A few fresh faces exhibiting throughout this week’s plethora of trade shows.
X by Gottex
Swimwear giant Gottex aims to make a splash in ath-leisure.
Fifty-eight years after its founding, the New York-based brand is merging activewear and sportswear into a new women’s label called X by Gottex.
While the flagship business designed by Keren Gasner is popular with women in their 40s and 50s, X by Gottex is geared for a younger customer who effortlessly tosses a blazer over leggings.
Designed by Qing Huang, a 26-year-old who worked for Me&City in his native China before graduating from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and honing his skills at Ohne Titel, the offshoot is making its debut at ENK Vegas in booth 28133 with jumpsuits, jackets, leggings, T-shirts and sweatshirts inspired by, in the designer’s words, “colorful movement.”
Sharing prints with the swim side, X by Gottex applies waves, geometric shapes and gradient shading to a palette of cobalt blue, black, white, mint green, red and orange.
French terry cloth and a stretch polyester jersey that is often used in activewear offset 3-D mesh. Huang manifests his motif for movement in curved seams. For instance, a French terry jumpsuit is enhanced with an arched mesh panel above the bust.
“We are trying to build a brand inspired by athletics,” he said. “We want to express the style and the look in a contemporary sportswear way.”
Following the fall inaugural collection that was picked up by Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters and Carbon38, X by Gottex hopes the sophomore lineup for spring will pave a way to retailers such as Barneys New York, Intermix and Bloomingdale’s in the U.S., and also to foreign markets in Russia and South America. Retail prices range from $70 to $200. Huang pegs first-year sales at $20 million.
“They can wear it to work, they can wear it to hang out on the weekend,” Huang said of the sporty separates. “It’s like a new lifestyle for the modern customer.”
— Khanh T.L. Tran
Baldwin Denim is heading to the desert with what it dubs its “cool core.”
Introducing its women’s line in Las Vegas at the Tents @ Project (booth 214), the Kansas City, Mo.-based jeans brand defines “cool core” as core products with a cool factor, namely, things that women turn to when they get dressed every day. Those could be jogger styles in sueded microfiber with water-wicking capabilities, brushed twill utility pants designed with pockets for subway tickets and cell phones, or boy-fit jeans with tapered ankles.
“I want to be one of three pairs of jeans in a woman’s closet that is her absolute go-to,” said Matt Baldwin, a retailer-turned-designer who started the namesake men’s brand with his wife, Emily, in 2009 and introduced the women’s component four years later. “I really want to build a solid business in the denim industry.”
These days, the denim market also expects sportswear. To that end, Baldwin is borrowing a bit from men’s closets for its oversize crewneck pullovers in Merino and yak wool for women. A French translation for “museum of modern art” and photographs of basketball hoops and intriguing edifices in Los Angeles and New York transform a simple top into a “mature graphic T-shirt that doesn’t read “young” but reads “right and relevant,” he said.
Black, white, navy and gray build the palette for tops and pants, while the denim washes include vintage treatments. Retailing from $150 to $400, all the products are made in the U.S.
“I have such a long-term view of how I want to build the brand,” said Baldwin, declining to disclose sales for the privately held company. “It’s about putting out the highest quality.”
— Khanh T.L. Tran
According to Laer founder Jerrod Cornish, his year-old edgy, contemporary line is a “big burden” off his shoulders.
After overseeing a 30,000-square-foot factory and 75 employees for six years that produced for myriad denim companies, from Gap to Lucky Brand, Cornish was ready to turn the spotlight on a brand of his own.
“Actual production is not for the faint of heart,” said Cornish, who also was a cofounder of Corpus, which operated for seven years. “I felt like I was getting bogged down for everyone else and wanted to get back to my design roots.”
Now based out of a smaller 8,000-square-foot factory with 50 sewing machines, Cornish is keeping it vertical and local to maintain control — but now he’s doing it for himself. He projects he will finish his first year with $750,000 in sales.
