Editor in ChiEf Edward nardoza Editor James fallon Managing Editor richard rosen Managing Editor, fashion/spECial rEports dianne M. pogoda sEnior Editor, MarkEts arthur friedman sEnior fashion fEaturEs Editor Beth kwon sEnior fashion Editor, sportswEar kim friday MEn’s fashion Editor alex Badia dEniM and tExtilEs MarkEt Editor ross tucker sEnior Editor, MEn’s david lipke ContriButing Editors Julee greenberg, nina Jones, khanh t.l. tran, luisa Zargani Bookings Editor Cinnamon st. John fashion assistant luis Campuzano Copy ChiEf peter sadera dEputy Copy ChiEf Maureen Morrison sEnior Copy Editor lisa kelly Copy Editors adam perkowsky, sarah protzman group art dirECtor andrew flynn assoCiatE art dirECtors sharon Ber, amy loMacchio dEsignEr Courtney Mitchell Junior dEsignEr Eric perry art assistant tyler resty photo Editor Carrie provenzano photo Coordinators ashley linn Martin, lexie Moreland puBlishEr Christine guilfoyle assoCiatE puBlishErs Erica Bartman, Elizabeth webbe lunny ExECutivE dirECtor Jennifer Marder ExECutivE dirECtor of intErnational fashion Brett Mitchell wEst Coast dirECtor ron troxell aCCount ManagEr, italy olga kouznetsova produCtion dirECtor kevin hurley produCtion ManagEr providence rao



6 with denim one of the best-performing categories in
the apparel sector during the recession, companies are taking advantage of attractive real estate opportunities to open their own stores.

8 the u.k.’s latest denim labels are the creations of

retailers looking to give their denim an air of authenticity by building their own stylish identities.

around a singular belief that consumers will embrace the concept of premium quality at less-than-premium prices.

10 the newest labels in the denim market have rallied

12 Customers may be shying away from paying for premium jeans retailing upward of $300, but the idea of personalizing high-quality denim styles appears to be tempting enough to wave away any price resistance.
junior denim sector, as retailers continue to tighten their orders and manufacturers fight for floor space.

14 the competition has never been so fierce in the 16 get a leg up with this season’s “it” jeans.

20 key men’s denim trends for spring include clean and classic five-pockets, skinny fits with stretch and shades of gray. 24 the denim industry is stepping up efforts to reduce its environmental impact, become more efficient and save money in the process. 26 a growing number of bloggers are training their sights on denim, and brands are taking notice.
ON THE COVER: true religion Brand
Jeans’ cotton shirt and cotton denim beaded shorts. Bootheel trading Co. belt; frye boots. on him: nudie Jeans Co.’s jacket with Joe’s Jeans’ shirt and diesel’s jeans, all in cotton. J. lindeberg tie; boots by red wing shoes. photo by thomas iannaccone; Models: Janell/Major and travis B./wilhelmina; hair by seiji using trEsemmé at the wall group; Makeup by Misuzu Miyake for kiehl’s; fashion assistants: alysa Cenicacelaya and luis Campuzano; styled by kim friday and alex Badia

ON THis pagE:
nobody’s cotton denim gown.


WWD, ThurSDay, NOvEmbEr 19, 2009



Denim Labels Ramp Up Investment in Branded Stores
By David Lipke
With denim one of the best-performing categories in the apparel sector during the recession, companies are taking advantage of attractive real estate opportunities to open their own stores. the stores provide a stable revenue stream at a time when department stores and independent boutiques are facing credit issues and sometimes paying vendors late. Last month, Los Angeles-based denim brand five four opened its first signature store in nearby Westfield Culver City shopping center. the company rings up about $8 million in sales annually, but Andres izquieta, who cofounded the label with a University of southern California classmate in 2002, felt the timing was right to invest in a store. “We’re spending time and money on something that may or may not work,” izquieta said. “some people thought we were crazy going into retail in this economy. but i like the retail model — you get paid immediately and there are no chargebacks. i’ve learned more in the past month by opening this store than i did in my previous seven years in business.” the company has done well enough with its first store that its slated to open a second unit at the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles the day after thanksgiving. five four is among many jeans brands that have invested in opening their own stores during the current economic downturn. “it’s about being able to control your own destiny,” said izquieta. Los Angeles-based true religion and seven for All mankind have been at the forefront in rolling out their own stores. by next month, Vf Corp.-owned seven for All mankind will have opened 13 new stores in the U.s. this year, bringing its total domestic store count to 28 units, including five outlets. the brand has also continued a rollout of stores abroad with local partners, including new units opening this year in manila, seoul, taipei, singapore, shanghai and beijing. there will be 62 seven for All mankind stores globally by yearend. true religion has opened 32 stores since the onset of the financial crisis in september 2008, bringing its store count to 68 in the U.s. and three outlets in Japan. “the retail climate has not changed our store growth strategy because our stores have performed very well in this environment,” said Jeff Lubell, chairman and chief executive officer of true religion Apparel inc. true religion stores generate about $1,200 in sales per square foot annually. the company measures retail performance in terms of operating profits as a percentage of net sales, and Lubell said its stores are exceeding the company target of 30 percent in that metric. the company plans to open another 20 to 25 stores in 2010. Currently, 85 percent of true religion units are in malls, versus 15 percent in street locations. “Luxury is being redefined all over these days and we wanted to take the formality out of the stores, and give them more of a California feel.” the stores have also been bringing in some Vf Corp. sibling brands to “add some fun and pop,” said battista. Converse by John Varvatos footwear is in the stores now and Varvatos’ star UsA label will be added in the spring. the denim brand is also testing some splendid and ella moss product in its malibu, Calif., unit. the seven for All mankind retail expansion is part of Vf Corp.’s company-wide strategy to emphasize owned-retail as a key component of growth. but battista acknowledged that’s it’s been a big challenge navigating the economy while opening new stores. but we can use this as a signature and pull certain elements out to other stores.” bernholtz said the store had garnered attention from potential franchise partners in dubai, the U.K. and Asia who were interested in the rock & republic retail concept for those markets. the Los Angeles store joined a rock & republic unit that opened in the Wynn encore hotel in Las Vegas last december, which bernholtz said already hit its sales goals for the year three months ago. however, earlier this year the company scrapped plans to open a two-level, 2,800-square-foot flagship at 102 greene street in manhattan, which was scheduled to open this past spring.

