NEW YORK — U.S. Design Group is looking to capture a piece of the moderate junior denim market with Z Co., a new line launched during Los Angeles market week.

Charles Jebara, a principal of U.S. Design, which makes Request Jeans in the U.S., conceded there is no shortage of companies manufacturing denim at moderate price points.

“I don’t think it’s underserved,” Jebara said. “We’re trying to enhance this category by offering better quality, a new brand and something that is tastefully styled and designed.”

Work on the line began six to eight months ago, Jebara said. The inaugural collection features 10 styles of denim bottoms available in six washes, wholesaling for $12 to $17.

Jebara said the line has received a strong response from small independent retailers interested in cleaner looks, although there is still opportunity for embellished styles.

“If you have the right type of embellishment, you can hit a home run,” Jebara said. “Anything embellished with stone, sequins or studs has done well.”

Although the company has spoken with several large retail chains about picking up the line, Jebara isn’t interested in flooding the market.

“I would prefer to go deep with only a couple of different retailers to maintain exclusivity,” he said.

The firm plans to expand the collection to include culottes, capris and crops featuring special washes and back-pocket designs. Cropped jackets, vests and boleros, as well as knit hoodies, are also slated for introduction. This portion of the line will retail for $38 to $52, with plus sizes and a young men’s line bowing next fall.

This story first appeared in the October 27, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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