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WWD News: Levi’s Fetes 75th Anniversary of First Women’s Jeans, Junior Brands Head to School, Ron Arad’s New Creation, New Denim Players See Opportunity


 

Levi’s Fetes 75th Anniversary of First Women’s Jeans

by ROSS TUCKER

From WWD ISSUE 09/17/2009

 

levis1Levi Strauss & Co. is celebrating another milestone this fall ??” the 75th anniversary of its introduction of the first women??™s jeans. 

The San Francisco-based denim giant introduced Lady Levi??™s to the world during the fall of 1934 with the 701 style. The initial target market was women of the West, who were more likely to be engaging in regular outdoor activities or working as ranchers, and had been making due with wearing men??™s 501s. It??™s a story the company believes deserves more attention. 

???People don??™t know the women??™s Levi??™s story as well as they know the men??™s story,??? said Lynn Downey, the company??™s historian. 

???I think the Levi??™s brand has always been known to be a men??™s wear jean,??? said You Nguyen, senior vice president and creative director for the Levi??™s brand. ???We sort of take for granted that it??™s men??™s wear until we dig back into the archives. We were the first brand to really create a jean for her.??? 

Click here to read the full article

 

Junior Brands Head to School

by JULEE KAPLAN

From WWD ISSUE 09/17/2009

 

junior-brandIt used to be just the star athletes who brands wanted to recruit in high school. Now it??™s the trendy kids, too. 

From denim to designer, fashion labels are looking at a new frontier for marketing: high schools. Their aim is to outfit the trendiest kids in class in hopes their peers will imitate their wardrobes. Think of it as ???Gossip Girl,??? real time.

???It??™s no longer enough to have a celebrity wearing your clothes ??” it??™s time for us to look at new ways to reach and engage the consumer,??? said Deke Jamison, executive vice president of licensing at YMI Jeanswear, a nine-year-old Los Angeles-based junior sportswear company. ???It??™s about making sure that the kid is actively involved in the brand through new marketing efforts.??? 

So beyond Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networks, fashion labels are adjusting their budgets from spending large numbers on more traditional print advertising and going directly to high schools and college campuses as a stomping ground for marketing initiatives. Junior labels in particular are looking at marketing to students in nontraditional ways ??” forgoing the banners and billboards in favor of more behind-the-scenes actions. Others are looking at partnering with particular schools, working together to benefit the schools, students and the brand. Multibillion-dollar brands like Pepsi and Toyota have been marketing in schools for years ??” with banners at sporting events or at various other on-campus activities ??” and now fashion brands are as well. 

Click here to read the full article

 

Ron Arad’s New Creation

by WWD Staff

From WWD ISSUE 09/17/2009

 

ron-arads-new-creationAn arty crowd streamed into the Museum of Modern Art Tuesday night to celebrate the opening of a show from a different kind of designer: the iconic Ron Arad. He is better known for his circular chairs and spiraling book cases than anything wearable??”until now that is.

 In collaboration with the evening??™s hosts, Notify Jeans owner Maurice Ohayon and supermodel Linda Evangelista, Arad has created a purse (which Evangelista proudly modeled). ???I just wanted, like, one of his chairs to carry,??? said the model, a design junkie who had initially been approached by Ohayan to help create an accessory. ???But I said the world doesn??™t need another handbag, unless it??™s something special.???

 True that, so Arad??™s name came up. ???I threw Ron??™s name our there, never thinking he would accept it,??? said Evangelista. ???It was a long shot.??? Not many bags end up on pedestals in MoMA, so everyone must be pleased with the results.

 Among Arad??™s many other fans who showed up to congratulate him and tour the exhibit included Mary J Blige, Ines de la Fressange, David Byrne and designers Behnaz Sarafpour and Richard Chai.

A busy Josh Hartnett stopped by with friends, in between Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld??™s exhibit and his late dinner at Indochine. ???I??™m heading to Australia next week and then Korea,??? said Hartnett, who is trying to lay low this fashion week and was taking a party break in the museum??™s garden.

Inside, guests were clamoring for the food, done by chef Daniel Boulud. Even the models were scarfing treats like scallops with foie gras and truffle, and sausages and grits.  ???Incroyable, Incroyable,??? said a chuffed Boulud as he watched one twiglike figure cleaning her plate.

 

New Denim Players See Opportunity

by ROSS TUCKER with contributions from Khanh T.L. Tran

From WWD ISSUE 09/17/2009

 

rockstar-sushiDespite challenging economic conditions, brands entering the denim market are finding retailers hungry for new product and a bit more confident about business prospects. 

Those launching lines now, amid the first tentative steps out of the recession, might be catching things on the way up. Although expectations are tempered by a heavier dose of realism as a result of the global downturn, the recent round of trade shows in Las Vegas have left new brands feeling there??™s still much opportunity in the market. 

Frank Mechaly found success in the premium market with the 575 Denim label. However, three years in a legal battle with Levi Strauss & Co. over the label??™s name eventually forced him to start a new brand. By the time he began presenting his latest label, Rockstar Sushi, in December, global economic conditions were disastrous. 

???I felt at the time that because of the economy the consumer would change their habits,??? Mechaly said. ???They won??™t completely stop buying product, but my thought was that they would drastically change their buying habits.??? 

Mechaly believed there was little difference in the premium lines on the market. Brands tended to use the same fabrics and same laundry facilities, resulting in a sea of five-pocket premium jeans retailing for $200 with the main difference in the labels, embroidery, stitching or other minor detail. Rather than target a lower price range, Mechaly opted to go to the higher end with Rockstar Sushi and offer a fashion denim retailing for $220. 

The strategy seems to have worked, although Mechaly admits that volume has not been eye popping. The line is being carried by retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Atrium, DNA2050 and Kitson. 

???What we used to have before was, well, we were all living in la la land,??? he said. ???I think we went back to reality. I feel every day that things are getting so much better. I??™m not saying that the crisis is over, but I think at least the worst is behind.??? 

Conditions also forced Mechaly to become more flexible and work closer with his clients. More time is spent on customer service and finding alternative payment structures to enable him to continue working with certain retailers. 

There??™s little doubt that lower prices are enticing retail buyers. Daniella Siri started Recession Denim in April and has gotten the line into more than 60 stores, including Bloomingdale??™s, with retail prices of $80 to $100. She??™s had little trouble getting meetings with store buyers and believes the price for the level of quality she??™s providing is hitting the right chord. 

???I sensed that I was providing [buyers] with something that was very necessary,??? Siri said. ???Everybody said, ???Wow, I like this. This is what we need right now.??™ Some people might complain that times are tough. For me, coming in at this time, I don??™t know anything else, but I definitely think there??™s opportunity out there.??? 

The Vintage Revolution line is the product of Jos?© Juan Marcos Gonz??lez, whose Mexican factory produces denim for brands such as Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren and Lucky Brand, and designer Christine Rucci. The line??™s retail prices range from $77 to $125. Gonz??lez believes the pricing strategy, combined with his background in washing and production, make it an ideal time to enter the market. 

Click here to read the full article

 

–Nikki Cho Russo

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Posted Sep 17 2009 in Uncategorized
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