What’s next in denim

By yearend, there will be 62 Seven For All Mankind stores globally.

Five Four opened its first store last month in the Westfield Culver City mall.
“true religion is undergoing a transformation from a premium wholesale denim supplier to a vertical retail lifestyle brand,” wrote analyst todd slater of Lazard Capital markets in a nov. 4 research note. “We believe it can more than double its footprint [of retail stores] domestically and also has white space internationally.” At seven for All mankind, co-tenancies are important factors in choosing store locations. “We’re looking for other brands like michael Kors and intermix and Juicy Couture to be near,” said Aaron battista, the company’s vice president of retail. “that’s where the luxury contemporary shopper is.” seven for All mankind has tweaked the look of its stores in the past year, making them warmer and more inviting, while moving away from the sleek and polished look of its earlier shops. “We’re making them a little more residential, with natural materials and matte finishes,” said battista.

“this is the toughest i’ve seen retail in my career,” he said. “it’s been a year of learning.” At paige premium denim, president and ceo michael geller echoed those sentiments. the company opened a Las Vegas store in the Venetian hotel in october 2008, just as the financial crisis was unfolding. “it was like, ‘here are the keys to the store and here’s the cliff to jump off of,’” remembered geller. ppd operates three stores and the Las Vegas unit has been hit the hardest by the economic downturn, due to the steep falloff in tourism there. the new York store in the meatpacking district suffered last year but has bounced back this year, said geller, while the Los Angeles unit, the oldest, has been steady over the past four years it’s been open. As a small, privately owned company, ppd is focused on opening stores that will produce profitable sales, rather than serve as loss-leader marketing vehicles for the brand. “We’re not opening glitzy showcases,” said geller. “We’re opening very functional and easy-to-shop denim stores. so it’s not a huge investment for us to open a store. We’re not building stores with our egos.” geller said for a brand like ppd, he’s found streetscape stores are preferable to mall stores at this point. “When you go into a mall they often have a lot of requirements about how the store has to look, which can be expensive,” he said. “And when your competitors in a mall go on sale, you’re forced to follow suit. With a street store, you have a lot more flexibility.” one of the most important roles for ppd’s stores is serving as a laboratory to test new product. for example, the men’s business has been performing well in ppd’s stores, accounting for 18 to 20 percent of sales, versus just six to seven percent in wholesale accounts. “We’ve been able to show retailers that performance and have been able to build confidence in the men’s product,” said geller. in contrast to ppd’s strategy, rock & republic’s glitzy new Los Angeles store does serve as an expensive marketing vehicle and brand showcase. the 3,800-square-foot flagship on robertson boulevard bowed in may, after over a year of construction delays. “it was like labor,” said company president Andrea bernholtz. she said it was too early to tell if the store was turning a profit, but emphasized it has burnished the brand in the minds of consumers and retail partners. “this is our signature space. it’s the finest of everything,” she said. “When you amortize it out, it wouldn’t make the most sense to roll out a lot of them,

similarly, the economy has impacted Ag Adriano goldschmied, which earlier this year closed three unprofitable stores in orlando and naples, fla., and troy, mich. the company now operates 12 full-price stores and six outlets. All the remaining units are profitable, said robert rosenfeld, vice president of retail at the Los Angeles-based brand. “We’re not rushing out to open more stores right now,” he said. “but we would like to open additional units down the road in major markets.” the brand’s retail sales have picked up steadily since April, said rosenfeld, and the company is “cautiously optimistic” heading into 2010. Among all denim brands, diesel opened the most expensive and ambitious store this year, a threeork’s fifth floor, 20,000-square-foot flagship on new Y Avenue. in addition, the company opened a third miami unit and relocated two stores in san francisco and georgetown in Washington. diesel operates 46 stores, including diesel, diesel Kid, 55 dsL and outlet units. “We could have decided not to open those stores in the current economy, but they fit our criteria for where we see opportunity for long-term growth,” said steve birkhold, the ceo of diesel UsA, who is leaving at the end of this year to take the ceo post at Lacoste UsA. “We are positioning ourselves for 2010 and 2011 and beyond. if you know [diesel founder and owner renzo rosso], he’s an aggressive guy and to his credit he could have taken a hiatus from expansion, but hasn’t.” denim sales were down in the single digits this year at diesel, while fashion apparel was down double digits, said birkhold. these declines were partly offset by strength in the footwear, accessories and underwear businesses, which offer a lower price point entry to the diesel assortment. in response, the company has shifted its merchandise presentations and layouts within stores to put those categories in higher-traffic areas. “With our own stores, we can be nimble in making adjustments. We can implement changes by Wednesday in response to trends we see on a monday,” said birkhold, who also said the company has cut payroll in stores in response to the difficult retail climate. “the reality is the consumer is in a little bit more of a self-service environment.” At the five four mall store in Culver City, izquieta has been a hands-on ceo at his new venture. “i was in the store until 2:30 in the morning last night making changes to our spring collection,” he said. “now we get to merchandise everything ourselves and i’m seeing things that bombed at wholesale are selling very well in our own store. in a way, the recession has actually been a blessing in disguise for us.”






What’s next in denim
A look from the Reiss 1971 spring collection. Online retailer ASOS has launched its own denim line.

New Look has introduced Yes Yes denim.

