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RETAIL: Camilla Staerk opens her first store, page 6. FASHION: Anna Sui spearheads a campaign to "Save the Garment Center," page 3.

LETTER FROM: Boston's bohemian neighbor, page 12.

LIST: Gen Y's favorite "green" brands, page 16.

Women's Wear Daily · The Retailers' Daily Newspaper · August 21, 2008 · $2.00

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Sportswear

Rock On By

PHOTO BY RODOLFO MARTINEZ; MODEL: ANGELIKA/PHOTOGENICS; HAIR BY JOHNNY STUNTZ FOR PHOTOGENICS BEAUTY AT SMASHBOX; MAKEUP BY HELLEN ROBERTSON FOR CHANEL AT CELESTINEAGENCY.COM; STYLED BY LEILA BABOI

Denim's always had attitude, and for spring, designers are tuning in to a rockabilly beat. Here, Frankie B.'s studded cotton and elastane denim jacket over Modern Amusement's cotton shirt and Ksubi's cotton denim shorts. For more looks from the upcoming Project trade show, running Aug. 26 to 28 in Las Vegas, see Section II.

A Reversal of Roles: American Apparel Brings Ts to China

By Lisa Movius

SHANGHAI -- American Apparel's ambitions to buck the conventional wisdom of fashion retailing are now poised for export -- to China. The retailer is this weekend expected to open its first store on the Mainland, in the World Trade Center in Beijing, after months of delays. American Apparel hopes to open four more stores in the country this year and faces the daunting task of marketing American-made garments to the world's largest apparel producer. "The bottom line is that China is a different game for [Western] retailers," Harry Parnass, American Apparel's director of retail development and operations in Asia, told WWD. "For example, Zara was here with seven people for four years before opening,"

See Role, Page 14

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GENERAL

1

TM

A weekly update on consumer attitudes and behavior based on ongoing research from Cotton Incorporated

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THE EASY WAY OUT

For Women, the Fewer the Laundry Hassles, the Better

and there's the convenience of home laundering." Other than the owner of the neighborhood For most women (77%), if a garment needs Laundromat, it's hard to find someone who doesn't ironing, it gets pressed at home, according to the mind washing clothes. Putting in a major effort Monitor, especially among those 35 to 55 (81%) to remove stains or wrinkles only makes it more and 56 to 70 (86%). Although nearly 70% of those annoying. That's why women appreciate all the easy13 to 34 iron a garment at home, care apparel they come across, be it a quarter of women 13 to 34 wear work or casual weekend wear. wrinkled clothes, while 16% of " We r e c o g n i z e t h a t o u r women overall do. If they don't get consumer lives a layered life ­ she's their iron out, only 7% of women a wife, mother and is working ­ so take their apparel to the cleaners. her wardrobe needs to deliver style, Of those making $75,000 or more, versatility and ease of care," says that figure rises to 9%. Barb Gollert, senior vice-president "The less people need to spend of women's merchandising and ® San Francisco. The on dry cleaning and pressing, the sales, Dockers better," Tobe's Sokolove says. "This company also has washable cotton particularly applies to the mass cashmere pants, and washable market and discount chains where tummy-control capris. the customer is very price sensitive "The Dockers collection is "We have expanded our and doesn't want to buy apparel nearly 100 percent machine wrinkle-resistant shirt fits and that needs to be dry cleaned." w a s h a b l e a n d w e re c e n t l y designs dramatically to capture L.L. Bean addresses its introduced an Iron-Free pant, this growing business." customers' aversion to ironing skirt and jacket to further address -- Claudia Scala, with both WR and easy-care items, her need for a stylish, lowBrooks Brothers including pants, capris and shorts, maintenance wardrobe." skirts, oxford shirts and turtlenecks. "WR products Adding more items to the easy-care category makes can be worn right from the dryer without ironing," sense, since women have steadily increased their explains Jennifer Maneikis, women's product line purchases of them. NPD Fashionworld's AccuPanel manager. "Easy-care products significantly reduce reports that in 2007, wrinkle-resistant (WR) woven wrinkling, but may require a touch up iron. Ease of shirts accounted for 14% of women's woven shirt care is important to our customer." purchases, up from 8% in 2002. In 2007, wrinkleSome of L.L. Bean's most popular easy-laundering resistant slacks accounted for 18% of the slacks pieces are its WR and easy-care Bayside chinos, WR women purchased, up from 13% in 2002. pinpoint oxfords, its "Double L" cotton sweaters Increased sales match women's preference for WR and "Carefree Unshrinkable tees." apparel. The majority of women (67%) prefer WR The Monitor finds that manufacturers should cotton slacks to regular cotton bottoms, according to keep a close watch on shrinkage, as 62% of women Cotton Incorporated's Lifestyle Monitor TM . As women say they would be "very upset" and 32% would mature, they lose the desire to pick up an iron: be "somewhat upset" if an item shrunk after they fondness for WR pants was highest among women followed laundering instructions. "In Spring 2009, 56 to 70 years old (86%), and 35 to 55 (69%). WR we will introduce our new premium polo which bottoms also got a 69% approval rating from those is WR, fade-resistant, pill-resistant ­ and will not making more than $75,000. shrink," Maneikis says. The Tobe Report's Lori Holliday Banks, Brooks Brothers also has popular non-iron senior fashion analyst, says easy-care fabrics were shirtdresses. "We offer styles as early as resort widely touted 7 to 10 years ago at the height of and then expand the the business casual collection through phenomenon when What Women Want? No Wrinkles! spring/summer. We will people were allowed By Age soon be offering nonto dress down for work iron, printed shirtdresses 13-24 25-34 35-55 56-70 and wear less-tailored for spring '09." apparel. Now, she says, Regular cotton 42% 42% 31% 14% B u t i t 's B r o o k s demand is probably slacks Brothers non-iron shirts highest in shirtings. that have year-round 58% 69% 86% To b e ' s A l i s o n Wrinkle-resistant 58% cotton slacks fans at both its retail Sokolove, fashion By Household and outlet divisions. editor, says shirting Under $25-49K $50-74K $75K+ "Women like the variety may well be the largest $25K of fits and patterns, the growth vehicle in easyconvenience of home care garments. "Tops Regular cotton 38% 33% 32% 31% slacks laundering and the sold 7:1 to bottoms this price," Scala says. "Our past spring, and we see Wrinkle-resistant 63% 67% 68% 69% cotton slacks non-iron shirt is a great these figures continuing way to freshen up any into fall and holidays," wardrobe. With the variety of fits and patterns, our she reports. customer can look pristine and confident all day At Brooks Brothers, the non-iron shirt category long. It should be a staple in your closet." "has grown dramatically this past year and has become one of the largest businesses within the women's collection," according to Claudia This story is one in a series of articles based on findScala, vice-president of women's and boys. "We ings from Cotton Incorporated's Lifestyle MonitorTM have expanded our fits and designs dramatically tracking research. Appearing Thursdays in these to capture this growing business," Scala says. "A pages, each story will focus on a specific topic as it simple white shirt in all silhouettes drives the shirt relates to the American consumer and her attitudes business overall. The non-iron shirt properties make and behavior regarding clothing, it extremely practical as well. The garment looks as appearance, fashion, fiber selection and pristine as when first bought even several times after many other timely, relevant subjects. [washing]. There's no cost of dry cleaning involved,

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American Apparel plans to open its first store in Mainland China this weekend, in the World Trade Center in Beijing. Anna Sui is galvanizing the industry to save the garment center, with a special T-shirt she hopes will be distributed at the fashion shows. The AFL-CIO sent mailers to 50,000 union swing voters in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania on Wednesday, attacking Sen. John McCain's pro-trade record. The List: The Top Eco-Friendly Brands Favored by Gen Y. Project Preview is included in this issue as a Section II

Classified Advertisements............................................................................................18-19 TO E-MAIL REPORTERS AND EDITORS AT WWD, THE ADDRESS IS [email protected], USING THE INDIVIDUAL'S NAME.

WWD IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ADVANCE MAGAZINE PUBLISHERS INC. COPYRIGHT ©2008 FAIRCHILD FASHION GROUP ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. . VOLUME 196, NO. 39. WWD (ISSN 0149­5380) is published daily (except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, with one additional issue in January, October and December, two additional issues in March, April, May, June, August and November, and three additional issues in February and September) by Fairchild Fashion Group, which is a division of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. PRINCIPAL OFFICE: 750 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Shared Services provided by Condé Nast Publications: S. I. Newhouse, Jr., Chairman; Charles H. Townsend, President/CEO; John W. Bellando, Executive Vice President/COO; Debi Chirichella Sabino, Senior Vice President/CFO; Jill Bright, Executive Vice President/Human Resources. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40644503. Canadian Goods and Services Tax Registration No. 886549096-RT0001. Canada Post: return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: P Box 503, RPO West Beaver Cre, Rich-Hill, ON L4B .O. 4R6 POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY, P Box 15008, North Hollywood, CA .O. 91615­5008. FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS, ADDRESS CHANGES, ADJUSTMENTS, OR BACK ISSUE INQUIRIES: Please write to WWD, P Box 15008, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5008, call 800-289-0273, or visit www.subnow.com/wd. .O. Please give both new and old addresses as printed on most recent label. First copy of new subscription will be mailed within four weeks after receipt of order. Address all editorial, business, and production correspondence to WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY, 750 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017. For permissions and reprint requests, please call 212-630-4274 or fax requests to 212-630-4280. Visit us online at www.wwd.com. To subscribe to other Fairchild magazines on the World Wide Web, visit www.fairchildpub.com. Occasionally, we make our subscriber list available to carefully screened companies that offer products and services that we believe would interest our readers. If you do not want to receive these offers and/or information, please advise us at P Box 15008, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5008 or call .O. 800-289-0273. WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RETURN OR LOSS OF, OR FOR DAMAGE OR ANY OTHER INJURY TO, UNSOLICITED MANUSCRIPTS, UNSOLICITED ART WORK (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DRAWINGS, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND TRANSPARENCIES), OR ANY OTHER UNSOLICITED MATERIALS. THOSE SUBMITTING MANUSCRIPTS, PHOTOGRAPHS, ART WORK, OR OTHER MATERIALS FOR CONSIDERATION SHOULD NOT SEND ORIGINALS, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED TO DO SO BY WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY IN WRITING. MANUSCRIPTS, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND OTHER MATERIALS SUBMITTED MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE.

CORRECTIONS

· In a story on page 12, Wednesday, an incorrect reason was given for Gucci relocating a store to the corner of Stockton Street and Maiden Lane in San Francisco. The move is prompted by the need for more space, a better store facade, as well as improved circulation, said Daniella Vitale, president of Gucci America.

DAILY "I understand that it's all QUOTE business, but where are

we going to go? What are we going to do? In my lifetime, I have seen the area changing, but I can't believe New York can't set aside some building designated to preserving the industry here.

-- Anna Sui on the continuing erosion of the fashion industry's presence on New York's Seventh Avenue. Page 3.

