In today’s WWD I’ve posted relevant denim stories, but one honorable mention that I had to include was Hello Kitty turning 35. Always the master of extraordinary vision is Linda Farrow who designed an adorable sunglass for Hello Kitty. I must have it!
Happy reading my Denim Therapy friends!
–Nikki Cho Russo
HUT, HUT, HIKE: Wrangler couldn??™t have timed it better when it comes to Brett Favre. The news of the 39-year-old quarterback joining the Minnesota Vikings comes just as Wrangler is unveiling a new fall ad campaign for its Five Star Premium Denim label, featuring Favre.
???For Wrangler, whatever Brett??™s decision is on whether or not to retire doesn??™t matter to us either way,??? said Jenni Broyles, senior marketing communications manager for Wrangler??™s mass business. ???Brett makes a great spokesperson for Wrangler because he truly is a Wrangler guy and lives the Wrangler lifestyle. Our partnership is effective because it??™s based on this sincere connection to the Wrangler consumer and his career decisions are not changing that.???
The new campaign, which features the theme ???You Can Count on Wrangler: Comfort, Quality, Value,??? includes television, print, radio and online components. The first television ads break this week. Along with a campaign for the Wrangler Jeans Co. label, featuring NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., Wrangler expects to make 3.4 billion media impressions this fall.
Vegas Preview: Capsule Time
London designers Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins have been designing wearable yet distinctive clothes for 14 years under their label YMC, which stands for You Must Create. The label has gained a following for its minimalist spins on trends, and has been compared with Helmut Lang or APC, but with lower prices. Now it??™s even more affordable, offering a secondary range of basics called, aptly, YMC Basic, which retails for $40 to $120. It includes polos, shorts, pullovers and cardigans.
ACNE POP CLASSICS
Acne??™s secondary line is making its U.S. trade show debut at Capsule. The line has started to reflect the theme of the main collection, which this season is a story about a boy and a girl who find their parents??™ ???Harvest Moon??? record by Neil Young. But the Pop Classics prices are lower than Acne??™s, for the younger brother of the Acne consumer. (The sister, too, as the company is also launching its first full women??™s collection.)
Austin Sherbanenko designs Odyn Vovk, which means ???One Wolf??? in Ukrainian. His work reflects his youth and anything that sparks his curiosity. For spring, his third season, he was inspired by past events evoking dirt-ridden streets, industrial landscapes and sounds of music. Sherbanenko is planning a runway show for the upcoming New York Fashion Week. At Capsule, the company will be showcasing its OV line, which centers around basics at lower price points. Among the offerings will be knitwear, T-shirts, leggings and items constructed from hemp. Wholesale prices range from $45 to $115.
Vegas Preview: Reinventions and Returns at ENK
From WWD ISSUE 08/20/2009
Fred Perry (Photo by Courtesy Photo)
At Fred Perry, it??™s all about the racket sport as the core Authentics collection embraces tennis influences for spring.
???We really went back to our heritage and a clean, unfussy, pure and timeless aesthetic for this collection,??? said John Young, U.S. country manager for the British-based brand, which was founded in 1952. ???We have a lot of great whites, of course, but also tartan swimwear and woven shirts, which look great with shorts or white jeans.???
The brand??™s signature tipped polos come in 36 different colors, including bold pinks, bright blues and vivid yellow, available in both classic and slim fits. Polos, at $74 retail, comprise almost 25 percent of the brand??™s U.S. business, with track jackets, at $89.50, contributing another 15 percent.
The brand is sold in about 140 U.S. doors, leaving it a lot of room to grow, said Young, especially in comparison with a brand like Lacoste. ???We??™ve been a niche brand that??™s been under the radar, so we??™re actually seeing growth, even during these tough times,??? he added.
Also at ENK will be the brand??™s upscale Laurel label, which is priced about 20 percent higher than Authentics and sold in about 20 luxury retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Ron Robinson. The collection is made in Europe, versus China for the lower-priced line, and features dressy fabrics and sober color palettes such as chocolate, navy and mahogany.
Similarly, the company??™s six-season deal for the fashion-forward Fred Perry by Raf Simons line ??” think orange slim-fit shorts ??” is sold in about the same number of exclusive doors, including Neiman Marcus and Opening Ceremony.
Fred Perry, which is owned by Japan??™s Hit Union Co., opened its first U.S. store in New York??™s SoHo in February. The company is looking for a NoLIta location for its Laurel collection.
A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz (Photo by Courtesy Photo)
A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz
After nearly two years out of the marketplace, designer Allen Schwartz is returning to the men??™s wear arena for spring. At the ENK Vegas show, look for the A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz label??™s laid-back approach to West Coast style, with classic designs gussied up with contemporary fashion details.
???These are the essentials of a man??™s wardrobe, with close attention to detail,??? said Matthew Klein, director of sales and merchandising at the company, which is headquartered in Los Angeles but conducts sales out of New York. ???I think guys today aren??™t looking for trends or fads, but pieces that offer longevity.???