Finding Strength in Breakout Branding
By Nina Jones
LONDON — The U.K.’s latest denim labels aren’t being dreamt up by kids just out
of design school or mills with years of history. Instead, they’re the creation of retailers looking to give their denim offerings an air of authenticity by building their own stylish identities. Earlier this year, upscale British retailer Reiss launched Reiss 1971, a collection of denim and contemporary pieces that takes a more edgy turn than Reiss’ mainline collection. In September, French Connection unveiled a stand-alone women’s collection, FC: Denim, and has opened a dedicated store to house the line in London’s Covent Garden. Meanwhile, British online retailer ASOS has launched a denim collection called ASOS Denim and mass fashion retailer New Look rebranded its denim offer under the label Yes Yes this summer. It’s an opportune moment for retailers to concentrate their efforts on their own denim labels. According to TNS Worldpanel, the U.K.’s denim market shrank 13 percent in September, compared with a year earlier, to 634 million pounds, or $1.06 billion at current exchange. However, 92.7 percent of women’s jeans sold in the U.K. are store labels, rather than what TNS terms manufacturer brands, such as Levi’s. “Own-label denim has become just as much of a statement to wear as any of the more traditional denim brands,” said Elaine Giles, account manager for TNS Worldpanel Fashion. “It’s like buying a [premium] brand but without the price tag.” With their seasonal collections and production capabilities, these retailers are offering fashionforward denim collections in a variety of cuts, washes and effects, rather than the few core fits denim labels have historically produced. For example, Reiss 1971, a label created by Reiss’ brand director Andy Rogers, who previously served as store-planning and visual director at Stella McCartney, showcases the more creative side of the label’s identity. The spring collection includes pieces such as acid-washed stretch skinny jeans, high-waisted faded denim HotPants paired with fringed leather jackets and denim coverall French Connection is dresses. They’re complemented by items such as testing a stand-alone lace minidresses, an oversize boyfriend blazer denim retail concept. worn as a dress and tie-dye-print dresses. “I think we realized there was a gap in the market for good, midpriced denim,” said Rogers. Reiss 1971’s denim pieces retail from 79 pounds to 89 pounds, or $132 to $149, while prices in the collection run up to 275 pounds, or $462, for a leather jacket. “But what cool denim brands [also] need is a core identity; they need a world around them,” said Rogers. “We haven’t taken the easy route, but in this difficult climate people appreciate the effort that’s put into the collection.” Rogers has worked to build the identity of the Reiss 1971 label on several levels. The denim is made in European factories chosen for their expertise in the fabric, with details such as a “crinkled” textured denim, buttons down the jeans’ legs and quirky items such as a leather bag printed so it looks made from denim. Rogers also had a dedicated viral Internet film shot for 1971’s fall 2009 launch campaign and will create another film for spring. The 1971 collection has also been promoted as a distinct label in Reiss stores, and rather than introducing denim as a safer option for consumers during tough times, Rogers believes Reiss’ customers are instead gravitating to the line for more directional denim and contemporary looks. Skinny jeans, for example, have been the label’s best-selling men’s product for fall. “When you go shopping, now you want to feel as though you’ve bought something that when you’ve put it on, you know it’s new,” said Rogers. Rachel Morgans — denim buyer at ASOS, which features jeans embellished with metal studs at the knees, cotton leggings with a denim print and a denim jumpsuit — said customers are choosing the label’s more fashion-forward denim looks. “People want something that will update their wardrobe and be new and exciting in tough times,” said Morgans, adding the label’s denim leggings are among the retailer’s most popular styles. ASOS’ denim line, which retails from 22 pounds, or $36, up to 65 pounds, or $109, for ASOS Premium denim pieces, is “performing strongly” against the retailer’s other women’s wear categories, Morgans said. Similarly, Reiss’ 1971 collection has exceeded the company’s expectations of its performance, said Rogers. The collection makes up 20 percent of Reiss’ overall offer, but Rogers said the collection has represented up to 35 percent of sales in some of Reiss’ stores in metropolitan areas. French Connection is in the midst of testing its stand-alone denim retail concept but is also marketing its FC: Denim for women and FCUK for men collections as standout labels. For the collections’ campaign shoot, the company scouted nonmodels on the streets in Shoreditch, East London, and Brighton, a coastal town near London, to reflect the lines’ “individual style.” For fall, the collection includes skinny jeans in a black-and-white acid wash, and a batwing-sleeve, cropped denim jacket alongside simpler pieces such as faded, boot-cut jeans. Prices range from 20 pounds, or $33, for a T-shirt to 90 pounds, or $151, for a pair of detailed jeans. To underscore the labels’ identity, French Connection’s concept denim store is done out with lighting rigs, old trunks covered in denim and screens that show behind-the-scenes footage of the campaign shoot. A spokesman for French Connection said the company is considering taking its denim concept to some international locations. New Look is applying branding to the mass end of the denim market. The 700-store chain is the U.K.’s market leader in denim by volume, according to TNS Worldpanel’s research. Barbara Horspool, group design director at New Look, said she reintroduced New Look’s denim under the Y Y label because es es she wanted the company to “stay dominant in denim.” Previously, the label’s denim featured more embellishment and was sold under the label House of Denim. “In the world of denim, some kind of brand is quite important….There’s an attachment to a great pair of jeans being associated with a brand,” said Horspool. New Look’s Yes Yes label consists of five fits, including skinny flare and superskinny styles, and retails from 10 pounds, or $16, for a basic bootleg Hula jean, up to 35 pounds, or $58, for limited edition denim pieces, with most denim priced at 20 pounds, or $33. Again, Horspool said New Look’s customers are opting for the label’s more fashion-forward pieces. “For us, it’s fashion,” said Horspool. “If we could get more superskinny jeans into stores [they would sell].” While Horspool acknowledged the importance of any denim label having an identity, she believes both extremes of denim pricing are equally important to the market. “Denim designers live and breathe those subtleties of fit and wash, such as whether to have a crease or a particular type of rip,” said Horspool. “I’m glad they’re here, as they’re the ones who keep pushing denim design.”