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PVH Profit Falls 25 Percent

By Vicki M. Young

PHILLIPS-VAN HEUSEN CORP ON WEDNESDAY . posted a drop in second-quarter profits due in part to declines in the wholesale and retail heritage brand businesses that were offset by strong growth in its Calvin Klein licensing operation. For the three months ended Aug. 3, income declined by 25.3 percent to $29.2 million, or 56 cents a diluted Total revenues in the quarter rose 1.6 percent to $561 million from $552.4 million. Revenues include a 1.8 percent decline in sales to $480.3 million and a 24.4 percent jump in royalty income to $56 million. For the six months, income fell by 17.5 percent to $76 million, or $1.45 a diluted share, from $92.1 million, or $1.60, a year ago. Total revenues gained 3.7 percent to $1.19 billion. The company said the Calvin Klein licensing business continued its strong performance during the second quarter and posted revenue and earnings growth of 30 percent and 47 percent, respectively. "This performance was driven by continued growth across virtually all product categories and regions of the globe, with jeans and underwear performing exceptionally well," the company said. In addition, the company said the Calvin Klein outlet retail business continued to exhibit strong sales performance. Total outlet comparable-store sales in the quarter fell by 2 percent, with the Calvin Klein outlet business achieving comps growth of 9 percent compared with the heritage brand outlet businesses, which posted a comps decline of 5 percent. "We are very pleased with our second-quarter results, particularly given the current economic environment. Calvin Klein remains a key driver of our growth and profitability as it continues to outperform our expectations, both internationally and domestically. The broad global presence and continued international growth of Calvin Klein has helped to offset the impact of the economic downturn in the U.S. on our heritage brand businesses," said Emanuel Chirico, PVH chairman and chief executive officer. He added the company has been aggressive in taking action to keep inventory levels clean heading into the second half and that the company is on track to convert 25 of the Geoffrey Beene outlet stores into Calvin Klein sites. The company projected full-year 2008 revenue at $2.56 billion to $2.58 billion, an increase of 6 percent over 2007. It maintained its previous projection for full-year earnings per share to be in the range of $3.32 to $3.41.

The "Save the Garment Center" T-shirt.

A T for a Cause

By Marc Karimzadeh

NEW YORK -- The chicest thing to wear this fashion

week may just be a black T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Save the Garment Center." Anna Sui conceived the idea for the T-shirt, which also has e-mail addresses of important New York City officials on the back, to raise awareness of the shrinking manufacturing and production facilities in the Garment Center. She has teamed with several designers to galvanize members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America to find a way to preserve the Garment Center. She specifically worked with Yeohlee Teng, who, on behalf of the CFDA, has been spearheading the issue and served as a liaison between the CFDA board and City Hall. Saving the Garment District is an important issue for Sui, who said zoning law changes have resulted in many landlords looking to redevelop factory buildings in the area into luxury lofts and hotels. "I understand that it's all business, but where are we going to go?" Sui told WWD. "What are we going to do? In my lifetime, I have seen the area changing, but I can't believe New York can't set aside some building designated to preserving the industry here. The CFDA and many other people have been working on trying to come up with a solution for the Garment Center. It's a really difficult process but the longer it goes on, the more businesses will have to leave because they lost their leases or their landlords are raising rents." Sui herself has been experiencing these changes firsthand. Three of her contractors recently lost their leases. While one was able to renegotiate the lease, the other two are still looking for new spaces. "There used to be the little guy who would hand-cut zippers, or who sharpened scissors, and down the line, there were many embroidery people," Sui said. "But now, only a handful of people are left because they couldn't afford the spaces." On Wednesday, several CFDA members sent out a letter raising awareness of the Save the Garment Center campaign and T-shirt. The letter was signed by Sui, Teng, Calvin Klein Collection's Francisco Costa, CFDA executive director Steven Kolb, Lambertson Truex's Richard Lambertson, Nicole Miller, Narciso Rodriguez, Rag & Bone's Marcus Wainwright and Vera Wang. They are asking other CFDA members to circulate the T-shirt at fashion shows and through their Web sites. Sui is also working with design schools such as Parsons the New School for Design, Pratt Institute and the Fashion Institute of Technology to get students involved and raise further awareness of the campaign. "I keep thinking that the enrollment in design schools is up, but where are these kids going to work?" Sui said. "Will they go to China to work?" Kolb concurred, calling this a "grassroots" campaign. "The current zoning that is many years old isn't working," he said. "There has been little or no enforcement or penalty to those forcing the factories out." Kolb noted that while the city is keen to preserve a core of production and manufacturing here, "All we hear is talking and nobody is taking ideas and turning them into action. After many meetings with City Hall, the CFDA is trying to push them to action. Also, Mayor Bloomberg's term in office will soon be over," Kolb added. "If nothing happens while he is mayor, we're afraid nothing ever will." The T-shirts will cost designers $6 each to cover the printing and material costs, and orders for the shirts must be submitted to Thomas Miller at Anna Sui by Friday to secure production in time for fashion week.

Calvin Klein remains a key growth driver for PVH.

share, from $39.1 million, or 68 cents, in the same yearago period. Earnings were also negatively impacted by $5 million in start-up costs associated with the firm's Timberland wholesale men's sportswear business and Calvin Klein specialty retail stores. The company noted the "recent bankruptcy filings of certain of our wholesale customers resulted in a sales shortfall of approximately $6 million in the quarter and negatively impacted pretax earnings by approximately $3 million, or 3 cents a share, which includes the related reserves for uncollectible receivables."

Limited Net Drops, Full-Year Guidance Upped

LIMITED BRANDS INC. ON WEDNESDAY POSTED A significant decline in second-quarter profits, due to an increasingly unfriendly economic landscape, but the firm still raised its yearly guidance. The Columbus, Ohio-based parent of Victoria's Secret, La Senza, Henri Bendel and Bath & Body Works said income fell by 61.4 percent to $102 million for the three months ended Aug. 2, or 30 cents a diluted share, from $264.4 million, or 67 cents, in the same period a year ago. Sales for the quarter fell 12.9 percent to $2.28 billion from $2.62 billion, while comparable-store sales fell 7 percent. For the six months, the company reported a 37 percent drop in income to $199.8 million, or 58 cents a share, from $317.3 million, or 79 cents a share, a year ago. Sales fell 14.7 percent to $4.21 billion from $4.93 billion. Company chairman and chief executive officer Leslie Wexner said Limited Brands was "pleased with its performance in this challenging economic environment." The ceo also boasted: "Our disciplined management of inventory and expenses resulted in earnings per share that exceeded our initial expectations...in spite of negative same-store sales in the quarter." Wexner laid out the company's strategy moving forward. "Although we expect that the environment will continue to remain challenging, we will continue to conservatively manage the financial aspects of the business, while at the same time provide compelling assortments and exciting store experiences to build our brands," he said. The company raised its yearly earnings per share guidance, expecting EPS at $1.45 to $1.60 a share for 2008, excluding first-half items of 20 cents a share. The new figure is up from the $1.38 to $1.58 a share it expected following the announcement of its first-quarter results in May. Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance expect EPS of $1.48 a share. Gross profit for the second quarter accounted for 33.3 percent of net sales.

-- Matthew Lynch

A look by Antik Batik.

Antik Batik Founders Sell 34.2 Percent Stake

By Natasha Montrose

PARIS -- Antik Batik, a French contemporary apparel firm, plans to ramp up its retail expansion thanks to a capital increase. The founder and owners of the company, Gabrielle Cortese and her husband Marc Rioufol, said Wednesday they have sold a 34.2 percent stake to Frédéric Biousse and Elie Kouby who were, respectively, until last year, the general director and commercial director of fashion chain Comptoir des Cotonniers. The company said the investors would bring their know-how in terms of strategy, organization, commercial development and retail. Founded 15 years ago, Antik Batik has made a name for itself with its ethnic-influenced collection and "artisanal" prints. Revenues are projected to reach 15 million euros this year, or about $22 million at current exchange rates. Antik Batik said the influx of capital would be used to expand its workshops and develop new concept stores. The firm operates three boutiques in Paris and wholesales to about 1,500 doors worldwide. The brand recently launched a line of boys' wear, and further product expansions are planned, possibly men's wear.

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WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008

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Unity Key for Success of the Americas MEMO PAD

Congress to expand CAFTA cumulation provisions, which kicked in for CAFTA countries and Mexico ATLANTA -- The only way for the Americas to com- on Aug. 15, to other countries, especially Colombia pete with Asia is to join together and stop compet- and Peru. Cumulation allows raw materials from specified countries to be exported tax-free. ing with each other. He also said that "we are not pleased" with the The message of unity over division was hammered home at the second annual Competitiveness current economic picture in the U.S., but predictForum of the Americas, sponsored by the U.S. ed improvement and called for perspective. "We've had first-quarter growth of 0.9 percent, Department of Commerce this week at the Hyatt Regency hotel here. Officials stressed the need to second-quarter growth of 1.9 percent. We've lost act fast to shore up U.S. trade given rising fuel and 460,000 jobs this year, and we should be creating labor costs in Asia that are creating opportunities 55,000 per month. It will take three to four months to work through the excess inventory in housfor sourcing close to home. ing. The back half of the year and next Convened by Commerce Secretary year will be stronger, but maybe not Carlos M. Gutierrez, and sponthe kind of growth we have had," sored by the City of Atlanta and he said. the Department of Economic In a textile-apparel forum, Development of Georgia, the Department of Commerce event drew 900 attendees. officials echoed Gutierrez's Among them were three calls for Congress to pass heads of state -- Colombian free trade agreements President Alvaro Uribe with Colombia and Velez; President Elias Panama, extend cumulaAntonio Saca Gonzalez of tion provisions, update El Salvador, and Alvaro NAFTA, create more free Uribe Velez, president trade zones and eliminate of Guatemala, as well as barriers that slow down more than 25 senior level transportation, including officials from 30 counCustoms regulations. tries in Central and South David Spooner, assistant America and the Caribbean. secretary for import adminThey gathered for speeches, istration, acknowledged resisworkshops and roundtable Carlos M. tance in the U.S. textile industry discussions on trade, tourism Gutierrez and a protectionist climate, espeand economic development in the cially during the election year. Western Hemisphere. "The U.S. textile industry is obsessed "We aren't here to negotiate or sign treaties, but for a unique opportunity to take away with China, but they need to...integrate the hemiideas that can help tourism and business," said sphere as a region to compete with China," he said. Jerry Cook, vice president of government and Gutierrez. "We have to move away from isolationtrade relations for Hanesbrands Inc., painted a ism to a united competitive spirit." Latin American government officials said trade bleak picture of the current problems for manuagreements and democratization had boosted eco- facturers sourcing in the Americas. Citing archaic nomic development, but called for more public and trade rules, Customs bottlenecks, and security regulations that can cause products to take up to private investment and support for future growth. "The history of [El Salvador] and Central 11 days to get into the U.S., and result in penalties America has been one of conflict, 20 years of wars and charges from retailers, he called for infraand trade fights," said El Salvador President structure improvements, development of human Gonzalez. "We were the last scene of the Cold War. capital and cooperation and exchange of human Now we are a country of democracy and com- resources in the region. Cook stressed two-way trade with Latin America, merce, and economic growth has been up every especially as Hanes' sales in China are growing beyear since 2004." At an opening event Sunday night, Gregory tween 15 and 45 percent a year. He also cited the Meeks (D., N.Y.) promised bipartisan support for need for textile development in the region, espeexpanding free trade in the Western Hemisphere. cially of high-performance fabrics for the compa"If Latin American economies don't thrive, our ny's fast-growing women's athleticwear divisions. "We need to focus on global trade, not just economies don't thrive," he said. "We need a free north to south or regional," he said. "We need to trade agreement of the Americas." In an interview Tuesday, Gutierrez said the acknowledge the elephant in the room. Asia is not number-one priority for apparel-textile trade is for killing us, we're killing ourselves."

