FASHION FOR GIRLS FIRST
SPORTSWEAR FIRM WEAR FIRST TAPS INTO THE TEEN MARKET WITH A NEW JUNIOR LINE.

Byline: Melanie Kletter

NEW YORK — While many apparel companies are retrenching and holding back on starting new divisions, apparel firm Wearfirst Sportswear is taking a different route.
The New York-based company has created a new junior sportswear brand called Girlsfirst for spring selling. The line includes a variety of denim looks, including jean shorts, as well as activewear-inspired and corduroy bottoms, logo T-shirts, cotton tank tops and Girl Scout-inspired tops. Print and tropical themes can be found in many items.
“We feel there is room for growth for us in juniors,” said John Lawton, Wearfirst’s president. “Junior customers buy at least three times as many garments as young men, and we want to tap into that market.”
For fall 2002, the line will be expanded to include outerwear and other categories, said Girlsfirst design director Alana Aldrich. Girlsfirst carries retail prices of $25 to $30 and is expected to compete with moderate brands such as Mudd and Paris Blues.
Targeted distribution includes department stores and specialty chains, similar to the young men’s business, Lawton said. Wearfirst also produces young men’s and women’s apparel under private label, mostly produced at the company’s facility in Shanghai.
A TV and magazine advertising campaign will accompany the Girlsfirst launch, starting this spring. The lineofficially makes its debut this week at ISAM, the International Swim and Accessories Market at the California Mart.

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