DESIGN DEMOCRACY LIVES AT CENTRAL FALLS.
Byline: Rusty Williamson
Central Falls, a better misses’ contemporary sportswear and dress firm here, is missing a designer at its helm.
Central Falls, in fact, has never had a designer — and that’s just the way its owners, Beaver Raymond and brothers Luigi and Anthony Mungioli, like it.
“We don’t want one person dictating what stores will have to choose from. Instead, we stay in tune with the trends and how to meet the needs of retailers,” explained Luigi Mungioli, who is the firm’s president.
“Our design process is a group effort driven by what’s hot now, what’s on the horizon and what women’s specialty retailers need from Central Falls,” said Raymond, who is also vice president of sales, marketing and merchandising.
The principals of the privately held company, based in suburban Garland, Tex., expect that sales could climb as high as $11 million this year, up 9 percent over a year ago.
For spring, Central Falls is betting on soft and feminine floral and abstract prints rendered in sophisticated, bright hues such as sky blue, purple, orange and yellow.
Sheer layers are important, as are delicate ruffles and multicolored beaded fringe. Silhouettes include a panoply of pants, jackets, vests and blouses, along with a dress or two in each delivery.
After Central Falls distills trends, patternmaker Carol Poston uses a CAD high tech setupto generate all the season’s patterns for contractors.
Using designer-quality Euro-pean fabrics and domestic contractors, Central Falls claims to take three weeks or less to respond to a breaking trend and deliver it to retailers. “From patternmaking to shipping in three weeks or less — that’s the goal,” said Raymond.
Central Falls has less than 25 employees at its corporate headquarters on Miller Road in Garland, Tex., about 15 miles from the International Apparel Mart. The firm is showing in Falkner Townsend 3E04.
The firm sells to over 650 women’s specialty stores across the U.S., including Pope’s in Shreveport, La., and Pink Tulip in Atlanta, plus some major catalog houses.
Wholesale prices average between $30 and $50 per item.
About 25 percent of Central Falls’ annual volume comes from doing private label merchandise for a small but prestigious roster of retailers, including Harold’s Stores and Nordstrom.
Responding to stores’ requests, the company recently launched an accessories line. For spring the mix includes lots of brightly colored soft handbags with fringe or beaded details and colorful fashion jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
The 50-piece spring line wholesales from $12 for small earrings to $39 for a sterling silver necklace. The line already has been picked up by nearly 50 retailers.