Byline: Rusty Williamson

What’s new at Bushwacker, New York? Just about everything. The traditional sportswear label is updating its look to include a more contemporary focus and has launched a humorous new ad campaign to enliven its image, said company executives in an interview with WWD.
“We’re making changes out of necessity, because the traditional marketplace and customer base has changed pretty dramatically,” said Scott Heath, vice president. “The looks that used to satisfy her aren’t doing it any longer.”
Bushwacker launched its new look with a low-key approach for spring, but is going full steam for fall. The company expects the extra effort will flush out a rise of 12 percent in sales this year.
According to Heath, the company is now taking a contemporary approach to styling.
“We’ve cleaned up certain components of the line,” Heath said. “Sweaters aren’t as long and roomy, but are more body conscious. Items have trendy touches such as hoods, three-quarter sleeves, velvet trim and small snaps. Lighter weights are more important in sweaters and wovens. Fabrics include cotton, acrylic, linen, silk and suede. We’re expecting a big suede business this fall.”
The reason for the emphasis on newness, Heath admitted, is that sales of basics were leveling off.
“We want to give the consumer things she’s always loved at Bushwacker, but in a new way,” Heath explained.
“That means stretch fabrications, restyled capris and subtle novelty, such as embroidered plackets and cuffs instead of printed seams. Our customer wants to look put-together and sleek, but not cutesy. She wants something to fit her misses’ figure, and she wants to appear ageless.”
Heath said prints are now more refined and colors are more sophisticated; he cited antique paisleys rendered in rich earth tones, sparked by touches of red.
Wholesale price points in the 125-piece fall collection include a long suede skirt at $39, rayon stretch side-zip capri pants at $42.50 and a shearling jacket at $125.
The new ad campaign is playing up the newness of the line, carrying the tag line, “Bushwacker. Get Wacky.”
In addition to its ad campaign, Bushwacker has launched a new marketing outreach effort that includes elaborate image and trend books that are being mailed to retailers and consumers. The company has about 900 accounts.
Bushwacker also launched a women’s golf apparel collection for spring that is continuing for fall, and it is expanding its focus on soft dresses.
Bushwacker is shown in Dallas at Merle Gorman & Associates.

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