By Georgia Lee

MAN DOWN AT ALPHA MEDIA: Could it be Alpha Media Group's Kent Brownridge underestimated the herculean effort it would take to turn

AFL-CIO Sends Message to Swing Voters

By Kristi Ellis

WASHINGTON -- The AFL-CIO sent mailers to

50,000 union swing voters in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania on Wednesday, attacking Sen. John McCain, the Republicans' presumptive presidential nominee, on his pro-trade record and tying job losses in the hard-hit industrial states to "unfair trade" with China. The mailers were the latest shot across the bow by organized labor, which intends to keep trade and its negative impact on communities in the spotlight as thousands of delegates head into the Democrats' national convention next week in Denver. Democrats will nominate Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.), who has been skeptical of trade on the campaign trail, as the challenger to McCain (R., Ariz.) in the race for the White House and the unions hope to capitalize on the two candidates' different trade positions. The AFL-CIO's mailer, featuring a photo of a rank-and-file union member representing electrical workers, cites the loss of three million manufacturing jobs since President Bush took office and infers job losses will continue if McCain wins the election. It questions McCain's stance on free trade in light of the massive job losses in manufacturing as well as his support for China joining the World Trade Organization. The labor group also highlights the $262 billion trade deficit the U.S. has with China, blaming job losses in America on the trade imbalance, and calls into question that nation's workers' rights record, noting a laborer in China makes 50 cents a day and works 15 hours a day, seven days a week. McCain has called for more free trade deals, arguing they boost employment in the U.S. through exports and labeling Democrats as "protectionists." While his campaign did not return a telephone call Wednesday seeking comment on the AFLCIO's mailer, in a separate interview with WWD two weeks ago, a campaign spokesman acknowledged McCain is aware of the downside of trade. "We have to recognize that while trade is beneficial broadly, there are localized dislocations as a result of trade," the spokesman said. "Sen. McCain would provide extra help for people who are dislocated because of trade." But he stressed McCain will continue to pursue free trade policies because 20 to 25 percent of U.S. jobs are linked to trade. Obama has called for a review and stronger enforcement of existing trade agreements and has indicated he would summon Canada and Mexico back to the negotiating table to add stronger labor and environmental protections in the North American Free Trade Agreement. He has also called for scrutiny of China's undervalued currency and contaminated imports. Obama hasn't ruled out negotiated similar accords, but he opposed pending trade deals with South Korea and Colombia, which are also vigorously opposed by the AFL-CIO and other labor groups.

around first three -- and then two -- fledgling men's magazines? Or did Alpha Media owner Quadrangle Group decide the company, now home to Maxim and Blender after the closure of Stuff, would be best served if Brownridge stepped aside? Just a week after he told WWD his first year in business was "harder than I thought it would be," Brownridge on Wednesday relinquished his position as chief executive officer. Stephen Duggan and Glenn Rosenbloom will become co-ceo's of Alpha Media. Duggan was the publisher's chief financial and operating officer, joining the company in June from Publishing Group of America, where he held the same position. Rosenbloom joined in February as Alpha Media's president. He was previously senior vice president/group publishing director for the U.S. consumer magazine division of Disney Publishing. Brownridge will remain as chairman. "I'm going to be a fully involved chairman, but I'm not going Kent to be coming home at 10 o'clock Brownridge every night," he said. "I'm going to take summer Fridays, not go into the office every day, and I'm not going to stay past 5 p.m." Many were surprised Brownridge was stepping aside, considering the former Wenner Media executive is known for his addiction to work and hands-on style. Brownridge told WWD last Friday that he came out of retirement in 2007 because "I got down to my beloved 200-acre farm...and after a day and a half I discovered that I hated it." But the frenzied pace of relaunching a company seemed to have taken a toll on the 68-year-old executive. Between working late and time spent on his BlackBerry outside of the office, "I was doing 100-hour workweeks. Even though my health is excellent, I don't think that would have continued. And I have a new wife who is not happy. There's been no honeymoon, I've had no vacation," said Brownridge on Wednesday. Though he claims the long hours were the reason he's stepping down, others wondered if conflict between him and Quadrangle Partners over the direction of the business was the real reason behind the change. Some close to the company said the partners at Quadrangle, who were described as hands-on owners, were one of the many sending a steady flow of e-mails at all hours to Brownridge's BlackBerry. Brownridge denied there was conflict between him and Quadrangle. Sources close to Quadrangle and Brownridge also believe Alpha's founding ceo could have been pushed aside as Quadrangle looks for a faster return on its investment. During the first year in business, Brownridge folded Stuff into Maxim and hired a slew of staffers, including new editors and publishers at Blender and Maxim and top executives Rosenbloom and Duggan. But business at the magazines still hasn't gained traction. And while a traditional publisher may take a wait-and-see approach to the industry, private equity firms have less patience. "Loyalty, sentiment, commitment, they don't care about any of that stuff. It's all about performance," remarked one publishing insider. Through the first half, Blender carried just 233 ad pages, or 23.5 percent less than in 2007. Maxim reported flat ad page growth, carrying 388 pages, according to Publishers Information Bureau. Circulation for Maxim declined 1 percent to 2.5 million, although Blender's circulation was up 15 percent to about 952,000. "Quadrangle may want more hands-on urgency in terms of taking the business to the next level," said Reed Phillips, managing partner at DeSilva + Phillips. "They may feel that Kent's at the stage in his career where he's better off providing the vision, and working with board level on strategy, not being the person that implements the strategy." Some analysts also believed that in his new role, Brownridge may search for other deals for Quadrangle. -- Stephanie D. Smith

NO LONGER HOME: The shelter category lost another title Wednesday with the closing of Hachette Filipacchi Media's Home magazine with its October issue, a move long predicted. A spokeswoman for Hachette said about a dozen employees were affected on both the business and the editorial sides, and that the company was searching for positions for at least some of them, including publisher John H. Grant. Though the title had largely slipped off the media radar, the symptoms of decline were stark for anyone paying attention: editor in chief Olivia Monjo died in May, but Hachette had not yet moved to replace her; the company reorganized its shelter group to cross-sell luxury advertising with Elle Decor and Metropolitan Home, leaving Home out in the cold; ad pages were down 30.9 percent in the first half of the year, to 206 pages, a significant decline even in a challenged category, and Home's circulation shrank from over a million five years ago to about 800,000. And in an increasingly niche-oriented magazine industry, Home never quite established a strong brand presence. A company statement Wednesday, attributed the move to a "steep decline in the middle market for the shelter category." Hachette president and chief executive officer Jack Kliger made the decision at the end of his tenure in that position. Overall, the shelter category has seen the exits of Condé Nast's House & Garden and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's Blueprint, as well as the scaling back of Vogue Living. But major shelter titles' ad business hasn't been totally undermined by the housing bust and the overall grim economy. Pages in the first half of 2008 were up for Architectural Digest (up 3.9 percent, to 816 pages), House Beautiful (up 13.4 percent, to 374.5 pages), and Home's still-extant sister titles at Hachette (Elle Decor was up 2.1 percent, to 578 pages, and Metropolitan Home was up 3.9 percent, to 494 pages). Domino was flat at 307 pages. A more mass-market and probably more comparable title, Better Homes & Gardens, still pulled in 840 pages in the first half, but was down 12.7 percent. -- Irin Carmon

6

WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008

Staerk Passage

PHOTOS BY JOHN AQUINO

THE FIRST THING THAT STRIKES YOU WHEN YOU walk into Camilla Staerk's new downtown store is a framed image by artist Hans Henrik Lerfeldt. It's one of his more subdued works -- he's famous for his erotic, blue art -- and features a pretty, veiled face with a giant fly planted over her forehead. "There's something very sexy and mysterious about her," says Staerk. "His women are always portrayed to be chic and powerful." It doesn't take a genius to figure out the appeal in having a strong, stylish muse greet the visitor at Staerk's first boutique. But the underlying reason for Henrik Lerfeldt's presence here is far more straightforward: Staerk's Danish, he's Danish. And he happens to be a friend of her father's. Indeed, every single element in the 500-square-foot store has a personal tale behind it. The elegant leather and walnut wood chair, also by a fellow Dane, Finn Juhl, comes courtesy of Staerk's dad, who owns a furniture company back in their native Denmark. That undulating Holmegaard ceramic vase right beside it? It's called the

Karen Blixen vase. "She's my all-time hero," says Staerk of the "Out of Africa" author, who used the pen name Isak Dinesen. Even the off-white paint on the walls has a story. "It's the shade of my nail polish," she explains. "Blanc Ceramic by Chanel." But it's not just her Scandinavian heritage at play here; the store is outfitted with a number of equestrian motifs. Case in point: the riding helmet encased near the front of the shop. The topper is actually Staerk's own, from her teenage days as a competitive equestrian. It's significant that Staerk has planted her retail roots in New York rather than in Denmark or London, where she launched her label in 2000. Manhattan, and her Mulberry Street store, marks a new stage in her career. She moved here two years ago after she had a falling out with her London backers and lost the rights to the Camilla Staerk moniker -- and renamed her company Staerk. "I combined the relaunch with the move here," she says. "I've always wanted to move to New York. When I decided to unfortunately leave my label, I thought,

Camilla Staerk

`OK, this is the time to start over.'" Though her work skewed more colorful and sportif as a result of her Big Apple relocation, Staerk's currently revisiting her early design vibes in dark and slightly Gothic fare. Fall 2008 was the first move back in that direction. "I'm going back to my roots in leather and texture," she says. "It's been fun to go back to my starting point with a different perspective." There may be a good reason for all these retro glances. She's been negotiating with her previous backers and might very well get her Camilla Staerk name back. Also new for the designer: a capsule collection of lacquered black wood jewelry, exclusive to her boutique. She will also feature reissues of her classic leather crochet clutches and the sunglasses she has developed with Selima Salaun of Selima Optique. To celebrate the shop's opening today, Staerk is launching an e-commerce site as well. Perhaps the most exciting part about the brick-and-mortar venue, for Staerk at least, is the 1000-square-foot design studio in the back. A curtain, cut from her signature liquid jersey fabric, separates this from the sales floor. "I'm not paying additional rent so this is good," says Staerk, adding that surplus denim scraps are being remade into shopping bags for the store. Though that's not the only recycling going on here. The designer points to the pin in the signature head wrap she sports. "This is from a cravat I used to wear in riding competitions," she remarks.

Staerk's Mulberry Street shop.

-- Venessa Lau

Shopping The Plaza

pact [wealthy] clientele," said Meyer Assouline, owner of Maurice Fine Jewelry (who is no relation to Prosper Assouline of Assouline Books). million renovation, which brings Assouline was referring to the fact the landmarked building's interiors the reconfigured Plaza has only 130 closer to their 1907 origins, is relahotel rooms compared with the fortively understated compared with mer 800, with the other 670 being conthe previous incarnation and Ivana verted to residences. Maurice's averTrump's gold accents, yards of red age sale since opening is significantly brocade fabric and Oriental carpets higher, Assouline said, adding the jewon steroids. eler already sold a $675,000 ruby ring. The restrained approach extends "I'm showing a 28-carat vivid yellow to The Plaza's shops, which will need diamond ring today that's priced at a all the traffic they can get to justify couple of million dollars. The people the rents that retail brokers put in who have money, have money." the $1,500-a-square-foot range. When the Plaza Retail Collection Assouline, which occupies a has a soft opening next month, its 800-square-foot perch on the mezzadedicated entrance on West 58th nine above the new hotel lobby, could Fine jewelry at The Plaza. Street should be finished. The muleasily be missed with its restrained exterior. During a tour of The Plaza on Wednesday, tilevel mini-mall has white floors and crystal chandeAnthony Nicola, general manager of The Plaza Retail liers. So far, the only retailer operating in the mall is Collection, acknowledged the shop may be too discreet. Vertu, the luxury mobile phone company with prices "We wanted to make sure it blended into the lobby," he ranging from $5,100 for the Constellation to $75,000 for a phone with black-and-white diamonds. With said. "We might add a little red [to the logo]." Down a short hall past the registration desk is a $310,000 model designed in collaboration with Maurice Fine Jewelry, which bowed last month. The Boucheron and decorated with a ruby snake with emjeweler operated a store at The Plaza prior to the reno- erald eyes, and two 2-carat diamonds, Vertu is countvation, but completely changed its merchandise assort- ing on the wealthy residents of The Plaza's apartments, ment when it reopened in a new location. "We went a which sold for $5.8 million to $50 million each. One of the bigger shops, at 1,500 square feet, will lot more upscale. We're now catering to a more com-

Assouline, the Warren-Tricomi salon and Vertu at The Plaza.

