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Odyn’s Tale

While Emmy Lauridsen was designing a denim collection for the contemporary label Dollhouse, she longed to create a high-end denim line infused with a part of her heritage.

“I wanted to create a line with various themes,” said Lauridsen, who was born in Denmark but now lives in New York’s East Village. “I wanted to do something Nordic involving fairy tales and stories.”

The result was Odyn, chosen by Lauridsen because it’s the name of the Nordic god of poetry.

“Odyn is the god of gentle power,” she said, noting that typically, Odyn is spelled Odin, but, “We didn’t want to be too authentic about the name. Odyn is more playful.”

There are six cuts, each given names such as Thumbelina, a low-rise, tight style; The Princess, a straight-legged cut, and Matchgirl, a classic boot cut.

“The names of each style are all very inspired by Hans Christian Andersen,” Lauridsen said.

The removable tag stitched into the back pocket has a corresponding fairy-tale drawing, an ode to Denmark and a mention of the god for which the line is named. The line’s slogan is “denim with a story.”

Odyn and Dollhouse are owned by BBC Apparel. Lauridsen expects the line to generate about $5 million in wholesale volume in its first year.

After Lauridsen resigned from Dollhouse last year to start the new line, Kim Locatel replaced her as creative director.

“There’s so much denim out there right now, so I don’t want to overwhelm people,” Lauridsen said. “We have eight washes and six styles, including one fashion style that will always change. I want the people who wear Odyn to be very selective about what they’re wearing.”

Lauridsen said Odyn will debut in specialty boutiques at the end of February. The line wholesales for $48 to $58.

Besides taking inspiration from her homeland, Lauridsen now looks to her melting-pot neighborhood.

“The East Village is such a culturally rich area,” she said. “I feel right at home. In fact, I’ve met several Scandinavians in the neighborhood.”

This story first appeared in the October 14, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

While the line hasn’t hit shelves yet, Lauridsen said, “Next season, I’m thinking of doing something nondenim, maybe leather jackets.” — Lauren DeCarlo

Innovo Posts a Profit

Innovo Group Inc., the Commerce, Calif.-based denim maker, posted net income of $2 million, or 7 cents a diluted share, for the quarter ended Aug. 28. The profit compares with a loss of $2.3 million, or 14 cent a share, a year earlier. Sales were $41.1 million, up 87.7 percent from $21.9 million a year earlier.

Chief executive officer Jay Furrow said in a statement that the performance “reflects the ongoing implementation of our strategic plan to focus and maximize our core denim and denim-related apparel operations.”

Apparel represented the bulk of sales: $36.1 million for the quarter, contributing operating income of $3.8 million. This included the Joe’s Jeans brand and private label jeans.

The firm also produces accessories and some crafts products, ventures that it has been “reevaluating,” according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. Innovo also produces licensed Betsey Johnson apparel and a new sportswear line called Indie that rolled out for fall retailing.

The firm attributed much of its volume increase to private label sales to retailers, including American Eagle Outfitters, Kmart Corp. and Target Corp. It added that better margins came from improving economies of scale as the firm ramped up production in the quarter.

Innovo entered the apparel business in 2001 with the licensing of the Joe’s brand from Azteca Production International, an apparel firm controlled by Paul Guez. Today, brothers Paul and Hubert Guez personally and through investment vehicles control in excess of 40 percent of Innovo’s common stock.

For the nine months, Innovo recorded a $9.7 million net loss, which worked out to 35 cents a diluted share. That compared with a $2.5 million loss, worth 16 cents a share, a year-ago. Sales for the period were up 91.5 percent to $87.7 million from $45.8 million. — Scott Malone

Ferreira Joins Miss Vigoss

The growing junior moderate-priced jeans brand Miss Vigoss has added former Mudd sales executive Jeff Ferreira to its sales staff.

He reports to David Kubresi, principal of the New York-based company, whose employees are not assigned titles. Miss Vigoss also produces the Anoname children’s brand.

Ferreira, 43, said the two-year-old brand is trying to boost its sales to traditional department-store chains.

The firm’s signature products are stretch, boot-cut, low-rise jeans that feature an embroidered V on the rear pocket. Ferreira said the firm is contemplating dropping the “Miss” from its brand name. — S.M.

Neema Lands Da’mage Line

Neema Worldwide now has the jeans to wear with its chalk-stripe navy blue suits.

Jim Ammeen, Neema’s chairman, has acquired the assets of Jean Paul Da’mage Inc. for an undisclosed amount and formed a partnership, Neema and Co. LLC, with its principals, David Long, Jean Van De Wiel and Jeff Schaefer, to market the premium denim brand.

Da’mage joins Neema’s other properties, including Halston LLC and a number of other labels such as Bill Blass and Haspel. The new men’s jeans company, which has hit a sales volume in the neighborhood of $8 million to $10 million after two and a half years in business, will get operational expertise from its new parent, according to Ammeen.

He added that the Charlotte, N.C.-based Da’mage executive team will continue to operate the company on an ongoing basis. Van De Wiel is the creative force, with Long directing the marketing and Schaefer heading the administrative end.

Da’mage men’s jeans target the 24- to 38-year-old customer and come in three fits and 14 washes. They’re made in several lightweight double ring-spun Italian denims and are manufactured in Georgia. They retail from $169 to $578.

A women’s Da’mage jeans line targeting a similar age group was introduced this fall for spring selling.

The men’s jeans are currently distributed in some 300 doors, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Fred Segal.

Named the official jean of the Grammy Awards show in March, Da’mage has become the jean of choice for celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Antonio Sabatos and the Maroon 5 rock group.

Discussing his association with the hip jeans maker, Ammeen noted, “Neema’s involvement will help them achieve their goals to become a major player in the premium jeans market. I’m projecting a double-digit volume this coming year. This new venture was a great opportunity for me to get into still another business.” — Stan Gellers