LOS ANGELES — Rebecca Danenberg is hitting the ground running as she returns to the women’s contemporary market six years after closing her edgy namesake label and filing for corporate and personal bankruptcy.
Bowing this fall, Danenberg’s line, Three Girls Running, offers fitted corduroy blazers, ruffled silk chiffon tops, denim pencil skirts and some 60 styles that blend tailoring with casual comfort.
A native New Yorker who also designed for Elie Tahari, Danenberg moved to Los Angeles in 2001 to work for premium denim company Seven For All Mankind. She said she tried to relaunch her signature sportswear line in 2002, but abandoned the effort at the urging of Seven to focus on her denim job.
Until her departure six months ago, working at Seven allowed Danenberg to create commercial pieces. But she wants more.
“I’m trying to get out of the five-pocket syndrome,” Danenberg said. “I like creating a whole line.”
Danenberg’s new backer is Los Angeles’ Offline Inc., which generates about $25 million in annual wholesale sales from Inspira, a contemporary label sold at stores such as Nordstrom, and Sugar Lips, a young contemporary line carried by boutiques.
Charles Park, Offline’s chief executive officer, forecast that Three Girls Running, which will wholesale from $20 for Ts to $180 for blazers, will reach first-year sales of $5 million to $7 million.
Danenberg’s previous experience with her namesake label and Seven makes her a familiar face among buyers from department stores and boutiques. At the Brighte show that ended Monday, she said she received orders from two-dozen retailers, including Blue in Los Angeles, Q in Minneapolis and Sharon Segal’s boutique in the Fred Segal complex in Santa Monica, Calif. Also in the works are plans for a runway presentation showing the spring 2007 collection during fashion week in Los Angeles.
“We are not a newborn baby,” said Park, who before starting Offline in 2002 headed chemical company Industrial CholChem Inc. “We’ve got a solid company and a world-famous designer.”
Still, Danenberg is in a far different market compared with the Nineties.
“There’s a different landscape to the contemporary area now,” said Terence Bogan, vice president of women’s for Barneys Co-op in New York. “There are more players in the game … The quality level has gone up. The look of it is more clean, more designer-esque.”
Bogan, noting that Barneys had carried Danenberg and is open to stocking new brands, said that, while her name resonates with women who bought her eponymous label, it may have a hollow ring for younger shoppers.
Danenberg said her goal is to modernize her signature look of well-fitting trousers and sexy tops, as exemplified by military-style trousers in matte sateen and a black ribbon-trimmed sweatshirt with a wide neckline that can be pulled off the shoulders.
As for the label’s name, Danenberg said Offline chose Three Girls Running in tribute to herself and her two daughters, ages seven and 13. The name also is a nod to the active, youthful customer Offline covets. Though the core customer base is 20- to 40-year-old women, Danenberg said her 13-year-old also can wear the clothes.
“That’s the way the markets are going — mothers and daughters wearing the same clothes,” Danenberg said. “It’s cost-effective. We’re both going to wear this line.”