By Sharon Edelson

NEW YORK -- The Plaza's recent $400

WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008 7 WWD.COM

Eryn Brinié's SoHo store.

FASHION SCOOPS

ON THE ROAD: A DKNY-colored DKNY, which City Harvest fetes its 20th truck. anniversary this year, is cooking up something special to give back to New York, its base and constant source of inspiration. The brand is teaming up with nonprofit food rescue program City Harvest this fall, and will transform 15 of its trucks in colors from DKNY's fall campaign, including splashes of apple green, teal, purple and cobalt. To benefit City Harvest, DKNY also collaborated with Dog-Eared jewelry, and created a special "Make a Wish" necklace, which will be sold at DKNY's New York stores as well as DKNY.com. All net profits from each necklace sale will go to the organization. DKNY plans to further raise awareness on Sept. 15 at a party it will host to celebrate Vanity Fair magazine's anniversary. The store will feature tasting stations from New York restaurants. TOKYO CALLING: Rei, Yohji and Junya may have defected to Paris Fashion Week long ago, but the Japanese runways are alive and kicking -- albeit featuring designers flying way under American radars. On Tuesday, Japan Fashion Week aimed to change all that as the next round of shows approach Sept. 1 to 7. The organizers held a party at Aloha Rag on Greenwich Street in New York, bastion of those never-heard-of-labels. There, a crowd of downtown types said "aloha" to looks by emerging Tokyo talent, such as Ylang Ylang, Mercibeaucoup, Ato and Mikio Sakabe. Styles ranged from knits to outwear, and the collective ethos followed the Japanese masters' quirky and avant-garde tradition. POSEN'S END NOTE: Thanks to American Express, Zac Posen will have the final word of the New York spring collections. On Sept. 12 at 9:30 p.m., the financial and travel giant will take over the tents at Bryant Park for a private card-members-only show featuring Posen's designs. "Zac is one of the most creative designers around," said Jessica Igoe, director of marketing and sponsorships for American Express. "At retail, he's definitely a card member favorite, so we're very excited to present our clients this opportunity." The event will begin with a reception, followed by a reprise of the designer's spring show in the main tent. Afterward, Posen will take questions from the crowd. "This program is our way of enhancing the access our card members have to designers," added Igoe. Beginning at 10 a.m. today, American Express card holders can purchase tickets to the event. Proceeds from ticket sales will contribute to the $500,000 donation American Express will make this year to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

PHOTO BY KYLE ERICKSEN

Character Studies

WHEN ERYN BRINIE OPENS ITS DOORS ON Broadway in SoHo today, shoppers might wonder about the name behind the store. It belongs to a French designer living in New Y ork, who, if the clothes that line the 2,700-square-foot shop reflect her personal style, likes her fashion slouchy and chic. She's also pure fiction. Eryn Brinié is a character dreamed up by the label's South Korean design and marketing team. The company was launched last fall by Avista, a Seoul-based apparel group that operates three other brands, BNX, Tankus and Kai-Aakmann, with a total of 212 stores in South Korea. "In the Korean market, there has been a big trend toward anything related to French chic," says Kris Jeon, Eryn Brinié's U.S. managing director, of the collection's somewhat gimmicky concept. "So far it's been really well-received in [South] Korea. There's a bit of mysteriousness to the name, which was a good way to get people interested in the brand because they want to know who Eryn Brinié is." Of course, Jeon and Co. realize that the name won't sound as unique to the American ear. And while the brand's Korean Web site further promotes the company's fictional designer by way of an online diary, similar steps do not yet exist here, where the appeal will more likely lie in Eryn Brinié's snappy fashion and accessible prices. "We are trying to fill the gap between mass retailers, like H&M and Zara, and contemporary brands by providing a higher-end design aesthetic at a very reasonable price," says Jeon. Thus, fall's ombré knit cardigans in soft pastels, ruffled miniskirts, jeans, leather jackets and skinny pants average between $85 and $90. With 37 stores in South Korea and two in Shanghai, China, the New York store, which was designed by Studios Architecture and works the mainstream side of modern, is Eryn Brinié's first foray into the U.S. market, where the company sees major growth potential. "The Korean market is very fragmented and saturated for retailers, and the U.S. is one of the biggest markets in the world, so we're really looking to grow there," says Jeon, noting that the line, which is just beginning to wholesale (accounts include Planet Blue in Los Angeles and Lounge in New York), plans to open eight to 10 more stores in the New York area in the next year. Looks like Eryn Brinié is going to be one busy girl.

Lutz & Patmos Lures Birkin

LUTZ & PATMOS HAS LINED Jane up Jane Birkin as its newest Birkin guest designer -- quite a leap from the Amtrak conductor who last held that title. The British actress and chanteuse has been on the brand's wish list for some time, since she has been its unofficial muse. Tina Lutz, who designs the collection with Marcia Patmos, flew to Paris in May to hang out with Birkin in her Paris apartment and discuss design ideas. Dressed in Levi's, a slouch cashmere sweater and Converse sneakers, the 61-year-old embodies the label's low-key style. "She has this really relaxed, nonchalant style without being overtly sexy, which is very sexy," Lutz said. Well-known for her humanitarian activism with Amnesty International, Birkin chose an Italian-made organic cashmere for the scoopneck, slim-fitting, elongated tank with crochet details she designed. There is also a wide V-neck with a raw edge neckline with slightly flared three-quarter-length sleeves. "It's a cool little sweater that can fall over one shoulder. That's probably how Jane would wear it," Lutz said. Price points haven't been set. Despite her movie roles, including "Blowup," and her former status as Serge Gainsbourg's sidekick, Birkin is not big on public appearances. Given that, it's unclear if she will make a cameo at Lutz & Patmos' Sept. 9 presentation in New York. Aside from being the mother of Kate Barry, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, Birkin is the namesake of Hermès' most coveted handbag -- something she may have need for in her next film project. Now that she has wrapped up her latest album, "Winter Children," she is preparing to play the role of a fashion editor. "I already feel the part, thanks to you," she told Lutz.

PHOTO BY PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

-- Jessica Iredale

be The Plaza Boutique, selling private label jewelry, crystal and home products, as well as a Betsey Johnson-designed T-shirt benefiting Fashion Targets Breast Cancer. Also on the upper level concourse are Morgenthal Frederics, Manrico and MCM, which will have an open-sell shop. The lower concourse will have a koi pond near Demel, the Viennese bakery that claims to be the keeper of the original Sacher torte recipe. The center of the floor will be occupied by Kenneth Jay Lane and a beauty concept developed by Warren-Tricomi, which in July unveiled a 6,100-square-foot salon on The Plaza's second floor. A striking space with stone walls, black granite floors and a high-tech entertainment system, the salon was buzzing. Warren-Tricomi's 1,200-squarefoot open-sell beauty space on the lower concourse will include a fragrance bar, brow bar, skin care and color cosmetics, accessories and tools such as curling irons. Along the perimeter of the floor there will be shops for 10,000 Things, Seize Sur Vingt, Arthur, Dutch lingerie and swimwear label Marlise Dekkers, Pat Areais Sterling and Eton, a Swedish shirtmaker that designed a $40,000 shirt with diamond-encrusted studs and cuff links. Domenico Vacca is opening a women's-only shop and Ghurka has decided to open a larger store and is leasing two adjacent spaces on the lower concourse. Nicola has repeatedly said his goal for the Plaza Retail Collection is to create an eclectic group of stores that could become a destination for New Yorkers, tourists and Plaza residents alike. If anything, the result may be too eclectic, however. Iradj Moini, Anna Hu Fine Jewelry and Qiviuk, a knitwear brand that uses the inner down of the Canadian Arctic musk ox, may be obscure to many consumers. "We really have been extremely careful selecting tenants and adjacencies," Nicola said. "We're over 95 percent leased. We have only one women's fashion space and one men's [remaining]. [People] will come to The Plaza for distinctive brands."

PHOTOS BY KYLE ERICKSEN

-- Rosemary Feitelberg

8

WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008

WWD.COM

Denim Report

New Owners Look to Revive French Dressing

Beach, N.C., has also been carrying the line for about 10 years. According to Holden, the line "fits everyone's purse and their body." getting a second chance at life. Beyond the product, Holden As the label approached its 100th also praised the company's longanniversary last year, management was standing involvement with charibusy contemplating the pending banktable causes. ruptcy of parent company FDJ Monde "We had an event called Cure by Inc. rather than planning a celebration Design, which raised over $140,000 of its history. In December, the company for breast cancer and they were a filed for bankruptcy protection, throwmajor sponsor," said Holden. ing the future of the line in doubt. Michelle Kesten of Casual Way Six months later in June, a group in Toronto has been a long-time cusof local apparel industry executives tomer because she said FDJ "make picked up the brand for an undisclosed a great pair of pants that really fit amount and formed a new company, women. Now we carry tops and jackdubbed FDJ French Dressing Inc. The ets to complement the line." group was headed by Canadian appar"Once you know you're a Suzanne el conglomerate Groupe Corwik Inc. or a Kylie, you know the jeans will and claims annual revenues of more always fit," she added. "I also like than $100 million. With new managethe company's community involvement in place and a return to a focus ment with breast cancer." on denim product, the company is Len Miller, Noah Stern, Glen Eisenberg and Ayal Twik. As part of a marketing program in the midst of relaunching French designed by Precision Advertising about 2,000 boutiques and specialty stores Dressing Jeans for fall. throughout Canada and the United States. & Promotions, FDJ donates $1 to breast cancer research "One of the main reasons we bought The 10-oz. jeans are made from 96 percent every time a person tries on a pair of their jeans. the company was the strength of the "As part of our co-op advertising program, we also denim and 4 percent Lycra. Retail prices brand and it also complements our send a CD to retailers containing visuals to use in-store range from $79 to $89. existing lines," said Noah Stern, The jeans come in four styles accord- or to put in their local newspaper. All they have to do president of Levy Canada Fashion, ing to body type. The Peggy is a regular rise is drop in the store's name in the ad," said Precision who rescued FDJ along with Corwik with a waistband that sits at the body's natu- president Glen Eisenberg. and its senior managers. Island Breeze has used the material from FDJ for print ral waistline. The Olivia, a midrise style, sits Levy and Corwik are the Canadian lian inch below the body's natural waistline. ads, billboards and a newsletter, according to Holden. censees for a number of lines, including The new owners plan to spend $2 million on marketThe Suzanne features a regular rise with taiLiz Claiborne, Betsey Johnson, Perry Ellis, lored hips and slimmer thighs, while the Kylie is ing and promotional initiatives this year to put the focus Dalia, Boca Authentic and Studio London. a lower rise jean with a waistband that sits two back on FDJ's roots. FDJ started in 1908 as Keystone Overall FDJ only sells to boutiques and specialty stores, said inches below the body's natural waistline. & Pants Manufacturing Ltd. and gradually "When we were doing our due diligence, we Stern. He said the company has been approached by deadded jeans and jackets. The company did visited customers and they all told us to go back to partment stores, but won't go that route. well from the Seventies through the Nineties, "We don't want to play the high-low promotion game. doing what we do best, which is to make denim for a but efforts to expand beyond core denim of40-year-old body and not for a 40-year-old trying to fit It's part of our four pillars of success -- fit, quality, cusferings into sportswear were rushed and coininto jeans made for an 18-year-old," explained Stern. tomer service and a commitment to the independent or cided with a declining economy in the U.S. "And once a woman knows what style is right for her, specialty store market." "It's a more focused line now than in the Stern noted that 89 percent of merchandise in Canada she knows it will fit her season after season." past," said Len Miller, former president of FDJ was sold on sale last year. But boutiques are built on serEarly response from customers has been positive. Monde, who briefly retired from the company be"Once you know your style, the jeans fit every sea- vice and usually only go on sale at the end of the season. fore the new partners installed him as president Ayal Twik, vice president of FDJ, said bookings for son," said Janice Burns, who has been carrying the of the renamed FDJ French Dressing Inc. "We got line for the last 10 years at her 3 Generations spring are 25 percent ahead of last year, while repeats lost by going casual and adding dressy botboutique in Simpsonville, S.C. "It's a good sell- for fall are also up. toms, then tops. We're now taking a rifle apThe Kylie, a "The number-one reason is the strength of the er and the only jean line we carry." proach rather than a shotgun approach." low-rise style. Clarice Holden of Island Breeze in Sunset brand," said Twik. "It has a cult following." FDJ targets the 35-plus age group through