10 WWD, ThurSDay, NOvEmbEr 19, 2009


What’s next in denim

Sub-Premium Price Zone Draws a Crowd
By Ross Tucker
spring with an average The MOST ReCeNT iNflux Of labelS iN The deNiM MaRkeT have retail price of $118. rallied around a singular belief that consumers will embrace the concept of premium quality at less-than-premium prices. for brands such as easy Money, Rewash, vintage Revolution, Nine days, Recession denim and denim Junkie, the $80-to-$120 retail price range represents what they perceive as the market’s new sweet spot — the point at which consumers who have been educated by the premium denim craze but punished by the recession will easily recognize the value of the product in front of them. “The whole goal has to be to capture the same woman who’s buying Seven, Joe’s and Citizens,” said Chris hoffmann, executive vice president of kemistre 8, which produces the Prps and akademiks labels, and is in the process of launching two more brands in the $80 to $120 range. “and how is that brand going to be relevant to someone who never thought they’d be buying brands at those prices? how is it going to become cool? The shakeout will come from there.” appropriately enough, it was the rise of premium denim earlier in the decade that made it possible for these new brands to enter the market at a lower price point while Vintage Revolution claiming to offer a nearly equivalent product. set prices between The surge in the premium segment lifted the $77 and $125. entire denim category and spurred a boom in global sales at all price levels. The expansion prompted foreign manufacturers to make the necessary investments in machinery and acquire expertise in washing to claim a share of a booming category. “The premium denim craze launched a really high proportion of demand, and that basically brought more people into the dialogue,” said Paul Cavazos, director of marketing and sales for Olah inc., a u.S. agent for foreign contract manufacturers and textile and hardware vendors targeting denim designers. “Now, three to seven years down the road, the expertise and skill set is there from a larger group of professionals. it’s helped usher the same level of workmanship at a much more competitive price. by virtue of education, brands are able to produce price-conscious jeans that previously would be considered uniquely premium.” despite the increase in available resources, the tight margins at this price range requires brands to have experienced and reliable suppliers, executives said. Cavazos believes one potential pitfall for many of the brands will be the washing process. “There aren’t schools to learn about washing,” he said. “Y have to be in front of the machine.” ou “it’s one thing to have the recipe, but it’s another brands are also looking to offer special services thing to have the chef go and make it himself,” he said. and flexibility to land sales, placing a further burSilver also believes many of the newcomers at this den on the strength of their production network. price range are targeting a relatively narrow chain of “Y have to be quick to respond, ever present ou distribution. Silver and Cavazos both described the about what’s happening with trend and be able strategy as an attempt to replicate the business model to deliver to market in six to eight weeks,” said of Cheap Monday, which was able to crack into highChristine Rucci, designer of vintage Revolution. end department stores while building buzz around a Rucci believes vintage Revolution’s struclower price point. Silver described Cheap Monday as ture will allow it to meet these criteria. The a “fleeting moment.” Outside the department store brand is the product of Rucci and José Juan channel, Silver said the u.S. has few chain retailers Marcos González, whose Mexican factory prothat carry multiple brands. duces denim for brands such as Gap, Polo “Outside of The buckle in the u.S., i’d be hard-pressed Ralph lauren and lucky brand. The brand, to give you an optimum distribution model,” he said. which will begin retailing for spring at $77 to from his own experience with Silver, he believes $125, has a wealth of manufacturing and washits unlikely lower-priced brands will succeed in caping expertise behind it, can take advantage turing former premium consumers. of duty-free status under the North american “i don’t think the premium customer is coming down free Trade agreement and can get goods into to that price point,” he said. “i think they’re just buying the country quickly. New labels are looking to replicate the success of Cheap Monday. less, but i’m not catching those customers with Silver.” “The advantage of us as a start-up brand at instead, he sees the reverse, with people trading up. this price point is we own our factories,” said Rucci. “My consumer considers [Silver] expensive,” he said. “i’m the aspirational hoffmann said his company is also relying on the sourcing network it established for Prps and akademiks to aid the introduction of Nine days, which jean from the moderates. i have people trading up and spending twice as much launches for spring at an average retail price of $118, and a men’s-only line called as they normally would.” Rucci said she’s run into her fair share of “denim snobbery” from specialtyaknowledge that bowed this month with prices ranging from $60 to $80. store buyers and owners who feel the line may be priced too low for their stores, “We’re really focusing on great washes [for aknowledge],” said hoffmann. “it’s but she believes there’s little question the consumer is heading in this direction. not about heavy embellishments — it’s about novelty washes.” “for the price of one premium jean of yesterday, you can now throw in a nice however, hoffmann said it took more than two years working with its Chinese knit,” said Rucci. “There’s a feel-good factor now for consumers.” laundry to get those washes where they wanted them to be. hoffmann views the market as becoming more fragmented. high-end labels Michael Silver has considerable experience operating in the $60-to-$90 range with Silver Jeans and believes the pool of laundries that can achieve the pre- like his Prps will continue to head upmarket and stay in the higher price zone mium look at an affordable price is small. Silver described doing business in this where they belong. Retailers will still carry those labels but will need to find new ways to generate sales because many consumers have headed down to the levi’s price range as a China-only story, specifically a south China story. “They could always stitch in China, but wash is the most difficult element,” of the world. hoffmann believes smart retailers will take the opportunity to adsaid Silver. “it is much better in southern China, but there’s not 50 laundries that dress this in between market. “The most savvy retailers are doing both, with luxury going higher but average can do the job there. There’s probably a dozen very good laundries.” Silver said it’s a constant struggle to keep his label’s pricing in the mid-$80 retail coming down,” he said. “Nine days is perfect. it becomes the opening price range, even though the brand was built on tight margins. To maintain his price, he point in these very premium stores.” he said the line has been picked up by barney’s New York, bloomingdale’s, made the investment to station his technical staff in hong kong so they can work World denim bar and lulus. with asian suppliers more easily. Nine Days will launch for





