Seven: Secret No More
When a call to 411 failed to locate the uber-trendy brand Seven Jeans, a WWD reporter called a local boutique to inquire where the brand was based. But the owner wouldn’t fess up, jealously guarding its lucky number.
Although retailers may want to keep mum, Seven Jeans is no secret to fashionables in Los Angeles. The contemporary denim label — growing faster than its owners anticipated at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Fred Segal and American Rag — is on track to do $15 million in its first year.
“We thought we would do $2.5 million to $3 million [the first year],” said creative director Jerome Dahan, who founded the line 10 months ago with a pair of partners. “But we’re booking [at a rate that would reach] $20 million to $24 million.”
Barneys New York is among those reordering at a healthy pace — Dahan said he recently received a $1 million reorder.
“We’ve placed a really large reorder and are definitely committed to growing the business,” said buyer Megan Mitchell, who declined to be specific about the size of the reorder.
To control growth and insure that all orders will ship, booking is closed until September.
For the record, the red hot label is based in Vernon, Calif., conveniently holed up in the offices of moderate sportswear manufacturer Koral Industries. Owner Peter Koral has a majority stake in Seven, while Dahan and Michael Glazer, who founded the Democracy label roughly a decade ago, share the remaining equity.
Denim has been Dahan’s passion for the past 20 years. He has a resume that includes stints with some top local brands, including Guess in the early Eighties. He partnered with Fred Segal’s Ron Herman and Adriano Goldschmied on A. Gold E. in the late Eighties and jumped to Lucky Brand in the Nineties.
Now it’s time for Seven, which Dahan says is not named in reference to his former employer, but is the number worn by Koral’s son, a quarterback at Vanderbilt University.
The line, which has the feel of something dug out of a thrift-store pile, focuses on contrasts.
“It’s the contrast of old and new. [For example], keeping something very dark and then being very aggressive and abrasive [in places],” Dahan explained. “A strong contrast shows depth and character in the product.”
The line is heavy on visual texture, with scratched-looking overdyed surfaces and lots of wrinkles scrunched across laps and rumpled at knees. Pockets are also important, with fabric worked into starburst designs and petal shapes. Some of the pocket details complement jackets, such as a jacket with a vintage-style quilted lining and petal-sleeve detailing.
Wholesale prices range from $48 to $60 for bottoms and $90 to $100 for jackets.
Dahan’s and Glazer’s challenge is keeping production paced to meet demand. He said he’s been supported by the local industry, including launderer Caitac Garment. To handle Seven’s business, the Gardena, Calif.-based company installed a $50,000 oven that heat-sets wrinkles in denim. Dahan said he spends most of his day there tweaking washes and wrinkle patterns.
His effort is paying off. According to Barneys’ Mitchell, customers come in asking for specific washes, which are named after cities.
“People ask for the New York wash (a dark wash with white, front-crease line and wear on the sides) and the Milan wash (a bleached wash with wear on the front of the thighs) is also popular,” Mitchell said.
Popular enough that Dahan went to talk to Caitac about capacity.
“We had a meeting with them a couple of weeks ago and said we need to go from 700 pieces a day to 2,000 pieces a day,” said Dahan. “And they said, ‘OK.”‘
Isaacs Delisted by Nasdaq
I.C. Isaacs & Co., which produces the Marithe & Francois Girbaud jeans line in the U.S., on Friday was delisted from the Nasdaq National Market. The Baltimore company’s shares now trade over the counter.
In a statement, president and chief executive officer Robert J. Arnot said: “Although we regret the delisting, we do not believe that our move to the OTC market will affect our customers or employees. We intend to continue to build on the success of our Girbaud brand going forward.”
That news came a month after the jeans maker said it reached an agreement in principle to settle a consolidated securities class-action lawsuit against the company over the registration statement and prospectus issued in connection with the firm’s initial public offering, which was completed in December 1997.
The first of the three actions was filed in a Maryland federal district court on Nov. 10, 1999 by Leo Bial and Robert W. Hampton. The allegations of securities law violations were brought on behalf of shareholders who purchased the stock between Dec. 17, 1997 and Nov. 11, 1998. The lawsuits charged that the IPO documentation contained materially false and misleading statements, which artificially inflated the price of the company’s stock during the class period.
The amount of the settlement could not be ascertained, but I.C. Isaacs said it will be funded entirely by the company’s directors and officers liability insurer, and that the payment would “not have an adverse effect” on I.C. Isaacs’s financial position.
Cerruti Jeans: Coming to America
Cerruti Jeans in mid-September will kick off its U.S. launch with the opening of a 1,700-square-foot store on West Broadway in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.
The store’s opening precedes the line’s wholesale launch, slated to occur in January when the spring-summer 2002 collection ships.
“The store shows people buying spring-summer 2002 our willingness to invest directly in the [U.S.] market,” said Fabio Fusco, chief operating officer of Pepper Industries SpA, which produces Cerruti Jeans.
Pepper Industries, a division of Italy’s Fin.part Group, produces other sportswear lines, including Marina Yachting, Henry Cotton’s, Moncler and Best Company.
Fusco said the company plans to open additional stores in the U.S., but opening dates and locations have not yet been determined. He said the company wants to familiarize itself with the U.S. market before it expands its retail operations.
The Cerruti Jeans line includes denim jeans, jackets and skirts, as well as knits and sweaters. Bottoms will wholesale from $40 to $50.
The Paris-based line has been available in Europe since its inception in 1995 and distribution expanded to the Mideast and East Asia two years ago.
Fusco said the company expects to ship the spring-summer 2002 women’s collection to 35 wholesale specialty-store accounts. The company hopes to double the number of accounts for spring 2003, he said.
Fusco said the company’s annual U.S. sales goals are: $2 million for 2002; $6 million for 2003, and $10 million to $12 million for 2004.