends. Colors are plentiful, but soft. Sizes range from XS-XL and 2-14.
Cohen said that the sportswear market has grown stronger with the growing importance of casual apparel in the professional world.
“We’ve hit a point of comfortable dressing, and we’re not going back,” he said. This year’s total company sales volume is projected at $3.5 million.
WARD & WARD, 11W125 Dulcinea
Based in Los Angeles, this better contemporary line specializes in printed silk dresses for customers aged 25 to 55.
The year-old collection, carried in specialty stores and boutiques, is manufactured domestically and designed by Claudia De La Riva, Moira Tarifa and Sam Suliman. “We’re half trendy, half classic at Dulcinea. A woman could be in any kind of environment in the dress and feel comfortable,” said De La Riva.
With many hemlines skimming the midcalf area, dresses are made of silk crepe and silk charmeuse in varying weights, and available in bias-cut, halter, peasant and shirtwaist silhouettes.
Separates include blouses with tie-neck detail and three-quarter-length sleeves, ruffled V-neck tops and bias-cut skirts. Spring offers paisley, floral and geometric prints along with a yellow-gold solid. Wholesale prices range between $150 and $200.
Going forward, the collection will emphasize elegance rather than the heavy embellishment of last season. As novelty treatments on dresses fade, they will become more bra-friendly and easy-fitting while retaining their feminine style.
SHEPPARD & TUCKER, 9E108 NYBASED
Launched six years ago, NYBASED interprets trends into knitwear looks and wholesales for $38-$56. The top-driven line, which has over 400 accounts with specialty stores, department stores and catalogs, targets both contemporary and mature customers.
As head designer, former Higbee’s department store buyer Chris Serluco brings merchandising expertise to the collection. “He covers the whole gamut,” said national sales manager Pamela Best. “He understands what will be bought by stores and retail successfully. We’re in tune with what can work countrywide because of Chris’s background.”
The 70-piece spring line features such silhouettes as striped tanks, capped-sleeve wrap tops, tie-neck shells and cardigans in materials like cotton rib, tape yarn, and rayon and nylon blends.
Novelty details include whipstitching, embroidery, beading, and drawstring hemming. Some knits are solid,while others are colorblocked, dip-dyed, tie-dyed or geometric in print. The growing group of wovens includes circle skirts and dresses in silk and chiffon.
PEPPER’S COLLECTION, 9S119 Petit Pois
New to Atlanta, this Miami-based contemporary line was born in 1999 and began shipping a year later.
Both comfortable and body-conscious, the nylon mesh collection targets a moderate-to-better customer. Its 200-plus accounts are with Nordstrom and numerous specialty stores in the U.S. and Latin America.
Comprising fully lined drawstring pants, V-shaped camisoles, skirts, button-down shirts, tank dresses and lingerie “in a bag,” the line is accented with plastic straps, fringed beads, pearled edges, and organza flower detail.
Spring’s prints include a best-selling New York shopping design, geometric graphics and tie-dyes related to neutral and bright solids. Prices range from $20 blouses to $50 dresses.
Vice president and designer Viviana Gabeiras maintains low pricing by sourcing and overseeing production locally. This also allows her to control deliveries and fill orders quickly.
Sales volume for 2000 totaled $600,000.
MICHAEL & PAULA HYMAN, 11W121
Blue Dot/Angela Furlong
Drawing from a personal affection for pants and years of designing for Guess, Esprit and Lucky Brand Dungarees, Angela Furlong founded the contemporary sportswear line Blue Dot in 1998.
After a successful entry into the Atlanta market four seasons ago, Blue Dot was joined by Angela Furlong, a new, more urban division, in October.
“Blue Dot is unique because the fit is based more on comfort than trying to hit every trend. The knit bottoms are very forgiving,” said president and designer Angela Furlong. Blue Dot’s core pieces are pants in cotton blends designed for a broad span of customers between ages 20 and 60. Silhouettes range from tailored fixed-waist pants to looser drawstring styles, and feature lengths from capri to bootleg. Details include cuffs, hammer pockets, and articulated knees. Accompanying styles are ring-spun knit tops, skirts, and jacket bodies. Blue Dot wholesales for $20 to $60.
The smaller Angela Furlong group offers body-conscious stretch sateen pants in six colors. Styles come cropped and long with details like slash pockets and d-rings. Wholesale prices range from $45 to $64. Furlong does business with three catalogs and 600 specialty stores, with annual sales for 2000 totaling $2.7 million.
TIM PHILBIN, ACCESSORIES, 8E112B
Aurora Radiant Glass
When former marketing consultant Patti Quinn saw a void in boutique accessories, she decided to fill it with a line of handmade contemporary jewelry art. Thus, the Athens, Ga.-based Aurora Radiant Glass was born in 1997.
