ATLANTA — Like most Super Shows, this one was brimming with new lines and new fashion trends.
One of the biggest draws was Speedo’s new line of Olympic swimwear. The license agreement was announced last week, and Linda J. Wachner, chairman of Authentic Fitness Corp., which produces Speedo, was at the show to help with the debut. The line is set for May delivery and includes women’s and men’s swimwear, nylon outerwear and water shoes. Wholesale prices range from $10 to $75. Wachner predicted the line will generate $50 million in sales over the next three years.
Norma Kamali’s new line, OMO Gym, also attracted a lot of attention, especially after people learned the designer was at the show. Kamali is taking on the sporting market aggressively with a collection ranging from skiwear to swimwear.
“Activewear is the direction of fashion today,” she said. “The clothes that function and work are in sporting goods stores, and I want to be part of it.”
Kamali is producing the line in-house and is targeting sporting goods stores. She said she priced the collection to be competitive in that market. Wholesale prices range from $20 to $130.
Crunch, the trendy New York gym, is getting deeper into the action with the debut of Crunch Gear, a line of women’s exercise apparel. The line, Crunch’s third licensing arrangement, is designed by Camille Evans and produced by Fashion Trend International, a Cockeysville, Md.-based manufacturer. Doug Levine, president of Crunch, said bodywear was a needed addition to the stable of apparel licenses, which includes sportswear and T-shirts.
Seymour Oshatz, president of Fashion Trend, said, “We’re positioning Crunch as a bold line, with strong graphics and silhouettes.”
Items include a red crop top and brief with men’s white underwear trim, and a black short unitard with racing stripes. The line wholesales from $10 to $17. Oshatz is projecting first-year sales at $3 million to $5 million. He said he feels there is still room in the bodywear field for new lines. “Sophisticated bodywear that crosses over into streetwear is something that the market still needs,” he said.
Love/40, New York, a new tennis apparel company, thinks there is a need for simple classic clothing in the tennis world.”Everything out there has a brand name all over it or is polyester or Lycra spandex. What we’re offering is a clean cotton collection,” said Tara Siegel, general sales manager.
The 30-piece line includes cotton pique tennis dresses and ball jackets with roomy pockets. The company also has tennis panties with pockets in the back for tennis balls. The line wholesales from $10 to $39. The company is targeting tennis shops and clubs and is projecting first-year sales at $1 million to $2 million.
Kimberly Wattson, president of By Kimberly, an 11-month-old Los Angeles company, saw a niche for sport bras for large-busted women. The bras, which are under the label By Kimberly, incorporate lingerie construction and have underwires for support. The line made its debut in March. For the Super Show, Wattson expanded the concept with a line of bodywear called Wirewear by Kimberly, which incorporates the same concept.
Wattson said she was surprised to actually do some booking at the show and is going home with more than $4,000 in orders and 10 new accounts. She is predicting a total of $4 million in sales from the two lines next year.
Miami-based Softouch designed its new EPIC line with ecologically correct fashion in mind. EPIC stands for Environmental Protection International Club, and the line is made from natural undyed cottons and vegetable-dyed cottons. The company is also using recycled paper hangtags and packaging.
The line — which includes bodywear as well as T-shirts, tank tops and sweatshirts — will be displayed stacked, not on plastic hangers.
Marilyn de Martini, marketing director, said, “The earth colors we’re using are popular in fashion right now, and the line has emotional appeal. It will appeal not only to activists, but to active people.”
Clint Vail, national sales manager for Softouch, said other fashion trends in bodywear included contrast stitching and overstitching, sweetheart necklines and the mixing of textures on one garment or on coordinating garments. He also said crossover dressing — activewear with a sportswear look — continues to grow. “Women want to be able to go out in comfortable clothing without looking like they are in their sweats,” he said.
Monica Greco, marketing director for Eurotard, an Atlanta bodywear manufacturer, agreed sweetheart necklines are big. She also pointed to a new fabric the firm is showing called Eurosoft, a four-way stretch velour. “It’s part of the street influence — it’s got a funky edge,” said Greco. “That’s where the customers are coming from.”