DENIM DISH

That’s a Stretch
Over the past year, stretch jeans have been a top performer for many denim brands.
Clearly, Mark Levy has noticed the trend. His firm, Younique, this spring plans to launch its first denim collection, which will be made up entirely of stretch bottoms.
Levy, a partner at the junior sportswear firm, said the decision not to include any rigid denim items in the line is also a recognition that a handful of junior brands already have a stronghold on the rigid-jeans market.
“All of the fashion direction that we’re finding is stretch,” Levy said. “They [retailers] also don’t need me for rigid. They do all of their business with Mudd, LEI and Paris Blues in rigid, so we feel we had to offer them something different.”
But Levy said the New York-based company remains open to offering rigid denim items in the future within its new line, which will bear the Younique Jeans label.
“We’re big on fashion at all times, so whatever the dictated fashion trend is, we’ll be on it,” he said.
The 25-year-old company, which manufacturers tops, dresses and fashion bottoms, will offer low-rise and flare jeans, some with embellishments such as studs and rhinestones. The line also includes denim skirts and shorts.
Levy said the items, all of which are being manufactured at a plant in China, will begin shipping Mar. 30. The jeans will wholesale from $12.50 to $17.50.
A denim jacket, in stretch and rigid, will be offered for the fall collection, Levy said.
Levy said three department stores have already signed up to receive shipments, although he declined to identify the retailers.
He said he hopes the new line will “open new doors that we have not been able to break down.”

Denim Dinosaurs
Its name may evoke images of prehistoric times, but Fossil Inc. isn’t digging up any denim relics for its Retrofit collection.
The line, which was introduced in December, is a collection of Fossil jeans and tops that have been refurbished to appear “vintage.”
“We just took some of the product that we have and had washing and patching treatments done to it,” said John Talbott, vice president of marketing for the Richardson, Tex.-based company.
Some of the jeans had suede patches and bleach spots added to the body, while some corduroy shirts had gasoline patches sewn to the pockets.
Despite similar treatments and embellishments, each item is one-of -a-kind, Talbott claimed.
The Retrofit line is available only at three of Fossil’s 14 jeans stores: Hulen Mall in Ft. Worth, Tex., Stonebriar Center in Frisco, Tex. and Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif.
Talbott said each store carries about 72 items from the line. The average price for a pair of Retrofit jeans is $58, about $20 more than than a pair of jeans from Fossil’s standard collection, Talbott added.
Talbott said Fossil is considering carrying authentic vintage merchandise in its stores later this year.
“Instead of trying to knock off vintage garments, our thought is to actually go out and purchase vintage garments that seem right,” he said. “For example, if we saw a trend in the marketplace where Adidas triple-track jackets were cool, rather than try and knock it off and do our own version, we would get the original.”
The Retrofit collection was launched, Talbott said, because Fossil “wants to be a beacon of difference” in a sea of blue jeans.
“We don’t want to just be about stonewash,” he said. “We want to try some different denim applications because we want our stores to be a place where kids come to see the latest thing in denim.”

A Fashion Rampage
Rampage is turning up the volume on its denim offerings.
This fall, the company intends to roll out Rampage Jeanswear, a fashion item-driven denim collection that will compete at a higher price point than its existing denim offerings.
The new collection, which will be shown at the WWDMAGIC show next month in Las Vegas, will include boot cut, flare and low-rise jeans, as well as an A-line skirt and a denim jacket.
The Los Angeles-based junior sportswear firm last fall launched R. Wear by Rampage, a collection that includes basic jeans.
While R. Wear denim bottoms retail for $26 to $38, a spokeswoman said the average price point for the new line will be about $58.
The R. Wear brand targets chains like Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Mervyn’s California, but the Rampage Jeanswear brand will focus on higher-end department stores, the spokeswoman said.

Dressed-Down Designs
It’s not only sportswear designers that have an eye for denim jackets.
Exhibitors at Workshop NY, the European ready-to-wear and accessories trade show which made its American debut in September, will get their chance to take a crack at the embellished denim game next month.
In an effort to raise scholarship money for the Parsons School of Design, show organizers will be holding a silent auction of denim jackets gussied up by the expected 40 exhibitors. Their canvases will be Levi Strauss & Co.’s Red Tab relaxed trucker jackets and the simple instructions: “No rules. No guidelines. No limitations.”
The auction is scheduled to begin at the event’s opening night party, Feb. 17 at Chelsea Market in New York, and run through the end of the show on Feb. 20.
According to a show spokeswoman, some of the designers expected to return for the event’s second staging include Fiona Walker, Nicole Yu and Marc Le Bihan.

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