Bridging the gap between gallery and boutique jewelry, Aurora comprises pendants, bracelets, earrings and rings incorporating fused or dichroic glass tiles and semiprecious stones encased in high-grade sterling silver. The special fusing process, which is also used by NASA to produce space-shuttle windows, allows the melding of several different colors to create an iridescent finish.
“Fashion is so mass-produced today; everything is the same at Rich’s, Macy’s and Parisian’s. I know that women like me are looking for originality, and each of my pieces is hand-designed and handmade,” said Quinn.
From rings wholesaling for $28 to necklaces for $145, the collection was originally targeted at women 35 to 55 years old, but retailers have noticed that even customers spanning the ages of 25 to 85 are drawn to Quinn’s free-form jewelry.
This spring, Aurora will add six new color combinations such as “pink flambe,” “silver stars” and “limeslice.” Quinn plans to emphasize prints and mosaics rather than solid color stones.
Totaling $120,000 for 2000, sales volume has doubled this past year.
MICHAEL CORENBLUM & ASSOCIATES, 11S343 Weston Wear
This 20-year-old dancewear-inspired line came on the Atlanta scene this past October. Well known in the Eighties for its cotton and Lycra spandex designs, the San Francisco-based collection has now found a niche in dresses, separates and lingerie in nylon mesh.
With 1,200 accounts in specialty stores, department stores and catalogs, the line targets young, urban professionals who want contemporary styling with a good fit, said designer-owner Julienne Weston. While silhouettes remain consistent, seven to 10 new prints are introduced every month, increasing the possibilities of the collection since every style is offered in every print.
The varieties of prints for spring include paisleys, geometrics and florals. Dresses with seaming detail on the waist and sleeves, shirtdresses and wrap dresses are featured, along with briefs, camisoles and slipdresses; the collection’s colors emphasize tonal mixes such as red with orange, plum with pink, and tan with brown.
Prices range from $9 for panties to $65 for dresses. Sales volume for 2000 was estimated at $5 million.
DON OVERCAST & ASSOCIATES, 10E112 SHE
A German import, the 14-year-old SHE collection is new to Don Overcast. SHE focuses on updated bridge sportswear targeting a customer in her 30s and 40s who enjoys the adventurous spirit of European fashion.
The four-person design group, creates a full set of casual and suiting looks, all available in the same color stories, making the line appropriate for career, after five and weekend styles when pieces are mixed.
Importer Kevin Blessing, who is based in Palm Springs, Calif., said that SHE’s versatility is a major selling point for the collection. With each season, 180 pieces come in groupings of five to six; this spring, they carry names like “Online,” “Eden” and “Vitality.”
Staples such as sport coats and tapered leg trousers in cotton polyamide are featured, as well as halter dresses and sweaters in light luxury knits. Colors tend to be a mix of soft and vibrant tones, while prints are floral, paisley and geometric.
Wholesale prices range from $30 for a stretch top to $200 for a jacket. The domestic sales volume for 2000 was $4 million.
WILLIAM F. DABNEY, 9N313 C.J. Laing
Conceived by husband and wife duo Jack and Carolyn Laing two years ago, this New York-based contemporary/misses’ line first showed at AmericasMart in October.
Often interpreted as resortwear, the collection consists of basic linen shifts, capris, shells and skirts patterned with handmade embroidery instead of prints. More formal silhouettes are made of taffeta or silk shantung and embellished with beads and sequins.
Wholesale prices range from $30 to $100. “We sell to hip stores like Fred Segal in Los Angeles, all the way to preppy stores on Martha’s Vineyard,” said Jack Laing. “Women from 16 to 80 are buying the pieces.”
For spring, brighter is better, said Laing. The latest embroidery group, issued monthly, has a tropical motif, including mermaids, starfish and cocktails on base fabrics in vibrant and pastel colors.
C.J. Laing maintains a centrally located Minneapolis warehouse stocked with inventory to ship out requests promptly. Sixteen pieces is the minimum required for specialty store orders. Last year’s wholesale sales volume was $8 million.
SYLVIA OVERCAST, INC., 11S114 Basement Clothing
New to Sylvia Overcast, Basement Clothing is an updated misses’ collection rooted in linen, Tencel and sueded sportswear. Launched in 1991, this outfit-driven Los Angeles line is available in sizes S-XL and aimed at women of all ages.
Classic-leaning silhouettes include vest sets, hooded cover ups, drawstring capris and long skirts and dresses. The addition of cotton and nylon knit tops brings a younger feeling to the group.
This spring, neutral and bright tones color the line, with very few prints. All manufacturing takes place in the U.S.
Wholesale prices range from tanks for $19, dresses for $40 and pants sets for $49. Sales volume for 2000 increased by 25 percent since 1999.