By Brian Dunn

MONTREAL -- French Dressing Jeans is

Seven For All Mankind Ramps Up Asian Expansion

By Ross Tucker

NEW YORK -- Seven For All Mankind is stepping up its expansion efforts in Asia. The Los Angeles-based premium denim label, owned by manufacturing giant VF Corp., said this week that it had reached a distribution agreement with South Korea's Cheil Industries Inc. Mike Egeck Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but include the planned opening of six shops-in-shops in major department stores this year. "[Cheil Industries] has over 50 years of experience in the fashion and textiles industry, as well as the motivation to build a strong retail business for us in Korea," said Giuliano Sartori, vice president and general manager of Seven's Asia-Pacific division. Cheil was founded in 1954 and entered the fashion business in the Eighties. The company currently holds sportswear and accessories distribution agreements for a number of leading fashion labels, including Theory, Issey Miyake, Givenchy, Nine West, Easy Spirit and Fubu. Seven's South Korea deal comes a little more than a month after the brand said it had found a distribution partner to expand its presence in Hong Kong and China. On June 25, Seven revealed it had reached an agreement with Fairton International Group Ltd. to open between 30 and 40 stores throughout the region over the next five years. Like the South Korea agreement, Seven partnered with an established firm handling a long list of established labels. Fairton, founded in 1955, operates stores in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan and Macau and counts brands such as Jean Paul Gaultier, MaxMara and Kookai among its client list. The China partnership was quick to bear fruit. On July 3, Seven opened its first international store in Hong Kong's IFC mall. Seven and Fairton have targeted Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Macau and Taipei, Taiwan, for future store locations in the region. Mike Egeck, chief executive officer of Seven and president of VF's contemporary brands division, told WWD in May that The label's first international store at the growth in Asia would center on IFC mall in Hong Kong opened on July 3. company-owned retail as the primary avenue of distribution. Ultimately Egeck believes the Asian market has the potential for more than 100 stores. "If you want to build a great consumer brand in today's world, you need these showcase stores to speak directly to the consumer," he said. Meanwhile, the brand is moving forward on the goal of opening between 100 and 120 stores in the U.S. On Aug. 7, the label opened the doors of its first New York flagship. The 3,000-square-foot store at 394 West Broadway in SoHo is Seven's fourth full-price domestic unit -- joining stores in Los Angeles, Dallas and Malibu, Calif. -- and also its largest.

15%

PHOTO BY KYLE ERICKSEN

Amount of global cotton supply used by the denim industry.

SOURCE: COTTON INC.

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The Beat

Retailers Remain Upbeat at Dallas Market

By Holly Haber

DALLAS -- Caution was the theme of the day at the four-day fashion market at

FashionCenterDallas here. While retailers in Texas and nearby states said business remained good because their areas so far have escaped the economic downturn, buyers generally were watching their dollars and looking for items that would excite their customers. "Attendance was slightly down over last year; however, we were pleased with the overall numbers and good attendance from our region," said Cindy Morris, chief operating officer of the Dallas Market Center and FCD, of the show, which closed Aug. 18. "We're fortunate to be in an area of the country that is faring better than the rest of the United States, and Dallas continues to be a cost-efficient travel choice for buyers." Because market spanned Texas' annual three-day tax holiday for clothing priced under $100, some retailers kept to their stores to capitalize on the traditionally busy weekend. Traffic may also have been affected by the overlapping show at AmericasMart in Atlanta. The Dallas Market Center hosted a prom show the three days preceding the fashion market to avoid conflict with Atlanta. (See sidebar, this page.) "Some very good stores were there, but everyone was very cautious -- some expressed downright fear about the current slowdown in business," said designer Carol Peretz, speaking after market ended. "I heard negative comments about the sameness of lines and the multitude of markets -- New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, New York again -- in the space of five or six weeks. But at the same time, they were figuring out how to survive until things improved or how to make things improve." Still, there were bright spots. "Overall when I talk to accounts I hear more positives than negatives," observed Brad Ritz, owner of Ritz Group multiline showroom. "Traffic was off a little bit, but we ended up flat to '07 and considering these economic times, I'm very happy with that." "We had a good show," said Allison Lee Cooke, owner of Launch contemporary showroom. "The maxidress was the single biggest trend. They all wanted that -- and bright colors." Retailers have been buying more selectively all year, and at this show they responded to floral and leaf prints, both fitted and easy silhouettes, slim jeans, safari jackets and jewelry with turquoise and other semiprecious stones. Most said their budgets were flat as they sought to finish holiday or check out resort and spring deliveries. Business has been "phenomenal" at Tina's in Galveston, Tex., said Tina LeCornu, owner. The coastal city benefited this summer from a greater number of visitors from Houston, Louisiana and Oklahoma as people vacationed closer to home, LeCornu noted. As store manager Boyce Pryor ordered Sandra Ling's goldplated and semiprecious bangles, she noted their customer "doesn't mind spending the money if it looks good." At the same time, however, she was seeking well-priced accessories that offered a greater markup to counter rising fees for freight and handling. "Elite metallic python-print totes are an incredible price -- $39," she said. Pryor was also enthusiastic about AM Alberto Makali's printed tunics and dresses plus a

Ball Skirts and Slim Gowns: Prom Trends Aplenty

COME NEXT SPRING, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS at their proms are likely to be decked out in slim gowns with open, jeweled backs; short cocktail dresses, animal prints and Cinderella ballgowns with pintucked taffeta or tulle skirts. These were the main trends at the prom show that ran Aug. 11 to 13 at the Dallas Market Center. The magic retail price for prom dresses was about $300, according to retailers and vendors. Meanwhile, white, ivory and pale pink quincenera ballgowns, which are worn for lavish 15th birthday celebrations among Hispanics, were also a focal point as a growing business, retailers said. "Business was up from last year," said Ron Calk, sales representative for PC Mary's, a Houston vendor. "There was a lot more excitement about prom and optimism about the economy. The stores are buying deeper and lower-priced goods. Girls are still going to prom, but they are not spending as much money." "Attendance was not what we expected, but the people who were here bought extremely well," said Marty Boikess, sales representative for Mori Lee. "It was across the board -- ballgowns, slinky, animal prints and short." While this show was held largely in temporary space on the first floor of the World Trade Center, the DMC plans to establish a cluster of prom and bridal showrooms on the 14th floor that open at the Oct. 23 to 26 show.

A dress by Yoana Baraschi.

$1,048

THE AVERAGE AMOUNT THAT TEENS SPEND ON PROM INCLUDING FASHION, TRANSPORTATION, BEAUTY, TICKETS, DINNER AND DATE'S EXPENSES.

SOURCE: YOUR PROM MAGAZINE

"

We're fortunate to be in an area of the country that is faring better than the rest of the United States, and Dallas continues to be a cost-efficient travel choice for buyers.

"

-- Cindy Morris, Dallas Market Center

new line of easy linen and cotton sportswear called Cannise. "It has a beautiful hand and a rich look," she said. "Our customer wants to feel good about herself. We don't buy trendy." Debbie Downs was finishing her holiday buy and picking up accessories for My Secret Closet in Dallas. The store presents new contemporary merchandise in the front and resale at the rear, and both areas are posting double-digit increases, she said. "My customers are not caring about prices, but I have a wide range -- tops from $42 to $150," she said. For younger clients, Downs picked up colorful printed dresses and tunics with touches of beading from Blissitude and Joyous & Free. She also invested more heavily in Eva Varro's printed knit tunics that can be worn as dresses or tops because they appeal to women over 40. "Eva Varro retails around $110 to $130, and we sell out of it," Downs noted. "We never seem to have enough for the mid-40-plus who want something hip with a bit of a sleeve." Downs also bought Nakamol's goldplated and semiprecious jewelry featuring circles lined with semiprecious stones and peace-sign necklaces by Funky Junque. Maxidresses caught the eye of Alice Winders, buyer for Susan Marie's misses' and contemporary store in Salado, Tex., the picturesque village where Jenna Bush held the rehearsal dinner for her wedding in May. "We are really trying to find new and different things for 10/30 and 11/30 deliveries," Winder said. "I love the patio dresses -- they are very flattering on people. Joyous & Free has great ones." She also praised Dolce Cabo's lavish fur-trimmed cashmere wraps. Business has also been solid for Miriam Garvey, whose namesake contemporary store is in Fairway, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City. "Business is good," Garvey said. "Kansas City has one of the most stable economies in the country." Garvey said she was shopping for more recognizable brands as she wrote an order for JW LA's black embroidered three-quarter sleeve blouse and mixed print drawstring Empire tiered dress in rayon georgette. She also checked out new washes from Seven For All Mankind, noting the label's "Ginger" jean with a narrow leg and flare was a bestseller. It has been a little challenging at Polly Adams, an upscale store in the border city of Laredo, Tex. "Every sale takes a lot of energy," noted Lisa Miller, buyer. "It has to be very special these days, but not so trendy that you can't wear it more than one season. It has to be worth their money." Shoppers from Mexico are spending more freely, she added. "Our first customer yesterday [from Mexico] spent $2,000," she said. As she ordered a crosshatch denim jean from Cambio, Miller noted, "My customer wants things to the body. She does not want the baby doll."

A Cynthia Steffe look.