What’s next in denim

Luring Consumers With Custom Touches
By Luisa Zargani
MILAN — Customers may be shying away from paying for premium jeans retailing upward of $300, but the idea of personalizing highquality denim styles appears to be tempting enough to wave away any price resistance. “Customers are looking for distinction and diversity as there is a new-found and strong desire to add a personal touch,” said Marco Tiburzi, commercial director of the Italian brand Jacob Cohen. Tiburzi said clothes and accessories that conveyed “a sense of belonging” were bestsellers a decade ago, while many customers today would rather not “be perceived as part of a group or somewhat labeled” through fashion. Nicola Bardelle launched Jacob Cohen in 2003, concentrating on valuing quality and longevity over large volumes. He differentiated the brand through the use of precious fabrics, such as a denim and cashmere blend, and handmade tailored pants. He even went so far as to provide a set of tools for maintenance, including a pumice stone to redefine the pants after washing, threads for the stitches and a cloth to shine the silver rivets. Tiburzi said Jacob Cohen has evolved its sartorial production into a full-fledged made-to-order collection, which will be launched for spring-summer 2010. Tiburzi defined the project as “an itinerant laboratory, a traveling atelier,” with “an enormous case” comprising different materials, from exclusive Japanese denim to gabardine and linen, buttons, rivets and the brand’s staple pony-hair labels in 100 color variations to be proposed to selected retail partners. “It’s all quite difficult to manage and customers have very high, sometimes unrealistic expectations,” said Re-Hash jeans Tiburzi. “The only limit we set is that of good taste.” Prada offers custom are sewn with an While retail prices for the brand’s limited edition denim at its Milan store. embroidery machine. sartorial pants range from 240 to 350 euros, or $360 to $523 at current exchange, made-to-order styles will retail at 600 euros, or $897, and higher, with Jacob Cohen is launching three-to-four week wait for delivery. a full made-to-order “We are convinced that customers today are knowlcollection for spring. edgeable and have the tools to understand the quality that lies behind these prices,” said Tiburzi. “It’s fundamental, however, to communicate the real content of the project, its handcraft, artisanal techniques and superior materials.” Sebastian Shul, chief operating officer at Prada, said, “If you can have a made-to-order shirt, why not also a pair of jeans?” Prada launched its made-to-order project in 2005, offering exclusively at the brand’s Corso Venezia store in Milan and included denim in its product offer. Shul said the company treats denim “as a classic,” mixing it with formalwear as an integral part of the wardrobe. “Separating two worlds apparently distant — classic and jeans — and rejoining them in a personal way, we have created a unique, strongly recognizable offer,” Shul said. Industrial, interior and fashion designer Dimitris Zoz introduced his sartorial jeans brand Ikoon in June at men’s trade show Pitti Uomo. Zoz said his goal was to evolve denim by emphasizing quality, artisanal techniques and details such as pockets lined with sartorial fabrics. Zoz said people often downplay the complexities of the denim fabric, which is seen as poor and industrial. On the other hand, the designer said treating Ikoon jeans denim comes with plenty of hurdles, such as cutting take more the material, with dimensional drops depending on than a month the washes, for example. Production in Italy is a must to produce. for Zoz, who works with outside laboratories in Italy’s specialized districts, such as in Tuscany for leather. The Florence-based Ikoon also offers more exclusive made-to-measure denim understanding of the product and search for high-quality pieces. Retail prices pieces where customers can choose the fit, fabric and buttons, and have the jeans range between 140 and 250 euros, or $209 and $374. Every aspect of production is monogrammed. They can also select the label among different hides ranging from made in-house at the plant in Teramo, Italy. “Our brand is not well-known yet, but we think that if we will continue with ostrich, crocodile, python, lizard and ray fish. our strategy, sooner or later it will pay off,” said Caucci. “Several Arabian customers asked us for diamond-covered tags,” said Zoz. Customers can choose tags, colors, yarns and accessories to personalize their Made-to-measure Ikoon jeans range from 290 to 490 euros, or $434 to $733, and Zoz defined them as “new luxury.” The jeans take more than a month to produce, jeans and Caucci pays special attention to the packaging, which includes a pambut he hopes to reduce the wait to three to four weeks. His paternal grandmother phlet explaining the product. Mauro Grifoni’s expertise and passion for denim has led him to launch a projwas a men’s tailor who passed on his love of craftsmanship. As an industrial designer, Zoz is keen on promoting this kind of product as functional and comfort- ect called Tailored Laundries for spring. Grifoni said sartorial denim is nothing more than “an extreme care for the materials, researching treatments and accuable, not simply a “image-centric” item. As part of his efforts to promote the brand abroad, Zoz will be in Miami this rate washes.” The designer, who is also in charge of his namesake brand, sees it week for the Consorzio Centopercento Italiano Wine & Fashion Florence event as perfecting a good recipe. “It’s a fantastic cake with fantastic ingredients,” he said. “It’s striving to do one’s at the Biltmore Hotel. “Some may think our techniques are too much for denim, but we disagree,” best with the best fabrics, skills and washes with the best fit. We are not inventing said Maurizio Caucci, chief executive officer and one of the founders of the Re- anything but improving it as much as possible with our culture and craft.” Grifoni employs 12 artisans, including a Japanese technician and antique Hash brand. Launched last year, Re-Hash denim jeans are sewn as classic, tailored pants with Japanese looms. Tailored Laundries is available at 40 points of sale from Milan’s an embroidery and not a stitching machine. Caucci sets his faith in his customers’ 10 Corso Como to London’s Browns.