Bloomingdale??™s already has picked up the brand for spring in nine doors, and Klein ??” who is a former partner in the now-defunct Trafic trade show and was a co-founder of the Carp?© men??™s label ??” is looking to grow the brand in specialty store accounts. Denim jeans, twill shorts, jersey knit polos, chambray and oxford cloth shirts are among the key offerings for spring. Stenciled chest pockets, epaulets and contrast plackets on shirts are some of the defining design elements in the debut collection.
With the entire collection made in the U.S., wovens will retail from $145 to $165; polos, for $125; twill bottoms, for $198; shorts, for $185, and denim, for $205. There are about 35 pieces in two spring deliveries, with various colorways bringing the total number of styles available to about 50.
Schwartz sold men??™s under his Allen B. label for three years, before it was discontinued and became a women??™s-only brand exclusive to J.C. Penney.
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Odin Owners Continue to Expand Their Reach
From WWD ISSUE 08/20/2009
Eddy Chai and Paul Birardi of Odin (Photo: Melissa Hom)
The owners of Odin, the influential Manhattan men??™s boutiques, are spreading their wings with projects, including a third Odin location, Odin fragrances, a consulting business, and a contemporary label they are launching in collaboration with Duckie Brown.
Owners Edward Chai and Paul Birardi are also undergoing a downtown real estate shuffle that involves absorbing Den, their rotating single-brand concept, into the Odin flagship on Lafayette Street, while Oliver Spencer moves from the West Village into the old Den space on East 11th Street, and a third Odin launches in the old Oliver Spencer space. (Chai and Birardi are investors in Oliver Spencer as well.)
Den, which has featured a string of emerging brands such as Tim Hamilton and Engineered Garments, will have a clearly defined space and separate entrance on Lafayette. The next brand to be showcased there will be Nice Collective.
The third Odin, opening in early September, will have 600 square feet at Greenwich Street and West 11th Street, and extends the chain to five units, including Den and women??™s store Pas de Deux, which Chai and Birardi opened last year.
???It??™ll have the same feel as on Lafayette, while incorporating the neighborhood charm,??? said Chai.
The original Odin landed on East 11th in 2004, and grew fast from a neighborhood favorite to an international men??™s wear destination. Last year, a vendor survey found Odin to be the third most influential men??™s store in America after Barneys New York and Fred Segal.
???Eddy and Paul are incredibly talented, because they??™ve turned Odin into this very visible store in terms of fashion, and they obviously know what they??™re doing, because they continue to do well,??? said Daniel Silver of Duckie Brown.
As a result, Chai and Birardi have formed a consulting firm called Foundry NYC with beauty entrepreneurs Kelly Kovack, co-founder of Rescue, and Larry Paul, co-founder of Sharps. The firm will advise clients on design, merchandising, store concepts, branding, financial strategy and more.
The inaugural project for this group was the creation of Odin fragrances ??” three unisex scents, which will retail for $110 a bottle, starting in October.
But Chai and Birardi say Den, their rotating single-brand store, was the catalyst to becoming consultants.
???Really, when we were doing Den, what we offered designers ??” if they wanted it ??” was information on how sales were going, who was buying what, sales trends, missed opportunities,??? and designers were using the space as a lab for developing their own retail concepts, new categories and other projects, said Birardi. ???So Den was evolving to become what we??™re doing with Foundry.???
Chai and Birardi are also collaborating with Duckie Brown designers Daniel Silver and Steven Cox on a classic collection called Edward, which will launch exclusively in Odin stores at contemporary prices.
???We??™ve sold Duckie Brown for four seasons and we carry their Florsheim footwear now,??? said Birardi. ???It??™s really resonating with our customers. We all really get along. And Edward started from a conversation with them about what we felt was missing from the store.???
They dubbed it Edward because each of the four claimed a family member with that name and felt it sounded distinguished.
Cat Power: Hello Kitty Turns 35
From WWD ISSUE 08/20/2009
Linda Farrow Sunglasses (Photo by Courtesy Photos)
TOKYO ??” Japan??™s most fashionable feline is gearing up to mark her 35th birthday this fall with a long list of special products and festivities.
Sanrio, the parent company of the Hello Kitty brand, is planning to fete the cartoon cat??™s Nov. 1 birthday with a host of fashion-related products, from a one-of-a-kind gem-encrusted necklace to iPhone cases by Kimora Lee Simmons and limited edition Asics sneakers.
???We want to talk about the essence of Hello Kitty,??? explained Janet Hsu, the Los Angeles-based president of Sanrio global consumer products.
Les Bijoux de Sophie necklace (Photo by Courtesy Photo)
Hsu said Hello Kitty products rake in worldwide sales of more than $5 billion annually. ???A huge percentage of that is in the fashion category,??? she explained, adding the brand is seeing ???tremendous strength??? in fine jewelry. The company declined to break down sales by product category.
Over the years, Hello Kitty??™s image has graced almost every conceivable product, from scented erasers to Fender guitars. She has two theme parks in her native Japan and there is even a Hello Kitty-themed maternity hospital in Taiwan. At Sanrio headquarters in Tokyo, visitors sip Hello Kitty??™s own brand of green tea out of Hello Kitty cups as they sit in Hello Kitty chairs.
–Nikki Cho Russo
Tags: A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz, Acne Pop Classics, Fred Perry, Hello Kitty, Odin, Odyn Vovk, Wrangler, YMC