PHOTOS BY NAN COULTER

"The strong response to the prom market is exciting as we look forward to opening the new home of prom and bridal on the 14th floor," said Robbin Wells, executive vice president of leasing at the DMC. "The specially branded neighborhood furthers our commitment to the prom and bridal industry and its presence here in Dallas." Prom and quincenera dresses were strong last spring and are dependable businesses, retailers said. "Wedding, prom or quincenera is such a significant event that it's something that people will continue to do," observed Tina Loyd, owner of Terry Costa, a leading special occasion store in Dallas. "My prom business was up this year -- we had a record April. I will spend about the same for next spring." Loyd came to see what was new but planned to order in October when she knew what would be advertised and cut. She is also developing a quincenera business through a bilingual saleswoman. Quincenera has been increasing for the last five years at J. Saunders, a 38-year-old specialty store in Fort Worth, said owner Melanie Saunders. "A lot of the girls used to have everything done in Mexico, and now it's local," she said. "Many of the wedding dresses in white, ivory and pink translate to quincenera, and Tiffany and Mori Lee have quincenera divisions." J. Saunders had its biggest year ever in 2007, and sales are matching that this year, Saunders said. "We are keeping our budget the same for spring," she said. "We are going after it aggressively in terms of getting merchandise early. We're getting some in November for homecoming." Saunders, who was searching for Audrey Hepburninspired dresses, praised an elegant black halter gown with a pale pink two-tier tulle skirt by Juan Carlos Pinera. She also planned to order liquid sequined gowns by Maggie Sottero that sold well last spring. Christopher Nevarez, owner of Christopher's Bridal in Hot Springs, Ark., expects a strong season. He's pushing business by hosting fashion shows and workshops and catering to the three pageants held in Hot Springs -- Miss Arkansas, Miss Teen Arkansas and Mrs. Arkansas. "Short, trendy dresses is what they're asking for, and more fitted looks but not that much sparkle," Nevarez observed, citing Juan Carlos Pinera's cream jersey cocktail dress with a plunge neckline and silver beading.

-- H.H.

12

WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008

WWD.COM

Out of Town News in Harvard Square.

LET T

FROM ER

,2 AUG. 21

CAMBRIDGE

SCENE

With shoppers from around the world, Harvard Square offers a potpourri of noteworthy spots to eat and shop. Here are a few. Curated by The Tannery: This specialty retailer opened in 2007, but its mix of contemporary labels got even stronger with the addition of women's buyer Brittany Rothweiler. She's brought in more clean-lined, feminine labels like Shipley & Halmos, Cloak & Dagger and Lorick (the line used as "Gossip Girls" character Eleanor Waldorf's own label). Tarek Hassan, co-owner with uncle Sam Hassan, used industry leverage to score exclusives like the Jeffrey KalinskySperry Top-Sider collaboration that produced neon Top-Siders. Rothweiler says the store draws students not just from Harvard and MIT, but from throughout the metropolitan area. Average transactions are $200 to $300. "Being surrounded by colleges and in the heart of Harvard Square means students are a constant flow," said Hassan. "The area also draws an international student population. To them, America is `on sale,' which drives a lot of business." The store gives students with valid ID 10 percent off denim purchases. Dresses are also a backbone of the business. "Dresses are huge," said Rothweiler. "There are formals all the time." Marimekko: Touring Finland in the late Sixties, architect Ben Thompson fell in love with Marimekko designs and brought them to sell at Design Research Headquarters, an iconic glassand-steel furnishings store he designed in Harvard Square. The bright, childlike designs -- different from the era's stodgy florals -- were a huge hit with students. Forty years later, Cambridge merchants Jonathan and Judy deMont discovered Baby Boomers still hold a torch for Marimekko. With the blessing of Marimekko brass, she opened the first U.S. concept store in Huron Village, following the design company's specs about color science and lighting. Fabric by the yard has taken off, said deMont. "We're getting calls from New York designers wanting to order," she confirmed. The fashion, with its distinctive layering of tonal prints, is also going strong. With so many students stuffed into Cambridge, sandwich joints also stand out. A few to bite into are: · High-Rise Bakery: With two Cambridge outposts, it offers sandwiches named for an odd cast of regulars. Whether they know the story or not, customers order Bill's Seoul Show (grilled chicken, bacon and tarragon mayo on corn bread). · Darwin's Ltd.: The retro Busch beer sign out front and sammies with street names (like the chicken-pesto Fayerweather) make it a Harvard student fave. · Formaggio Kitchen: Located in Huron Village, this foodie's paradise (umpteen kinds of honey, a cheese cave) often sells out of sandwiches before the afternoon ends. · All Star Sandwich Bar: Fittingly named, this Inman Square spot sports a glass jar of help-yourself Oreos on the counter, crispy fries (offered poutine, with gravy and cheese curd, Canadian style) and sandwich specials like "funky" (pork loin with peach salsa) and "extra funky" (grilled chicken topped with jack cheese creamed spinach).

PHOTOS BY MEGHAN JONES

Boston's Bohemian Neighbor

small ethnic restaurants and serves as unofficial campus for Lesley University; Inman Square has become CAMBRIDGE, MASS., SITS JUST ACROSS THE CHARLES a draw for the young married-with-children set with River from Boston, yet this city of about 100,000 peo- its upscale toy shops, children's wear boutiques and ple -- home to Harvard University and Massachusetts brunch spots, and Kendall Square, near MIT, has Institute of Technology -- has a rhythm unlike its neigh- added new glamour (and the nickname Genetown) thanks to the booming biotech sector, which ushered bor's urban churn. An intellectual town with an earthy, liberal bent, in thousands of square feet of new lab space, luxury Cambridge has as many bookstores as fashion retailers. condos and development of a new mixed-use transit People walk and bike in all seasons, pairing loose, bo- hub, North Point. Governor Deval Patrick's life sciences initiative, signed hemian garb with backpacks and comfort shoes. Grocers here sold wheat germ in bulk decades before Whole into law in June, will invest $1 billion over a decade to Foods arrived. In 2006, Cambridge City Hall issued the foster start-ups. No doubt the ripple effect will help established players like Amgen, Genzyme, Wyeth Research, first same-sex marriage licenses in America. "I've seen more `Eve Was Framed' bumper stickers and Biogen IDEC and others calling Cambridge home. But the hub of Cambridge remains Harvard Square, posters counting down [President George W.] Bush's last days here than anywhere," says James Burnett, editor of which throngs with suburban high school kids and tourBoston magazine and a Cambridge resident. "At the end of ists in the months when students aren't in session. Retail the day, though, there is also a fair amount of money here, anchors there include the Harvard Coop, a massive student emporium selling books and household goods; the so these are hippies with Champagne tastes." Case in point: Harvard Square fine jeweler Baak Curious George bookstore; urban mall The Garage; esoGallery may sell hefty diamonds, but promotes them as teric beauty pharmacy Colonial Drug, and The Tannery, a family footwear and jeanswear store that spun off two conflict-free from Canada. People travel from across the globe to study here, with fashionable subbrands in recent years: Concept Shoes an estimated 13,200 students in Cambridge driving the and Curated by The Tannery. In September, Cambridge native Jessica Good will economy with the money they spend and jobs they create. Harvard and MIT are the city's biggest employers, ac- open Passport, a travel-inspired apparel and accessocording to the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, creat- ries boutique in Harvard Square. She'll carry labels ing a stable employment base that's helped cushion the like White + Warren cashmere and LnA T-shirts, figuring that with a flow of students, tech entrepreneurs, city against recession. Additionally, the weak dollar has boosted European researchers and academics passing through there's a need for packable, versatile clothing and a decent rolltourism and sales, said several shop owners. In personal dress, students range from style-agnostic er bag. (Statistics favor her proposition -- 26 percent of to J. Crew prep to sophisticated international appeal. Cambridge residents in 2000 were foreign-born, accordThe Harvard Business School set -- particularly after ing to U.S. Census data.) "I've always loved about Cambridge that you can litcollecting a couple of years of postgrad salary -- is erally walk down the street and not hear one word of known to be "comfortable with fashion," said retailers. As for the undergrads, boutique owners agree a true English," Good said. "And the fashion scene is as varied. bonanza comes during the semiannual parents' week- There will be guys with 12-inch Mohawks walking next to professors in tweed." ends, when family shopping visits flourish. Cambridge Local First, a business advocacy organization, has more than 250 members promoting local shopping through door decals and neighborhood events. When an Abercrombie & Fitch opened in Harvard Square in the late Nineties, there was much hand-wringing over a feared "mall-ization" of the square. Abercrombie eventually closed after a brief run. Cambridge's loose organization into "Squares" -- which are essentially mini communities tucked around separate commercial hubs -- gives the city a handful of distinct neighborhoods. The major squares -- Porter, Central, Kendall and Harvard -- are located along the axis of the Red Line T line, but there are other squares as well. Each has its own identity: Gritty The Red Line T links Central Square is famous for Middle Cambridge's major squares. Eastern and other music clubs; Porter Square has bookstores, lounges and

By Katherine Bowers

00 8

Judy deMont, owner of Marimekko in Huron Village.

VITAL STATS

HISTORY: City founded in 1630 by Puritan colonists and named Cambridge in 1638 with founding of Harvard College. POPULATION: 101,365 RESIDENT STUDENTS (EST.): 13,200 TOTAL STUDENT ENROLLMENT, ALL CAMBRIDGE COLLEGES/UNIVERSITIES: 29,936 SIZE: 6.5 square miles MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME: $51,625 (2006 Census) MEDIAN SINGLE-FAMILY HOME PRICE: $610,000 EDUCATION LEVEL: 69 percent have bachelor's degree or higher (U.S. average: 27 percent) NUMBER OF MILLION-DOLLAR-PLUS HOMES: 2,483 COLLEGES/UNIVERSITIES WITHIN 12 MILES: Harvard, MIT, Lesley University, Cambridge College, Boston University, Boston College, Tufts University, Emerson College, Berklee College of Music, Northeastern, Suffolk University, Simmons College, School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

SOURCES: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, CAMBRIDGE CITY HALL

