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WWD News: J Brand Launches Duarte Capsule Collection,Rag & Bone: A Brand on the Upswing, Anderson Charts Global Strategy for Levi’s, Retail Sales Remain Soft in August Denim Remains Strong

J Brand Launches Duarte Capsule Collection


From WWD ISSUE 09/03/2009


j-brand-launches-duarte-capsuleLOS ANGELES ??” J Brand is teaming up with Los Angeles designer Henry Duarte to create three low-rise skinny jeans styles inspired by David Bowie??™s ???Ziggy Stardust??? album.

The capsule collection, which will retail for about $250, will launch at Coterie in New York and hit U.S. stores in December and select specialty stores worldwide early next year.

???Like our initiatives with Topshop and Hussein Chalayan, this collection is part of our strategy to keep customers curious and interested,??? said J Brand co-founder Jeff Rudes.

???Knowing we wanted to do a rocker and biker chic story for early spring, we thought Henry would be a natural,??? Rudes said of Duarte, who made his name designing clothes for musicians Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz and Steven Tyler, and actresses Angelina Jolie, Kate Hudson and Nicole Kidman. ???It??™s also a chance to bring some new customers into the fold because he has such a following.???

Co-founder Susie Crippen added, ???We??™re excited to build our brand and learn from Henry.???

Click here to read the full article

Rag & Bone: A Brand on the Upswing


From WWD ISSUE 09/03/2009

rag-bone3What a difference a year makes.

For Rag & Bone owners Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, growing a business in a recession has been a nerve-racking task. It was only last year that the business partners said they were expecting to reach about $10 million in annual wholesale volume for the women??™s line alone. This year, Neville said he??™s a bit afraid to jinx himself and was not willing to divulge numbers, simply saying, ???the whale that spouts gets harpooned.??? 

But, industry sources said Rag & Bone has far surpassed that $10 million mark, now bringing in more than $20 million in wholesale volume. The company employs 60 people (it had 28 last year) and while it used to sell in 120 high-end specialty stores such as Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman, today, Rag & Bone is in more than 300 stores.

rag-boneWainwright said he thinks the company has been able to grow so much in the last year because it has seen customers gravitate towards its type of business model. Since the launch of the brand in 2002, he and Neville have dedicated their energies to going back to the way clothes used to be made, when it was a necessity to have quality workwear. About 90 percent of the line is produced in U.S.-based factories ??” in Kentucky, North Carolina, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Newark ??” which have been in operation for decades.

rag-bone1???Our clothes are wearable and based around great quality. They aren??™t frivolous in any way and people will get a lot of wear out of them,??? Wainwright said. ???Since we don??™t come from a fashion background, we approach these clothes in a much different way than many designers do. We simply want to make clothes that our friends want to wear every day. In a way, I think that people look for this kind of thing in a recession. They go back to what??™s important and durable.???


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Anderson Charts Global Strategy for Levi’s


From WWD ISSUE 09/03/2009

levis2Levi Strauss & Co. presi-dent and chief executive officer John Anderson is on a campaign to maximize the power of the iconic Levi??™s label around the world and has beefed up the firm??™s executive ranks in a bid to position the company as a true global powerhouse.

Anderson took the reins of the San Francisco-based denim giant in November 2006, but his first major initiative and the influence of his extensive background working in international markets didn??™t show until last year. It was during the second half of 2008 that the company unveiled a global campaign devoted entirely to the iconic 501 style. The ???Live Unbuttoned??? campaign was the brand??™s first worldwide advertising initiative and coincided with a retooling of the 501 button-fly jeans style.

During a February conference call to discuss year-end results, Anderson credited concentrating the company??™s marketing might behind the 501 with spurring sales around the world and, more importantly, helping to reclaim market share in its largest and most mature markets. Levi??™s as a group spent $297.9 million worldwide on advertising in the year ended Nov. 30, according to its annual report. The core Levi??™s brand accounted for about 76 percent of sales in 2008, or roughly $3.27 billion, an increase from the 73 percent of sales for which the brand accounted in 2007 and the 70 percent of sales in 2006.

The campaign proved an eye-opener for Anderson.levis

???That really showed us that when we put all our energy behind a single message and drove it globally that we would be very pleased with the results,??? said Anderson. ???It also reinforced us being a global brand.???

However, the campaign exposed organizational issues that may have prevented the company from getting the maximum leverage out of the Levi??™s brand in the past.

???We weren??™t set up to drive a global campaign,??? Anderson said. ???Coordinating that to make sure we had a common point of view was quite complicated.???

There was also a recognition the company would need to build on the success by doing more of the same. At a time when the global economy was on the decline, Anderson wanted to take advantage of the company??™s size and resources to boost the brand image while competitors were struggling. Given the continued economic difficulties and reports of a weak back-to-school season, Anderson believes it??™s more likely that in the short term, the Levi??™s brand will continue to claim more market share rather than realizing sizable sales gains.

Click here to read the full article


Retail Sales Remain Soft in August



Shoppers felt little sense of urgency about shopping for back-to-school or the new fall season, leaving most retailers with same-store sales declines in August.

Aeropostale Inc. and The Buckle Inc. continued to be exceptions to the rule of weak sales last month, posting increases of 9 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. While total comparable-store sales declined 3 percent at Gap Inc., the Old Navy unit managed a 4 percent increase, the only Gap unit to register a gain.

???During August, customers responded well to our denim collections at Gap and Old Navy,??? said Sabrina Simmons, chief financial officer of Gap Inc. ???We were especially pleased by the progress at Old Navy and its strong back-to-school performance, which helped support total company merchandise margins significantly above last year.???

Denim was also a bright spot for The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., where comps declined 5.1 percent. ???We believe the Labor Day weekend shift from August last year to September this year will result in a later back-to-school business,??? said Tony Buccina, vice chairman and president of merchandising at Bon-Ton. ???Our children??™s, juniors, and young men??™s sales improved significantly in the last week of August versus earlier in the month, especially denim.???

Macy??™s Inc.??™s comps declined 8.1 percent in August, while those at Dillard??™s Inc. dropped 14 percent. Stage Stores Inc. was down 9.5 percent despite strength in cosmetics.

Other specialty store chains failed to break into positive territory like Aeropostale and Buckle. American Apparel Inc.??™s comps were off 20 percent and Abercrombie & Fitch Co.??™s slipped 29 percent, underscored by a 32 percent decline at the Hollister division. American Eagle Outfitters Inc. saw its same-store sales slip 7 percent. The Wet Seal Inc. was off 11.2 percent as the namesake division tracked down 12.6 percent and Arden B. fell 1.8 percent.

Limited Brands Inc. was down 4 percent for the month, but above analysts estimates for a larger drop. Destination Maternity Corp.??™s comps were off 10.6 percent.

Stein Mart Inc. was down 8.9 percent for the month, with women??™s dresses and casual sportswear the weakest merchandise categories.


–Nikki Cho Russo

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Posted Sep 03 2009 in Uncategorized

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