The Heat Is On in Juniors
By Julee Kaplan
has expanded The compeTiTion has never been into new product so fierce in the junior denim sector, as recategories tailers continue to tighten their orders and through manufacturers fight for floor space. licensing. With that in mind, junior denim firms have begun to explore innovative new ways to attract their customers’ attention through added value, sharp pricing, expanded product categories, fresh marketing tactics and even some new brand names. “The competition in this market is the fiercest i’ve ever seen,” said Deke Jamieson, executive vice president of licensing at Ymi Jeanswear. “retailers are buying less and reducing the number of brands they sell on the floor. it just no longer cuts it to be as good as the rest. You have to be better, a standout.” Jamieson has begun an aggressive licensing plan for Ymi that will expand the brand’s reach into new product categories. recently, Ymi’s licensed activewear, tops and dresses hit retail floors for the first time. This, Jamieson said, has helped business tremendously. “Licensing just gives the brand more presence and has opened us up to selling new shops where we weren’t before,” he said. “it’s all a part of really focusing in on targeting and getting closer to our consumers.” Jamieson said he is in negotiations to license handbags and footwear, which he sees opening even more doors at the retail level. in addition, on a marketing level, Jamieson said the company is testing a program that reaches these customers in their schools. While he wouldn’t go into details, he said it’s all part of the brand’s plan to reach these customers where they spend their time. Looks from “We have increased our presence both Tyte and online and off, especially since we know Vanilla Star. that our customers are spending so much more time online,” he said. “and on a product front, innovation is key. We all need to step it up in order to keep these girls interested. it’s important for us to believe in our brand, but if the product doesn’t fulfill, you have nothing.” For caren Lettiere, division head of Kellwood co.’s Jolt brand, the most important thing today is to have a diverse portfolio. “because the entire retail landscape has changed and there’s not as many stores out there, it’s important to be able to serve all types of distribution,” she said. at Jolt, Lettiere said the brand is able to serve retailers with denim and nondenim bottoms, as well as casual coats and jackets. in addition, the firm has the ability to produce quickly on the trends. on a marketing front, Lettiere said marketing has been stepped up. after a strong response to its fall ad campaign, the company plans to move forward through reaching customers on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on joltstyle.com, which launched earlier this year. now on the site, the company is holding an every pair has a story promotion that encourages consumers to tell their stories about their favorite pair of Jolt jeans. in return, the winning writers will receive ipods or joltstyle.com shopping sprees. “our consumers have been writing in and telling us about their favorite pair,” she said. “They are led to the site through Facebook and Twitter. it just shows you the power of social media.” Lettiere said it’s things like this that have helped the brand get closer to the customer to find out exactly what she looks for from Jolt. in turn, it has helped the brand to have a stronger identity at retail. “The key is that we have to be able to keep reinvesting in ourselves in order to stay connected with the consumer,” she said. “We have to make sure that we are servicing her needs and evolving and growing with her, and hopefully leading her so that we can anticipate what she will want next.” on the back end, Lettiere said she has been working extra hard to change relationships with factories and with retailers. “The customer isn’t willing to spend more, but she wants more for her money,” YMI Jeanswear
she said. “so in order to tighten the lead time and offer the most value, many of our factory partnerships have changed.” While much of Jolt’s manufacturing is done in china, Lettiere said the firm has begun sourcing in vietnam and Guatemala in order to improve production. alden halpern, president of the Tyte brand, said he has also been working out special deals with his factories. “i’m definitely working on less profits, but there’s really nothing i can do about that,” he said. “i have had a lot of meetings with my chinese factories, and we communicate with them about what’s been happening at retail. i assure them that they will be kept busy, and i am investing in their future, but they have to be able to work out deals.” as a result, halpern said, he has produced a better product with more detail, trims and better fabrics, but has also been able to lower his prices by about 8 percent. “The key is to not hurt the retailer,” he said. “You have to deliver them more, but for less money. That’s just it — we have to deal with that.” With that said, halpern said his business has been good overall, and for backto-school 2010, he will launch a higher-end junior brand called byzantine. “it will be for that Guess customer, but retailing between $39 and $59 — not as high as Guess,” he said. “There are girls out there who like the Guess look but can’t afford it. This line will be about great quality and great design. Guess is the best jeansmaker in the world, so this is sort of like my tribute to them.” mark Levy, president of vanilla star, said innovation and strong marketing plans are key elements for growth. coming up, Levy said he will introduce a new jeans style that will sell as a raw-denim style packaged with sandpaper so the customer can customize the jeans and destruct them as much as they like. in addition, he has adjusted sourcing so it’s not just in china anymore, but in pakistan and bangladesh, which allows him to introduce new products without raising the prices of the product, as well as to increase the speed to market. “i’m finding that stores are buying super close to their needs, and in order to be in this, we have to provide for them,” he said. on a marketing front, Levy has collaborated with a group of new Yorkbased young consumers working on designing a collection for vanilla star. once the designs are complete, they will be judged, and the winning designs will be sold to stores. “it’s a great thing because these will be clothes designed by the junior customers themselves, with their own point of view,” he said. peter Kossoy, president of Younique, said in order to expand his business, he launched a brand called almost Famous at retail about six months ago. The trend-driven denim brand wholesales from $12 to $15 and sells at such stores as Wet seal, macy’s and J.c. penney. “it’s doing really well at the retail level,” Kossoy said. “Going forward, we are really expanding it and putting a lot behind it — we are in the process of designing the Web site for the brand, social media is beginning and we are planning on recruiting customers as brand ambassadors.” Kossoy said the key for almost Famous has been to provide a line that can ship quickly to retailers with the quality and value customers demand today. Kossoy is also working on launching another label called Don’t You Dare, which is denim- and knit-based, but at a higher price point, retailing around $48. That label should be ready for back-to-school 2010. overall, halpern stressed that in the junior denim sector, value is most important. “The key in this business right now is to make sure that no matter what, there is value attached,” he added. “The product has to look like its worth a lot more money than it is. people are spending a lot less, but more than ever, they want to feel good about what they buy.”

The GifT of lifT.








Anlo’s silk tank top with J Brand’s cotton and Lycra ombré denim jeggings. Jimmy Choo scarf and sandals; Circa Sixty Three rings.






Genetic Denim Joe’s Jeans


Les Halles, James Jeans and Recession Denim.

Nobody, Dream Culture, Acne and Miss Sixty.

Dylan George

Made in Heaven

William Rast

Divine Rights of Denim

Seven For All Mankind

Radcliffe Denim

Helmut Lang Denim



R13, Frankie B. and Kill City. Current/ Elliott Dickies DKNY Jeans, Citizens of Humanity and Kut From the Kloth. Guess

Blank, Affliction Black Premium and Serfontaine.

4 Stroke, Victoria Beckham Denim, Bootheel Trading Co. and Vintage 1.

AG-ed Vintage’s cotton flannel shirt and AG Adriano Goldschmied’s cotton denim jeans. Bootheel Trading Co. belt; Frye boots.




Mek Denim, Paige Premium Denim, Agave Nectar and Anlo.

1921 and Cheap Monday




Prps’ cotton denim jacket and Tyte’s cotton and spandex denim skirt. Elizabeth and James sandals.

Hudson, Meltin’ Pot, Vintage Revolution and Parasuco.

GoldSign and Members Only



what’s next in denim
n 2. Guess’ jeans, Polo Ralph Lauren’s

jacket and What Goes Around Comes Around’s henley, all in cotton.

1. Levi’s jeans and Earnest Sewn’s shirt, both in cotton. Stüssy tie; Tiffany & Co. tie bar. n

jean pool

Key men’s denim trends for spring include clean and classic fivepocKets, sKinny fits with stretch and shades of gray. — alex badia

1. ClassiC, Clean Five-PoCkets: levi’s never go out of style, said Jennifer althouse, denim buyer at american rag, and the iconic brand is the los angeles store’s top seller. “i always have a customer for this look. young and old, they always come back to levi’s.” 2. vintage Washes With RiPs and RePaiRs: worn-in styles command higher prices than clean washes, said thomas george, owner of the e street denim stores in highland park, ill., and lake geneva, wis. “the more work done to a jean, the easier it is for a customer to justify a premium price.”

Continued on page 22






what’s next in denim

n 3. Kill City’s cotton and

spandex denim jeans, J. Lindeberg’s wool blazer and CLU’s cotton shirt.

n 4. Acne’s cotton

jeans and Lova’s cotton tank top.

n 5. Ben Sherman’s denim

shorts with Aviator Nation’s hoodie and tank top, all in cotton. J. Lindeberg belt.

n 6. Vans’ cotton and spandex jeans,

Seven For All Mankind’s leather and cotton jacket and G-Star Raw’s cotton and polyester sweater.