14 WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008

WWD.COM

Role Reversal: American Apparel Heads to China

Continued from page one he said, adding American Apparel is working diligently to cut through China's notorious bureaucracy, find appropriate retail space and maintain its ethical approach. American Apparel has plans to open stores in Shanghai, Chengdu and Suzhou, as well as the one opening in Beijing. The hope is to have all five stores open -- including a second unit in Beijing -- by the end of September. But the long drawn-out process of opening the stores shows the challenges of doing business in China. American Apparel was supposed to open its first boutique in China in May in the Shanghai creative zone project 1933. The project has been postponed as it awaits final government approval, although inventory has been shipped from the U.S. "We signed the contract with 1933 last November, and started setting up the company here," said Wei Su, manager of the company's retail development for China. "The building used to be a slaughterhouse, and is a project with the government, so the landlord does not have ownership. Then, as a `creative space,' retail is limited to only 15 to 20 percent of the project." Despite the difficulties, the company remains enthusiastic about the location. "Shanghai does not yet have such a hybrid retail and creative space. It is the heart of what quality city living is all about. That is: brainpower, creativity-based. It will be the launch point for American Apparel," Parnass said. "It is the nature of American Apparel to be controversial, to go against the grain." It remains to be seen how that controversial aspect of the retailer -- its use of sexually provocative imagery and the wild man reputation of its founder and chief executive officer Dov Charney -- translates in China, where state control of media is rampant. The retailer has generated endless controversy even in the more relaxed U.S. for its ads, and for Charney's outlandishness. It hit the headlines earlier this week for its new Afrika collection inspired by the continent, which it promoted without using any African-American models. As for the postponed opening, Su said recently via e-mail, "The simple answer from me is `That's China.' We are definitely going to open the store in 1933 Shanghai as our people in L.A. and on the ground are working hard for the opening. But the date is not fixed due to the bureaucratic problems." American Apparel's list of difficulties in China is long. "For example, we imported our lighting fixtures, and they got stuck at the Pudong Airport in Customs because we couldn't find the right person to sign them through, and we thus lost three days," Parnass explained. More significantly, the company cannot register as "American Apparel" in Chinese. "The bureaucratic regime here doesn't allow a direct translation of our name, because their copyright laws do not allow using a country name in a brand name -- so it is some unintelligible transliteration," he said. Although many brands claim that finding appropriate retail space in China has ceased being the challenge it was a few years ago, it remains a headache for companies that are comparatively small or lack much local name recognition. "A lot of cities we went to told us it was too late, that their leases were all taken for three years. For others, leasing to us would mean taking a risk," Parnass said. "We are two years away from the next wave of retail spaces opening, and there are 20 candidates for each spot. The price is never discussed. It goes beyond business: the owner wants to tell his golf buddy on the course, `I just signed American Apparel,' and not be one-upped by a `Well, I got such-and-such,'" he said, mentioning some landlords' demands for as much as 22 American Apparel was originally expected to open in the street's new Nali Mall in June, but delays in getting bureaucratic approval have caused numerous postponements. As a result, the unit in the basement of the China World Trade Center in a location formerly held by Azona was the first to open. That store originally was expected to open last month. "We're afraid of the malls. We're not mall people, but that is the way China is structured," Parnass added. "The problem for us now is how to keep our street cred within a mall. On [Shanghai's] Huaihai Lu, you have to rent the above four stories to get the ground space. That's fine if you're a Louis Vuitton or a Cartier, and can afford to use it as a billboard." Even after the retail hassles are behind it, American Apparel will face the dilemma of positioning the brand in China's complex, competitive market. "A big challenge is that we have no logo," admitted Parnass. "China is the land of logo frenzy; it is five years behind the rest of the world. We're not going in the logo direction." Parnass said he expects that American Apparel's customer base in China will prove as loosely defined as it is internationally. The company is also hoping to appeal to the growing club scene here. "Everyone A new American Apparel unit in China. asks what our target demographic is, especially landlords, but we have no answers," he said. "We mean a lot to a lot of different people." Marketing in China is proving to be another challenge, and only in part because activism and public discourse on social issues remain sensitive in the country. "We cannot aggressively market and still be seen as cool. So, usually we participate with the music world and city scenes, but here that is more difficult," Parnass said. "In the U.S., we advertise on the back pages of the free magazines, the ones that tell where the cool raves are and such. That does not exist in China." American Apparel isn't just shipping its signature T-shirts and tube dresses to China; it also hopes to export its socially responsible ethos. The company has decided not to source from China and has vowed to pay its Chinese sales staff no less than the U.S. minimum wage. It also plans to sell some of the socially outspoken merchandise it sells in the U.S.; for example, earlier this summer the firm planned to ship its "Legalize L.A." T-shirt to China, which supports a relaxation of U.S. immigration rules. "It would be very easy to shift our production to China, but [Charney] will not manufacture in a polluting factory, and we cannot guarantee that in China," Parnass explained. "By making it all in L.A., we can -- Harry Parnass, American Apparel control the conditions." The company is also eager to attract a high-quality is located in the eastern Jiangsu Province and an hour sales force. "We were told that paying U.S. rates means getting very high-level, multilingual, college-educataway from Shanghai. "Chengdu is a city of 17 million people that no one in the ed staff. And we said, `Great, we want that!' " Parnass U.S. has heard of, but with so many [Louis Vuitton] stores laughed. Formerly a director of Montreal's LaSalle, he and such," explained Parnass, speaking before the earth- has been recruiting graduates from the Raffles LaSalle quake that has since put the city on the global map. Plans fashion institute in Shanghai. Parnass did not think the company's all-American for a Chengdu store have not been called off by the quake, Su said, noting natural disasters, while a tragedy, are a part image will backfire in a period of extreme nationalism in China. Still, the company is treading carefully on of life and business as well as of the history of China. American Apparel considered Suzhou for its tourist some issues. To wit, it is carefully considering whether appeal, Su said. The store, which for now is slated to to recruit Chinese, Korean or white celebrities for its open in September, is part of a big new outdoor, water- local advertising campaigns. "The sense we are getting from Chinese journalists front entertainment project expanding the city limits. "Suzhou is expanding, but not too fast, and trying to re- is the feeling that the xenophobia is artificially created, for political reasons," said Parnass, adding "Made in tain its street image, to remain streetlike," she said. "We're a street company, not a mall company, so in America" still has a cachet. China we go for compromises like [Beijing's] Sanlitun "The Chinese consumer is not convinced about Made Bar Street," she said. in China." to 24 percent of a store's sales before they will agree to a lease. "They are very hands-on, and get their noses in everything, which is very typical of China." Low name recognition is also a problem, Su added. "We're new, so our development is different, and the Chinese don't know us. We have no catalogue, no Chinese stores, and different landlords have different requirements." She also mentioned China's high rents and the risk that entails. "In China, they're mostly huge spaces, which means huge investment, and then the lease is only three years. We need a high efficiency rate. The locations we've picked were about the landlord, and not so much about the cities," Su said. Launching in the lower-profile, second-tier cities of Suzhou and Chengdu marks an unusual strategy since most Western fashion brands tend to enter China in the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou or in prosperous, coastal second-tier cities like Hangzhou, Dalian and Wenzhou. Chengdu is the capital of the inland and now earthquake-stricken Sichuan Province. Suzhou, a tourist haven for its traditional gardens, canals and temples,

hands-on, and " They are veryin everything, get their noses which is very typical of China. "

16 WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008

WWD.COM

TheWWDList

Green Giants

The top 12 eco-friendly brands favored by Gen Y.

A green business is a good business -- or so it would seem these days, as the pressure to rev up environmentally friendly and sustainable policies increases. Outlaw Consulting, a San Francisco-based firm that researches the Gen Y culture, surveyed its "trendsetter" respondent base on its favorite green brands. From this data, the firm developed its "Green Brands Index," released in July. "The top contenders on the list are seen as trailblazers, having been the first in their category to go green," the study stated. "Gen Y is very motivated toward green," said Barbara Bylenga, president of the firm. "They want to buy with their values, they want to support companies that have green practices. It can be the way you run your company, or it can be the products you sell." Additional brands that earned green mentions aside from those in the top 12 included MAC Cosmetics and Starbucks. -- Cecily Hall, with contributions from Vanessa Weber

*

*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

WHOLE FOODS MARKET Green Brands Index score (out of 10): 8

Founded in 1980 in Austin, Tex., the food retailer has about 270 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods has a list of 80 ingredients it refuses to sell in stores, for ethical and health reasons. Among them: artificial colors and flavors, bleached flour and fois gras. Whole Foods Market has reportedly installed solar panels on roofs of some of its stores to generate electricity on a larger scale. But green can have its limits: Whole Foods recently has stumbled financially in the economic downturn and, while sticking to its organic and natural mantra, has begun to emphasize price and value more.

TRADER JOE'S Score: 7

The Monrovia, Calif.-based retailer, which operates over 280 stores in 23 states, has several green initiatives in place, beginning with the Trader Joe's in-house label -- which contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, no MSG and no added trans fats -- and it features vegan and gluten-free products, as well. The company also sells fabric NYC grocery bags to reduce paper and plastic waste, and tries to buy directly from producers rather than food distributors.

TOYOTA Score: 6.9

It's all about the Prius for the Japanese auto brand. In 2007, Toyota sold half a million hybrid cars -- the firm now has six variations of the hybrid, though the Toyota Prius (left) remains the most fuel-efficient passenger car in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency -- increasingly important in these days of spiralling gas prices. Steve Sturm, group vice president of communications for Toyota Motor North America, noted at the American Apparel & Footwear Association's sustainability conference in June, "The Prius is now Toyota's third-best-selling auto. About 11 percent of sales are hybrids and Toyota claims an 80 percent share of the U.S. hybrid market."

HONDA Score: 6.4

Honda ranked second, behind the aforementioned Toyota Prius, on the Environmental Protection Agency's list of most fuel-efficient cars with the Honda Civic Hybrid (left). In July, Honda released its first zero-emission sedan, the FCX Clarity, and in 2009, the firm is planning to launch a more affordable hybrid model. In addition to its cars, Honda has developed a line of railcars (on which Hondas are shipped) that are more fuel-efficient. The brand is also constructing two of its U.S. building facilities to be "greener" by featuring more energy-efficient lighting, heat-preserving roofing and utilizing steel made from recycled materials.

GOOGLE Score: 5.9

In 2007, Google announced it would begin its efforts to become "carbon neutral." In corporate buildings, for example, the company is replacing incandescent bulbs with higher-efficiency lighting, and at the Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, Google is using one of the largest corporate solar panel installations in the U.S. -- at left is a shot of the company's headquarters and the building's solar panels. Last winter, the computer search engine giant launched RE<C, an initiative to develop electricity from solar thermal power and wind power technologies.

AVEDA Score: 5.7

Blaine, Minn.-based Aveda was founded in 1978 by Horst Rechelbacher. The company's latest green campaign: getting people to purchase one liter of a product at a time, to cut down on plastic waste. In May, the subsidiary of The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. launched Green Science skin care, a lineup of plant-infused facial treatment products. "Packaging ranges from 50 to 100 percent recycled material, and the products are produced with 100 percent wind power," WWD reported. Aveda vows to use "green ingredients" whenever possible: Ingredients originate from renewable, sustainable or organic plant-based sources and do not negatively impact the ecosystems from which they are sourced, and are biodegradable.

ZIPCAR Score: 5.4

Zipcar, based in Cambridge, Mass., is a newcomer to the auto rental scene. The service is designed to provide rental cars to urbanities who rely on cars, but not on the level that would require them to buy one. It's cheap, too: Gas and insurance included, the rental cost is an average of $11 an hour. The company claims it has helped to remove 25,000 cars from the road, helped 40 percent of its customers sell their personal cars and caused members to use public transportation roughly 47 percent more than previously (which also helps to relieve parking congestion and construction). Zip Car is also working with 30 universities to help reduce car use.

AMERICAN APPAREL Score: 5.3

The L.A.-based brand is the only specialty apparel retailer to make the top 10. Why? "American Apparel is not only a green company -- its products are very relevant to this age group," noted Barbara Bylenga of Outlaw Consulting. All the brand's clothing is manufactured in L.A. -- the company recycles 30,000 pounds of cutting and fiber scraps a week (an initiative that began in 2002) that would otherwise be dumped in landfills. Last year, the brand developed a line of organically combined cotton clothing called The Sustainable Edition T. "Our ultimate goal is not to use conventional [nonorganic] cotton at all," Erika Martinez, overseer of American Apparel's Sustainable Sourcing Programs, told WWD.

IKEA Score: 5.3

The Swedish furniture and accessories retailer is planning to supply all of its stores with renewable energy sources and has a goal of becoming 25 percent more energy efficient by reducing energy used for heat and to provide more efficient lightbulbs. In addition, the retailer doesn't use illegally logged wood or wood that comes from intact natural forests for its products. Ikea currently works with the World Wildlife Fund to identify and develop ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations. The company also has a plan to reduce plastic bag use by 50 percent by charging 5 cents on every "throwaway" plastic bag used -- the proceeds will be donated to the American Forests organization.