Laer, which also offers a men’s line, started out with leather moto jackets, then added denim and shirts, a continuation to be seen at Liberty (booth 137). Styles will include cropped bombers, cropped jackets that fit more like boleros and modern-looking Formula One jacket renditions. Skinny jeans in clean finishes are still key, along with some baggier, shredded styles. Novel details like leather in the side seams or leather coin pockets finish the looks, which are meant to be paired with Laer’s Modal tissue jersey cropped tanks and cropped boxy T-shirts.
“We’re not doing much back-pocket stitching,” Cornish said. “We don’t want to overbrand the denim. It’s more about fit and fabric and feel.”
The line touts the quality of its fabrics. Leathers are Italian, most of the denim and jersey are sourced domestically, which helps maintain pricing. Jeans wholesale from $60 to $80, knit shirts are $32 to $40 and the leather jackets run from $325 to $500. The approach has landed him in stores such as American Rag and The Rising States in New York.
“There’s a [need] for good leather,” Cornissaid. “We can make it accessible.
— Nola Sarkisian-Miller
Dom Streater, last year’s “Project Runway” season 12 winner, is taking the next step in building a business: She’s attending WWDMAGIC for the first time.
Her namesake contemporary line, which has sales of $500,000, offers 25 pieces for spring inspired by her trip last year to Los Angeles, a first for the Philadelphia-based designer. Her many sky-high photos capturing the changing terrain of the two coasts influenced the direction of the collection.
“I’m celebrating the luxury of air travel and seeing the world from the sky and the beauty in it,” Streater said.
The collection includes a mix of dresses for day, work and cocktail hour; trenchcoats; shirtdresses, and evening gowns. Fabrics are edited to a mix of organic cotton and silks in a palette of black and white, wisteria, carmine red and tropical green.
Streater, showing as part of the Emerging Designers section (booth 60000) aims to appeal to women’s need for easy, go-to dressing with a common thread of luxury. Shirtdresses in marbleized prints detailed with oversize Seventies collars and invisible button plackets raise the style quotient. Reversible trenchcoats printed on both sides appeal to pricing sensitivities while still staying high-end, she said. Dress straps have silver hardware and trenchcoats feature thick silver zippers. Wholesale prices range from $85 to $400.
“We’re offering what a woman wants in different areas of her life,” Streater said. “These are investment pieces that she will see as works of art and keep for a long time.”
L’Space by Monica Wise
L’Space by Monica Wise is stepping up its game. The 13-year-old swimwear brand is launching a shoe line called L’Space by Cocobelle following its plunge into the apparel market about two years ago.
“The biggest thing is that we’re a swimwear company, but as our consumer grows…it was natural to give her a brand extension,” said Monica Wise, founder and creative director of the Irvine, Calif.-based company.
Crafted from Italian leathers, the Bali-made line of sandals feature fringe details in slip-on, T-strap and coiled wrap styles in colors such as black, navy and gold.
Showcasing its cruise-spring line at WWDMAGIC (booth 73125), L’Space will present swim looks in strappy cutout styles with back interest and crochet details — all the more difficult to achieve given the skimpier trends in swimwear.
“Swimsuits are shrinking,” Wise said. “Lingerie is a big influence as we take the bralette into swimwear.” The apparel line reflects a “beach-to-bar” vibe with maxidresses, beach pants, cover-ups and the addition of beach sweaters designed to work with the swimsuit. Key styles are shoulder-strap dresses, baby-doll styles and maxidresses with crocheted backs, drawstring pants and sweaters made of cotton with acrylic blends in open-weave styles for layering and an unstructured feel.
“Girls love to throw on a sweater at the end of a beach day,” Wise said. “They can layer them with leggings and booties. It’s about creating easy travel pieces.”
Wholesale prices average $34 for swimsuit tops and bottoms, $42 to $82 for apparel and $47 for the shoes.