Continued from page 20 3. Skinny FitS With Stretch: A growing number of men’s jeans are incorporating stretch fabric for comfort and fit, especially in skinny fits. “We do really well with Kill City in these styles, as they have a great price and interesting washes,” said Althouse. 4. OverWaShed, Faded hueS: Pale blue denim is ideal for spring and summer months, as it tends to be lighter and softer. “This trend is very important in our spring assortment, as we’re one of the only brands to offer such a supersoft selvage in an alternative to white,” said Jerome Dahan, chief executive officer and creative director at Citizens for Humanity. At Seven For All Mankind, a pale ecru shade is a riff on this style. 5. Jean ShOrtS: Denim shorts have cleaned up and become less grungy for spring, according to Audrey Gingras, owner of New York’s Archetype Showroom. Its April 77 label offered a selvage style for spring. 6. Gray denim: An increasingly popular alternative to indigo shades, “gray denim is a neutral that goes with a lot of looks,” said Gingras. — David Lipke



24 WWD, ThurSDay, NOvEmbEr 19, 2009

AG Adriano Goldschmied jeans treated with ozone technology and a display explaining the eco-friendly process.

What’s next in denim

Ozone Emerges as Green Leader
By Khanh T.L. Tran
LOS ANGELES — The denim industry is stepping up efforts to reduce its environmental impact and save money in the process. Brands and manufacturers are employing a wide variety of strategies to gain efficiencies and lower their footprints, from using ozone washes to purchasing high-tech cutting machines and even using green vines to absorb radiant heat emitted from factory walls. These efforts are coming at a time when consumers and businesses are reassessing their priorities and watching their budgets. But one thing is clear: The economic slowdown has spurred deeper thought about surviving for the future. “The hot topic is the environment,” said Michael Morrell, executive vice president of Olah Inc., a New York-based firm that represents mills, laundries and factories that are integrating sustainable business practices into the chemically laden denim industry. “It’s an issue that everyone has a conscious perspective on to a degree. People want to buy organic and be environmentally conscious. The ultimate question is, How much is the trend worth?” Vietnamese denim factory and wash house Saitext is building a second plant in Ho Chi Minh City with the assistance of environmental consultants. Set up as a vertical operation with capabilities to cut, sew, wash, pack and ship, Saitext’s new operation will open in April with solar panels on the roof to heat water for the bathrooms, exterior walls covered in vines to absorb radiant heat and keep the building cool, and motion sensors that turn off the lights automatically. The 100,000-square-foot factory will also use wastewater from hand sinks to flush toilets and enable natural ventilation through windows on opposite ends of the building and through the roof. With about 500 employees, the factory will be able to manufacture 550,000 pairs of jeans a month. “They’re trying to make themselves an environmental benchmark for what a 21st-century business should be,” Morrell said of Saitext. Modern developments in technology also help Seven For All Mankind, the premium denim label owned by VF Corp., to improve efficiencies with marking and cutting fabric. The Los Angeles-based label uses equipment made by Gerber, which yield an efficiency of more than 90 percent. “When the cutting process is done, we have our cutting and paper waste picked up by a recycle company, which grinds up the scrap and uses it for filler or stuffing,” said Steven Guy, vice president of operations for VF’s contemporary brands coalition. “We reduced fabric waste by 4 percent this year — a little over $1 million a year annualized — which means less waste for landfills.”

Koos Mfg. is moving to produce all the jeans sold under the AG Adriano Goldschmied and Big Star labels with ozone technology. Koos chief executive officer Yul Ku, a 31-year denim veteran, installed an ozone generator at the company’s South Gate, Calif., headquarters, where it makes the jeans for premium label AG, and two machines in its factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico, where it produces jeans for Big Star, a moderately priced brand sold at stores such as The Buckle. The first styles to be treated with ozone will hit stores as early as December for the holiday season. AG’s coming spring collection will be treated entirely with ozone. Ozone is proving to be a popular method because of its versatility and environmental impact. Conventional denim treatments requires rinsing with large amounts of water to get rid of the excess indigo from the garment, and chemicals like potassium permanganate and lacasse are applied to fade the jeans and clean up the indigo that has bled onto the white pocket linings. Ozone, on the other hand, acts as a bleach to disinfect the garment, kill bacteria and clean up the indigo. Ozone also can fix the indigo for dark rinses or tint the fabric with a dirty yellow haze. “It helps in every denim wash,” said Janet Choi, AG’s international sales manager. Laundering with ozone requires the gas to be pumped from an ozone generator into a tumbler. Less water is used, bleach is minimized if not eliminated completely and energy consumption is reduced. Koos said it expects to reduce its consumption of water, chemicals and dirty energy by about 25 percent annually. The ozone process also takes a fifth of the time as a traditional laundering method does. However, the company is using ozone only for blue indigo denim. Its khaki, black and overdyed pieces will undergo conventional processes. But considering that ozone is ideal for achieving the worn-out vintage looks that helped boost AG’s wholesale business by 58 percent from a year ago, the company is ready to bank on ozone. “By using this new technology, we could save more water, electricity and chemicals,” said Kathy Kweon, AG’s brand manager. Ozone has picked up the endorsement of a number of other denim veterans. “All the other things, honestly, they’re a lot of blah, blah, blah,” said Adriano Goldschmied, executive vice president of design at Citizens of Humanity. “The only thing that in my opinion is happening right now that is serious is ozone.” Citizens of Humanity, based in Huntington Park, Calif., recently spent between $150,000 and $200,000 on two machines that use ozone technology. “It’s an investment that you can get back quite fast if you use properly,” he said. Goldschmied, whose career in the denim industry spans more than three decades, recalled first seeing ozone generators in the early 1990s when it was a reliable process for making huge volumes of jeans sold at mass retailers such as Wal-Mart. Nowadays, the ozone technology has improved to a point that makes it acceptable for the premium denim industry. “Nobody buys a jean that doesn’t look good because it has a ‘green’ wash,” Goldschmied said. “The big goal with us today is to make the look better with a green process. It’s a long way to go — four to five years.” Denim-Tech LLC, a washhouse in Vernon, Calif., is also studying how to use ozone in its washes after first employing the technology to clean its waste water when it opened its doors four years ago. Shinzo Suzuki, owner of Denim-Tech, is working with a Japanese laundry called Howa Co. to use a particular ozone technology under the trademark name of Air Wash. While in the research phase to determine how Air Wash works and how consistent it is, Suzuki said he likes Howa’s policy in Japan of donating 10 cents for every Air Wash-treated garment sold to a charity that plants trees in developing countries in Asia and Africa. “That’s a good concept,” he said. “We’ll have some savings. That’s why some savings I want to donate to the nonprofit organization. You use less chemicals, less water.” Goldschmied is taking his quest for a more natural product a step further. He scans the world for mineral colors — yellow and red from Italy, black from Germany and a rainbow of tints from India — that cost the same as chemical dyes but pose as an earth-friendly alternative. Revel Seven, a denim line that launched last fall with jeans retailing for $175 to $195, eliminated the use of potassium permanganate and chlorine. In lieu of these caustic substances to weather the jeans, it used sea salt. The company also skipped filling a sandblaster with silicone and opted instead to have workers distress the jeans by hand. The label is also developing fabric stains derived from coffee, berries, saffron and persimmon. “We know that we can achieve the same results without using the same chemistry and using as little water as possible,” said Joe Tomlinson, founder of Revel Seven, which has offices in Park City, Utah, and Los Angeles. “Every little bit helps.”


