LOS ANGELES — Allen Schwartz, founder and designer of the contemporary women’s label based and manufactured here, is relaunching a men’s line called ABS Luxury Collection by Allen Schwartz for spring 2010.
This story first appeared in the May 28, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Schwartz had a men’s line under the Allen B. label for three years that was discontinued when the label, now solely a women’s line, became exclusive to J.C. Penney Co. Inc. a year and a half ago.
“I’ve been overwhelmed with requests to bring men’s wear back, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect,” said Schwartz, who has recently expanded his brand with lingerie and missy licenses.
The sportswear collection is based on denim, with knit tops woven shirts and jackets completing what Schwartz calls “the new uniform.”
“It’s casual contemporary sportswear with an edge,” he said. “Novelty is driving the business now because men, unlike women, need a reason to buy. There’s a quirky, whimsical feel, definitely not classic.”
The jeans come in two fits, “Average Joe” and “Slim Jim” with washes ranging from charcoal and overdyed indigo to light and antique, with novelty treatments such as dalmation and galaxy, which have a spotted look. Rivets and other signature hardware come in silver, gold and copper tones.
“I don’t think this customer wants a generic jean,” Schwartz said. “He wants a luxury look but doesn’t want to spend $400 on a jean.”
The denim ranges from $89 to $115 wholesale.
The knit tops, which wholesale from $59 to $69, include rayon-spandex striped polo shirts and V-neck tencel T-shirts, some with a “twofer” look, or the appearance of a striped T-shirt underneath the hem of the solid shirt.
The woven shirts, priced from $79 to $94, range from solid white and blue to plaids and checks and floral and ditzy prints. “There is definitely a lack of good color in men’s wear so this line will address that,” Schwartz said.
Details include stencil stitched pockets, contrasting buttons and cuffs, and back darts. The line closely mirrors the women’s collection because Schwartz said he gets his inspiration from women’s fashion.
“I’ve never looked to the men’s wear market for inspiration,” he said. “I look at what’s trending and whether it’s translatable to women’s.”
To that end, both collections feature easy blazers. The men’s versions, ranging from $135 to $170, include an unlined railroad-striped twill jacket and a vintage style white cotton shawl collar jacket with white satin piping.
“One of the hardest things to find out there are cool jackets and tops,” Schwartz said. “Every man wants a non-work jacket they can throw over an outfit.”
Schwartz said he wants to sell the line beginning in late November at boutiques such as Fred Segal, Theodore and H. Lorenzo, as well as Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. The core collection consists of 18 to 24 sku’s with eight to 10 new pieces added each month. First-year sales projections are $3 million to $4 million.