It’s go time as buyers and brands once again make the trip to Vegas to stock up on immediates and see what’s ahead. Here, a brief look at some of the brands that are either making their debut on the trade show floors or have a new story to tell retailers.
Creative Director: Micheline Ip
Show: Project Womens
Backstory: Plenty’s been going on behind the scenes at Bailey/44 for the past six months. The contemporary label has a new president in David Lazar with Micheline Ip tapped as the line’s creative director. Expect subtle injections of sophistication in the brand, which is looking to pirouette into a more diversified offering, while still sticking with the entry-level contemporary price points. Ip brings a decade of experience working at Vince and takes over the design mantle from cofounder Shelli Segal.
“It’s turning to more of a lifestyle [brand]. It’s more of a feeling and a younger vibe so it could be for somebody in their 20s. It could be for somebody in their 30s or 40s,” Ip said of who she’s designing for.
The first delivery with Ip’s work is July 30 with a sportswear-influenced collection set against a primary color backdrop, grounded with gray. There are more bottoms and jackets for greater mixing and matching opportunities. The September delivery sees more animal prints and polka dots rooted in dark reds, camel, black and white with holiday swinging the brand into more satin, sequins, lace and velvet.
“The foundation of Bailey was that classic, traditional look that they kind of tweaked. I came from a very classic, traditional background so that’s what I relate to,” Ip said. – Kari Hamanaka
Creative Director: Ya-el Torbati
Backstory: Contemporary denim styling at competitive pricing has been Unpublished’s angle and pitch to the market from the start. The women’s brand launched in 2017 with its spring collection taking vintage inspiration to create a denim line specifically aimed at the creative. That aesthetic continues for fall 2019 with “dusty indigos as well as beautifully washed down black denim that offer a fresh take on a Nineties aesthetic,” creative director Ya-el Torbati explained.
The company added what it’s calling a “sky-high waist” skinny jean to its lineup of skinny leg denim, plus added washes in its slim-fitting mom jeans they call “step-mom,” flares, cropped flares and wide-leg culottes. There are also cords, trucker jackets, miniskirts and coveralls for the season. The range wholesales from $32 to $52. – K.H.
Blanka the Label
Founder/Designer: Jennifer Stierwalt
Show: Project Womens
Backstory: Jennifer Stierwalt has a trained eye, one that’s been cultivated across several years working in retail.
She got her start working in boutiques in high school and college before making her way to Anthropologie and Free People, where she served as a visual merchandiser at the latter. When she relocated from New York to California, she started out as a merchandiser for Wendy Foster in Montecito but it wasn’t long before she opened her own store, Blanka Boutique, in the same city. From that multibrand shop, came the idea for Blanka the Label, a contemporary line filled with new twists on classic standbys. For Vegas, she’s bringing along two-tone sequin dusters and her version of “the boss” suit consisting of flat-front trousers with a long-line, single-breast blazer in a woven brocade and twill pinstripe.
“I’ll lend myself to the classic silhouettes that are timeless so it’s classy, retro feminine but also masculine — a fun juxtaposition of the modern female,” Stierwalt said.
When the fires hit Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and then later the mudslides in Montecito last January, Stierwalt decided it was time to pick up and move to Los Angeles. She took the aggregate of those events as a sign to push forward in building out her line and trying her hand at wholesale.
The Santa Monica-based brand sources and produces its pieces out of downtown with the line currently in four California stores.
“My intention with the brand is to inspire women to be bold and to live the life they want and hold nothing back. When I’m designing, I’m really channeling that energy,” Stierwalt said. “It’s whimsical, classy — a lot of different things I feel encompass many different women in me, from boho to boss to classy.” –K.H.
Creative director: Steven Alan
Backstory: It’s been 25 years since Alan opened his first store in New York City. Soon after, he created a collection of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear staples that became popular at both the company’s own stores as well as other retailers. At its peak, the company operated 23 stores across the U.S., had a robust wholesale operation, and employed in excess of 185 people.
But last spring, the rough retail environment and some bad internal decisions caused Alan to shutter his wholesale operations. Not long after, Jachs New York and its owner Hayati Banastey swooped in as a white knight to sign a licensing deal to revive the wholesale business. Under the terms of the deal, Jachs is managing the production, development, sales and distribution of Alan’s men’s and women’s sportswear. The rebooted collection will debut at Project and Alan continues to serve as creative director.
Because of the milestone anniversary, it’s not surprising that nostalgia is at the heart of the fall collection and Alan has embraced the bold colors, exaggerated logos, oversize fits and sporty colorblocking for the sportswear offering, a significant change from the more dressed-up aesthetic for which the brand had been known. “If you’re not moving forward, you’re not growing. It’s that simple,” Alan said.
Key pieces include brushed wool sweaters, oxfords in abstract prints, rugby shirts with banded collars, cropped trousers, pieced cocktail shirts and slouchy outerwear.
Prices include shirts that will retail for $178 to $248, pants from $198 to $228, knits from $78 to $228, outerwear from $278 to $598 and cashmere accessories from $128 to $198. — Jean E. Palmieri
Creative Director: Chris Powell
Backstory: Powell, who has a background in print and graphic work, started Lerds, which combines lames and nerds, as a way to target kids in the streetwear community who he believes are underrepresented. To reach that audience Powell opens pop-up stores at high schools selling his brightly colored hoodies and T-shirts with pencil and lip graphics. Powell doesn’t currently wholesale, but he’s hoping to start. At Agenda he will preview the first Lerds sneaker and a few cut-and-sew items they’ve yet to show. The line retails from $25 to $55. — Aria Hughes
Creative Director: Jeff and Greg Hladky
Backstory: The Hladky brothers wanted to create a men’s swimwear line that was sustainable and eco-friendly, but still stylish, so they launched Everest Isles. They do this by manufacturing the collection in New York City, in order to maintain a small ecological footprint, and constructing the line with technical fabrics such as recycled Kevlar and Econyl, which is 100 percent regenerated nylon fiber. The swim trunks are also finished with Marine-grade, stainless steel hardware and yachting cordage that helps them withstand exposure to salt water and chlorine. The collection, which is sold at retailers including Mohawk General Store, SSENSE, and Kith Miami, retails from $125 and $195 for swim trunks and $75 to $185 for shirting.
For the fall 2019 collection, they’ve partnered with Belgian designer Franky Claeys, who started out in fashion as chief graphic designer for Raf Simons at Calvin Klein and Dior, on prints and graphics inspired by bunker fuel, which is used to power ships that carry product over the ocean in large container ships. — A.H.
Creative Director: Steffy Neceva
Backstory: Richard Singh, Steffy Neceva, Tom Holmes run this men’s brand, which was started in an attempt to bring manufacturing back to the U.K. Ninety percent of the outerwear and knitwear is made in U.K. The line is made up of classic yet modern pieces targeting a 25-to-35-year-old guy who has started work and has more disposable income. The collection also has a charitable tie-in — each season proceeds from sales go toward a charity the brand chooses — last season it was an all-girls school in rural India. The collection retails from $55 for a shirt to $450 for a coat.
For fall 2019, the team is working with new fabrics including Japanese, vegetable-dyed fabrics. They will also showcase a new program for lambswool knitwear that’s produced in the U.K. The collection is currently sold at retailers including Nordstrom, John Lewis and Beams, but they are hoping to expand wholesale in U.S. and Asia along with Australia and Scandinavia. — A.H.