“My cross-country road trip...”
Destructed paint splatter skinny jean

“Our rockin’ girls weekend...”

Flap back pocket fleur di lis straight leg jean

“Hanging with my favorite band backstage...”
Destructed paint splatter skinny jean with pyramid studs



“Sunday Funday brunch with girls...” “Making it past the velvet ropes...”
Thick stitch back pocket skinny jean Pick Me Up legging jean

“The first time he said, ‘I love you’...”
Rhinestone flap back pocket bootcut jean


26 WWD, ThurSDay, NOvEmbEr 19, 2009


What’s next in denim

Growing Band of Bloggers Getting Attention
By Ross Tucker
AN INCREASING NumbER of bloGGERS are training their sights on denim, and brands are taking notice. The number of denim-devoted blogs entering the blogosphere has been on the rise over the last year. for the rabid aficionados behind them, social networking platforms such as facebook and Twitter have been vital tools to building a following in short order. The surge in readership has been surprising, but the attention many are getting from the brands they blog about has been even more so. Jaime Palmucci launched Denim Debutante in June as a way to indulge her passion for denim and to give an in-depth look at quality and fit issues. Palmucci, who lives in Denver, had been writing the blog for an online fashion retailer, but found she wasn’t being able to give her opinion on the product or to give truthful opinions about items the site was selling. “I wanted to make my voice known and say what it was I’ve experienced in the brand,” said Palmucci. “A lot of the [denim] Web sites focus on price point and style, and I wanted to focus on fit, as well.” Since the June launch, Denim Debutante has garnered more than 300,000 unique hits and is approaching 1,500 followers on Twitter. Palmucci’s focus on the quality and the fit of the brand are what she believes help her stand out. “The way each brand fits is so different and I don’t see many sites at all that work on that,” she said.

Jaime Palmucci pens the Denim Debutante blog.

Her denim collection has, not surprisingly, grown significantly. She’s approaching 150 pairs and is trying to convince her boyfriend to construct her own personal denim bar. brands are now soliciting her to try their product and it hasn’t always gone smoothly. “my big thing is that I’m not going to write a positive review because you send me a pair of jeans, and I’ve pissed off a couple p.r. people because of that,” she said. Johnny Pinto got his start selling jeans at 16, while working at Gap. After college, Pinto spent three years working for the Project trade show, where he increased his exposure and expertise in denim. After leaving Project, Pinto set his sights on opening a denim store in long beach, Calif., but the dire economic conditions made it impossible. Instead, he decided to develop a personal shopping blog centered around the denim lifestyle. Pinto officially unveiled The Denim Guy blog earlier this month. While the focus is on denim, Pinto includes any other items that fit with the denim culture. “We are not celebrity driven, we are product driven,” said Pinto, who used his industry contacts with brands such as Hudson, Rock & Republic and Citizens of Humanity to get feedback on the site. Pinto said his goal for the site is to work closely with the brands to give his readers more information about new brands and the people behind them. While he’s approaching the big brands, new ones have already started coming to him. “The amazing thing is that, four weeks into this, I have the ability to say, ‘Y I can put you on the es, blog,’ or ‘No, I can’t,’” he said. “The denim brands

“The denim brands are really starting to and understand the power of social networking connecting with the consumer. ”

— Johnny Pinto, The Denim Guy

are really starting to understand the power of social networking and connecting with the consumer.” liam Winn started Denim Geek this summer. He also found most blogs were devoted to coverage of celebrities and found even fewer addressing the men’s market. “I wanted to create a simple blog that would help men find that next special pair of jeans,” said Winn, who is based in the u.K. and has a background in music and Web design. Winn’s blog has garnered 6,000 hits since mid-July and his readership is growing. It’s required little effort to find brands. “There are a few times I’ve approached brands because I’ve liked the look of collections,” he said. “but I now also receive countless amounts of e-mails from p.r. companies.” Shanna mcKinnon is the editor of Denim Hunt, which launched in April 2007 with the backing of Cotton Incorporated. mcKinnon is the site’s second editor and has a background as a trend forecaster. She took over responsibility for Denim Hunt in June 2008 and said Cotton Inc. has operated largely as Denim Hunt is backed by Cotton Inc. a silent partner. “They’re very hands off,” she said. “They basically said, ‘This is Denim Hunt, it’s yours, take it and run with it.’ And it really has to run that way.” mcKinnon said her aim is to position the site as the comprehensive online denim resource, touching on everything from news to runway presentations to celebrity photos. As with other denim bloggers, mcKinnon has found brands coming to her. “When I first took over, I thought I would have to reach out to a lot of them, but as the site’s been getting more popular, I really don’t have to,” she said, adding that the number of brands contacting her has spiked over the last six months. “blogs to [the brands] are maybe more grass roots and they feel like if the bloggers are talking about them, it can make their brand look more authentic,” she said. Denim Hunt reached a peak of 20,000 visitors last month and is averaging 2,000 hits a day. mcKinnon intends to focus on building the site’s Twitter following next year while working on growing the site and making it more interactive. “You can’t be stale — you’ve got to keep growing,” she said. “one of the ways you show people you’re growing is visually.”

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