THE FOLLOWING LINES ARE NEW IN TOWN, OR HAVE CHANGED SHOWROOMS, AT THE CHICAGO APPAREL CENTER AND STYLEMAX.
Byline: Julia Fellers-Green
BRENDA CYCHOLL and ANGELA HILL, Stylemax
This collection made its Chicago debut in August with “designer looks and detail, at affordable prices,” as described by designer Clea Benson, who formerly designed a knit line under the label Clothespin.
Benson brought the line to Chicago with hopes of increasing its exposure. “People are traveling to fewer shows, so it’s necessary to reach a broader area,” she noted.
The line’s sales increased 30 percent in its second year. Benson cited versatility in pieces as a motivating factor in the growth of specialty store sales.
The spring collection, for example, features shimmer pants with an adjustable waistband, making the garment wearable on either the hips or the natural waistline. “This allows a single piece to appeal to different age groups and body types,” said Benson.
Targeting a crossover customer with contemporary as well as misses’ styling, Clea includes body-skimming yet comfortable silhouettes, such as pull-on pants and big shirts, in addition to more form-fitting dresses. Designed for multiple uses, Clea offers pants and tailored styles that can be worn both to work and into the evening. With 20 to 25 styles per season, wholesale prices range from $40 to $175.
MANZANO SALES, Stylemax
This 1 1/2-year-old division of North American Clothing Co. Inc. provides cotton knits with a technical edge for a contemporary to misses’ market.
“The drive behind this line is to offer the finest quality knits in the widest range of colors and styles appropriate for the season,” said owner and designer Darryl Lewis of his Whittier, Calif.-based collection.
The spring line consists of one-by-one cotton knit tops, dresses, skirts and shorts made entirely of, as Lewis described, “domestic long staple cotton knitted on an 18-cut knitting machine out of 26-singles yarn.”
The spring collection consists of 30 top styles, four dress styles and a pull-on short or skirt style. Tops are done with T-shirt styling and include half-sleeve, three-quarter-sleeved and short-sleeved styles with mock turtle, crew, square or V-necks. The line also features cardigans to complete a twinset look. The items are available in 32 seasonally variable colors, including bright, jewel-tone, basic, military, spice and smoke groups for spring; they wholesale for $16 for a crewneck T to $34 for a dress.
STEVE GOODMAN, Stylemax
This collection of related better separates and sportswear designed by Diane Gilman makes its Chicago return for spring at the Steve Goodman showroom. “Chicago is a healthy, viable territory for the product,” said sales manager Roni Brodherson of the 10-year-old line.
The New York-based line showcases work-to-evening separates, along with the occasional novelty item, in easy-fitting, petite, misses’ and plus sizes.
Manufactured in the Orient, pieces are fabricated from mostly natural fibers, which vary seasonally. The spring collection features linen gauze, sheer organza, sheer nylon, silk doupioni, crepe de chine, sheer linens and cotton and/or silk knits. Colors for spring include aqua and lime, lilac and ivory, and coral and pink groups, as well as iridescent, metallic gray and sharkskin linen groups.
The line, selling to specialty stores and catalogs, wholesales from $59 to $79 for bottoms, $49 to $85 for tops, $59 to $99 for jackets and $25 to $ 45 for layering pieces.
Manzano Sales, Stylemax
Cotton Stuff, a seven-year-old Los Angeles-based misses’ to contemporary activewear and sportswear line, makes its debut at Manzano Sales for cruise. The line, under the direction of designer Suwon Weaver, has been undergoing major transformations in the past year as it moves from predominantly producing activewear to more updated sportswear separates. “We are showing a small percentage of activewear now and plan to introduce sportier activewear pieces in the future,” explained Weaver.
Changes have also included a move toward “hipper, trimmer shapes that appeal to the more fashion-savvy customer,” added Weaver, pointing out a fleece jacket whose boxy shape has been updated with a tailored body and three-quarter-length sleeves.
Silhouettes from the cruise collection — three-quarter-sleeved jackets, drawstring pants, capri pants, hooded jackets, Ts, oxford shirts and dresses — are designed to allow customers the ability to blend contemporary and classic pieces. Colors include bold solids in pink, blue, poppy and amethyst, as well as neutrals. Prints — bold florals on cotton poplin and canvas and yarn-dyed plaids — are a recent addition to the collection. Pieces are fabricated in canvas, Lycra, jersey knits, stretch poplin and linen. Some separates are subtly detailed with deep hems, ribbon trims and hook-and-eye fronts.
Wholesale prices range from $18 for a T to $44 for a wrap dress.
CINDY LEE, Stylemax
After seven successful years in Europe, Pietro Filipi is making inroads into the American marketplace and is showing for its second market in Chicago. Under the design direction of Iveta Hendrychova, the company offers Pietro Filipi Select, a line of sophisticated two-piece suitings, and Pietro Filipi Red, a casual updated sportswear line. Both lines rely heavily on updated, high-quality styling married with unique, cutting-edge fabrics.
Pietro Filipi Select targets young yet sophisticated 25-to-40-year-old women seeking day-to-night suiting and career wear. Silhouettes include long and short jackets paired with skirts and pants. The line wholesales for $110 to $130 for two-piece sets.
Pietro Filipi Red targets younger, hipper women. It features trendy, updated silhouettes, including casual cropped drawstring pants, backless halters, blouses and skirts. Pieces wholesale from $20 to $40 for bottoms and from $12 to $30 for tops and are available in solids and prints, both floral and geometric, in color combinations including green and white; black and orange; tan and red, and white.
JULIE WINDSOR SALES, Stylemax
Booths E-215 and E-219; 1308 and 1323, Apparel Center
The Staley/Gretzinger family of clothing is continuing its presence in Chicago with a move to the Julie Windsor showroom. The New York-based company consists of four “art-to-wear” lines — Staley/Gretzinger, Bread, JG’s Mad Lab and b2 — designed by the husband-and-wife duo Jerry Gretzinger and Meg Staley.
“All of the lines have a modern sensibility but are tailored for comfort on people not comfortable with skintight clothing,” said Staley.
Staley/Gretzinger, the 14-year-old founding line, is a collection of original “art to wear” pieces incorporating prints, silkscreens, patchwork and applique. Looks for spring, in generous misses’ sizes S, M and L, include pants, skirts, shirts, dresses and jackets in hand-printed black-and-white graphic designs.
Five-year-old Bread is a collection of comfortable, portable, soft shapes with subtle block prints or applique. Pieces are available in misses’ and plus sizes and include knit pants, skirts, shirts and jackets in glistening fabric; they wholesale from $35 to $75 per item.
JG’s Mad Lab, an artistic mixture of prints and color, is completing its first year on the market as the company’s fastest-growing division to date. The spring collection, glitz.com, consists of shirts, jackets, pants, skirts and dresses in brightly colored prints suggestive of computer circuit boards mixed with polkadots.
Wholesale prices for pieces, available in misses’ sizes S, M, L and XL, range from $60 to $110.
The company’s newest addition, b2, makes its debut in October, showcasing a collection of four pieces: a short jacket, long jacket, pants and skirt. Silhouettes are fabricated of shiny or black stretch denim with a hand-printed Buddha motif. Pieces in this debut collection, available in misses’ and plus sizes, correspond with the Bread designs for spring. Wholesale prices range from $68 to $110 for pieces.