I’m Too Low Tech For This Jacket
OK, so Jeremy Scott isn’t exactly a high-tech kind of guy.
“I’m more medium-tech,” the Paris-based designer confessed. “I’m still into vinyl. Cassette tapes baffle me.”
Still, it seemed like a good idea that 27-year-old Scott should be the first kid on his block to wear the ICD+, a new gizmo-laden jacket which hit European boutiques at the end of September. The jackets, produced by Levi Strauss & Co. in collaboration with Philips Electronics, incorporate a mobile phone, headset, microphone, MP3 player and remote control. They retail in the $900-to-$1,000 range at stores like Colette, Kabuki and L’Eclaireur in Paris.
At WWD’s suggestion, Scott agreed to test drive a sample for a few days as he went about the various preparations for his spring 2001 collection, which he’ll show Oct. 13 in Paris.
The problem was, Scott just couldn’t quite figure out how to use it.
“That thing’s too complicated for me,” he confessed. “It’s very future-comic-book lifestyle.”
As a designer, Scott said he’s intrigued by the intersection of telecommunications technology and fashion. The Industrial Clothing Design Plus collection, which consists of four jacket styles, is considered one of the first commercial examples of wearable wireless technology. But for Scott, “a phone is a phone and a jacket is a jacket.” Not that he couldn’t imagine certain New Yorkers using the jacket to tune out the world — or to tune in more obsessively.
Levi’s expects the jackets will appeal to a small, technology-driven constituency that might include film producers, music-industry gurus, fashionistas and assorted urban nomads. Levi’s plans to produce about 2,500 ICD+ jackets and distribute them through about 50 stores in Europe, as reported.
Tractor Jeans is tapping into the fast-growing tween market.
This fall, the New York-based denim company launched a scaled-down version of its junior jeans line targeting girls aged 10 to 13. The line carries sizes 00, 0, 1 and 3, which fits those too big for girls’ sizes and too small for juniors. The premiere offering comprises eight styles, including a five-pocket basic, stretch denim in two silhouettes, stretch twill and novelty fabrics in a variety of washes and colors.
The company is targeting specialty stores and department stores.
“We have been in the junior and girls’ market, and we found that there was a middle ground no one seemed to be addressing,” said Howard Mensch, president of Tractor Jeans. “That girl is a little too tall and thin for girls’ [sizes]. We addressed this by cutting the tween offerings smaller than the junior size.”
Retail prices range from $35 to $40, and projected first-year sales are expected to reach about $2 million, the company said. Mensch noted that the line can hang in both girls’ and junior departments.
The firm also said it has named Jay Marans, who formerly held an executive post at Nothing Jeans, as national accounts manager. He will oversee Tractor’s national accounts and will be responsible for the new tween line as well as the core girls’ and junior lines.
The three-year-old company is also in the process of signing a license to its name for junior and girls’ tops, according to Mensch, although he declined to name the licensing partner.
Thomaston’s Final Adieu to Denim
Thomaston Mills Inc., which last year shocked the industry by revealing plans to shutter its denim division, on Monday bid its final farewell to the business by selling its Pike Division weaving facility, in Zebulon, Ga.
The 19-year-old plant, which measures 83,200 square feet and is located on a 144-acre property was sold to JBJ Developers for an undisclosed sum.
JBJ offered no initial plans for the land. Thomaston said in a statement: “The developers are looking to promote the sale of this facility for use in enhancing economic development within the Zebulon community.”
The decline of the America textile industry has changed the face of the South in recent years: many mills have been shut and the region’s textile workforce has shrunk substantially. The region, however, has boomed economically in many cases with states attracting other employers, notably from the high-tech and financial services sectors.
For its part, Thomaston Mills has continued its operations in the yarn-dyed fabrics area. For its fiscal year ended July 1, the company narrowed its net losses to $14.6 million, compared with $41.8 million a year earlier. Sales were off only slightly, dropping to $167.1 million, down less than one percent from $168.4 million.
CK’s Fall Tour
CK Calvin Klein Jeans is cosponsoring the Ignite College Tour 2000, a midday music festival due to hit 10 college campuses this month.
The tour features headline act P.O.D., a hard-rock band with a Christian twist and the lesser-known band Common Sense. Performances begin at noon on college campuses, and are followed by appearances by CK Jeans models, activity tents and giveaways of promotional items.
The tour opened in late September, hitting the University of California at San Diego and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. On Tuesday, it returned to California, hitting Maritime University in San Francisco.
On Friday, the tour continues on to Washington State University, in Pullman, with a Sunday stop at the University of Montana, in Missoula. Other planned stops are Colorado State University, the University of Texas, South West Missouri State, Central Missouri State and Ohio State University. The tour wraps up Oct. 26 at the University of Southern California.
Ford Motor Co. is a co-sponsor of the tour, and a related internet promotion will give away a Ford Focus.