KAISERMAN HITS THE STREETS WITH SKINS

Byline: Melanie Kletter

NEW YORK — After a brief hiatus, apparel industry veteran Bill Kaiserman is back on the scene with a new collection for young men and women.
Kaiserman recently launched Skins, a streetwear-inspired apparel company that taps into the current demand for textured goods. The line’s trademark is a shiny, stretchy coating developed by Kaiserman in conjunction with Grant Industries, an Elmwood Park, N.J.-based chemical company. The coating has been applied to a variety of fabrics, including denim and stretch materials.
The women’s apparel includes sleek skirts in a variety of lengths, cropped and loose jackets, halter tops, T-shirts and five-pocket pants. All the apparel is in black, white or gray, and nearly every item has at least one zipper.
Set to make its debut next month at retail, Skins carries wholesale prices of between $40 and $90. Kaiserman said the firm is targeting higher-end specialty stores and boutiques such as Bebesh in SoHo.
“I have always wanted to design for the younger market,” Kaiserman said. “Many younger people are used to casual apparel such as baggy jeans, and I wanted to give them a little more sophisticated point of view. The line is inspired by streetwear and what I believe streetwear should be.”
Viola Godsil, a buyer at Bebesh, called the line “very directional.”
Kaiserman, who began working in the apparel industry in 1969, is best known for his men’s tailored clothing, which he designed under the Bill Kaiserman label before selling the license to Hartz & Co., a New York men’s wear firm, in the early 1990s. For the last 20 years, Kaiserman been working out of Milan, where he maintains a residence.
Most recently, Kaiserman was a consultant to Amerex USA, an outerwear firm.
Kaiserman said he developed the idea for the coating a few years ago, and he initially planned to sell the finish to various apparel companies. After he was unsuccessful in finding an interested firm, he decided to develop his own collection, which he is directing at men and woman aged 18 to 26.
“It is incredibly more fun to work with this age group because they are more daring,” he said.
The production of Skins is being done domestically.
Kaiserman plans to advertise Skins in national publications starting this summer, and he estimated that the firm’s first-year sales volume would reach about $2 million. Skins shipments will be made every two months, and the firm probably will branch into other products and expand abroad, Kaiserman said.

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