10 11 12

SEVENTH GENERATION Score: 5

The Burlington, Vt.-based consumer products brand was founded in 1988 and has been making plenty of headway with environmentally conscious consumers. Seventh Generation sells 100 percent recycled paper towels, tissues and napkins, and offers natural cleaning products (seen left) and garbage bags made with roughly 50 percent recycled plastic. Most products are plant-based and nonhazardous, chlorine-free and not tested on animals. Jeffrey Hollender, president and founder, has set a company goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

APPLE Score: 4.9

Apple's sleek, minimalist design approach to its products is actually helping the environment: Flat-panel displays (such as MacBook Air, seen left), which are just computers with a thinner build, eliminate more than two pounds of lead, consume up to 80 percent less energy in sleep mode and weigh half as much as other computers. The Apple take-back and recycling program has helped recycle 21 million pounds of equipment since 1994 that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill. The company also offers incentives to customers who participate: Apple recycles old iPods and offers 10 percent discounts on a new iPod purchase. And 95 percent of all its paper packaging is recycled, as well.

THE BODY SHOP Score: 4.8

This U.K.-based beauty and cosmetics retailer, which was founded on green initiatives (such as no animal testing on its products), has committed to becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2010. At the end of the month, the company will unveil its latest ad campaign that touts its commitment to the environment. The campaign will include in-store advertising with posters featuring slogans such as "Less packaging, more beautiful."

SOURCE: OUTLAW CONSULTING; RANKINGS BASED ON MEAN SCORES ON A 10-POINT SCALE; OUTLAW DEFINES GEN Y AS 15- TO 29-YEAR-OLDS; *INDICATES A TIE

AVEDA PHOTO BY THOMAS IANNACCONE

WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008 17 WWD.COM

Financial

DAILY STOCK WRAP

Retail shares rose Wednesday morning only to lose ground in the afternoon and end up where they just about started as investors waited for after market earnings reports from Limited Brands and Hot Topic. In what proved to be a mixed trading session overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.6 percent, or 68.88 points, to 11,417.43 as the S&P 500 also inched up 0.6 percent, or 7.85 points, to 1,274.54 despite continued concerns about the fate of government-backed mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Shares in the S&P Retail Index ended the day down only 0.04 points to 383.08. Saks Inc., which on Tuesday morning posted wider quarterly losses, registered a 3.6 percent decline for the day and was joined on the downside by Macy's, which was off 3.2 percent, and Nordstrom, down 2.1 percent. Ross Stores, after posting better quarterly sales and profits, saw its stock dip 0.9 percent. Investors will

continue to get retail report cards today, including quarterly results from Gap and Pacific Sunwear of California after the market closes. So far, the takeaway for the second quarter seems to be that life is good if you're Wal-Mart Stores or an off-pricer, but tough if you're almost anyone else. Shares of a number of vendors perked up for the day, including G-III Apparel Group, which posted a 7.6 percent rise after scoring the Calvin Klein better sportswear license. Other gainers included Jones Apparel Group, up 1.7 percent, and Liz Claiborne, up 1.4 percent.

For full daily stock changes, see WWD.com.

* Editor's note: European stocks are quoted in the currency of their principal exchanges. Shares on the London Stock Exchange are quoted in pence, Richemont and The Swatch Group are quoted in Swiss francs and Hennes & Mauritz is quoted in Swedish kronor. All other European stocks are in euros.

10 BEST PERFORMERS

DAILY HIGH 6.99 0.50 0.76 16.17 8.50 6.38 10.73 2.19 1.31 11.24 LOW 6.15 0.41 0.67 15.14 7.75 5.92 9.60 2.02 1.20 10.70 Delta Apparel (DLA) NexCen (NEXC) Tarrant Apparel (TAGS) G-III Apparel (GIII) Hampshire (HAMP) Parlux Fragrances (PARL) Tween Brands (TWB) Bluefly (BFLY) Revlon (REV) New York & Co. (NWY) 8.6 14.9 24.9 7.7 31.0 106.7 7400 303082 49135 279930 2592 232758 1896725 23084 2054702 783265 COMPANIES P/E VOLUME AMT

LAST %CHANGE

10 WORST PERFORMERS

DAILY HIGH 1.15 20.92 4.80 38.98 7.70 1.44 4.26 29.50 10.38 2.58 LOW 1.01 17.63 4.30 37.11 7.52 1.36 3.96 28.07 9.87 2.38 Phoenix Footwear (PXG) Citi Trends (CTRN) Crocs (CROX) BJs (BJ) R.G. Barry (DFZ) Joe's Jeans (JOEZ) Retail Ventures (RVI) Coach (COH) Saks (SKS) Hartmarx (HMX) 1.2 21.8 4.3 20.5 12.3 17.9 1.1 267.3 28.6 12500 1212916 6593857 4375427 3432 43492 248971 5699538 3454427 96093 COMPANIES P/E VOLUME AMT

LAST %CHANGE

6.94 +11.94 0.47 0.74 16.03 7.99 6.37 10.33 2.11 1.30 11.13 +9.05 +8.03 +7.58 +6.53 +6.52 +5.84 +5.50 +4.84 +4.31

1.02 -14.29 18.45 -10.74 4.36 37.71 7.56 1.37 4.03 28.31 9.92 2.47 -8.02 -7.30 -6.66 -4.20 -4.05 -3.71 -3.60 -3.52

IN BRIEF

· STEVE & BARRY'S DELAYED: Another day, another delay for the sale of bankrupt retail chain Steve & Barry's. The hearing for bankruptcy court approval of the impending sale was postponed for a third time Wednesday. A source with knowledge of the negotiations said Bay Harbour Management is still the likely buyer, but that delays were required to allow the parties extra time to hammer out the deal's finer points. The New York investment firm was announced as the stalking horse bidder earlier this month with an offer of $163 million. A hearing for court approval of the planned sale to Bay Harbour is now set for 11 a.m. today in a Manhattan bankruptcy court. Meanwhile, lawyers for professional basketball player Stephon Marbury's Starbury brand filed legal papers alleging Steve & Barry's owed it more that $2.1 million in unpaid royalties, according to documents filed in Manhattan federal court on Monday. The Starbury lawyers are trying to have the case tried out of federal court instead of having it stay under bankruptcy court jurisdiction. · ADIDAS RATING CUT: With the Olympics in full swing, one of its high-visibility sponsors, Adidas AG, saw its stock downgraded by investment firm HSBC. In a research note published Monday, HSBC said the German activewear giant has bright short-term prospects, but the outlook darkens after 2009. "We believe Adidas will feel pressure both on gross margins, from limited pricing power and rising input costs, and on EBIT, from rising advertising and promotion spending," the report said. "We expect Asian sales growth to moderate in 2009, growth in Europe to halve and see no reason why the U.S. market should not remain more or less flat for the foreseeable future." The bank cut its rating on Adidas to "underweight" from "neutral." The change in rating follows a downgrade of Nike Inc. last month.

$1.03 trillion

Second-quarter U.S. retail sales.

WWD

INDEX

COMPOSITE 976.86

+0.9%

Change in second-quarter sales compared with the first quarter.

-1.80

SOURCE: CENSUS BUREAU

Ross Stores Earnings Spike in Qtr.

By Evan Clark

ROSS STORES INC. PROVED IT'S A good time to be an off-pricer, on Wednesday posting double-digit earnings and sales growth in the second quarter while boosting expectations for the year. Net income for the quarter shot up 40.2 percent to $71.3 million, or 54 cents a diluted share, compared with $50.9 million, or 37 cents, a year ago. Sales advanced 13.6 percent to $1.64 billion from $1.44 billion as comparable-store sales rose 6 percent. For the six months, earnings jumped 27.9 percent to $150.8 million, or $1.13 a diluted share, on a 12 percent rise in sales to $3.2 billion. Ross managed to push comps up 4 percent in California and Florida, two of the markets hit hardest by the fallout in the housing market. Dresses, accessories and shoes were the strongest sellers at the chain, which said it benefited from the $600 tax rebate checks sent to consumers and the favorable weather during the quarter. A down economy can be a boon for off-pricers. Not only do they sell branded goods at a discount, but they pick up better deals when their fullprice competitors are trying to thin inventories. The TJX Cos., an off-price competitor, also posted strong secondquarter results last week, with earnings up 239 percent. "During these times, we benefit from the increased supply of great brands at significant discounts like we continue to see today," said Michael Balmuth, vice chairman, president and chief executive officer, on a conference call with analysts. Despite the strong results so far this year, the retailer, which operates 817 Ross and 45 dd's Discounts stores, said it is taking a cautious approach and maintaining plans for a 2 to 3 percent comp-sales gain in the back half given uncertainty in the economy. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based Ross is looking for earnings of $2.33 to $2.38 a share for the full year, up from previous projections of $2.19 to $2.29. Last year, Ross had profits of $1.90 a share.

Hot Topic Posts Loss, Lowers Guidance

MALL-BASED RETAILER HOT TOPIC Inc. lowered its guidance Wednesday after reporting a second-quarter loss, due in part to expenses related to an online music project. For the period ended Aug. 2, the company posted a net loss of $450,000, or 1 cent a share, compared with a net loss of $1.7 million, or 4 cents, for the same year-ago period. According to Hot Topic, the second quarter included approximately 1 cent a share of expense related to the company's online music initiative. Sales grew 3.2 percent to $166.8 million, versus $161.7 million for the year-ago quarter. The company said same-store sales declined 0.9 percent for the three months. For the six months, the Californiabased retailer posted a $1.9 million loss, or 4 cents a share, compared with a loss of $2.5 million, or 6 cents, in the same half a year ago. Sales increased 2.1 percent to $325.8 million from $319 million. Projecting a comparable-store sales decline in the low-single digits, Hot Topic forecasted third-quarter guidance of earnings per diluted share in the range of 12 to 15 cents. The company also said it expected fourth-quarter EPS to be in the 25 to 28 cents range. Included in the guidance for both quarters was the expense related to the launch of an online music site. Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance predict the company will report earnings of 16 cents a share in the third quarter, and 37 cents in the fourth. Hot Topic operates 158 Torrid stores in addition to 684 Hot Topic units.

-- Alexandra Steigrad

18 WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008

WWD.COM

Lauder Taps Polcer for Supply Chain Post

THE ESTÉE LAUDER COS. INC. HAS RECRUITED Gregory Polcer as executive vice president-global supply chain in a bid to sharpen the beauty conglomerate's execution capabilities. It also is the first key personnel addition made since the official arrival of Fabrizio Freda as president and chief operating officer in early March. Polcer, 53, who previously was senior vice president of supply chain at Unilever, will oversee Lauder's "end-to-end supply chain," according to the company, including procurement, manufacturing, quality assurance and logistics. His appointment was effective July 31 and he reports to Freda. Polcer is succeeding Malcolm Bond, who joined Lauder in 1995 and, as previously announced, is beginning a process leading to his eventual retirement as executive vice president of global operations. Polcer is also assuming some of the duties previously Gregory Polcer performed by the late Roger Caracappa, who died a month ago. Caracappa's title was executive vice president of global packaging, quality assurance, store development, design and merchandising for the Estée Lauder Cos. In announcing Polcer's appointment, Lauder credited Polcer with having spearheaded a corporate initiative at Unilever to define the process and project plan for creating a corporate-wide procurement capability. Prior to Unilever, Polcer was with Playtex Inc. and J.C. Penney. During an earnings call to Wall Street analysts last week, Freda, who is expected to move up to chief executive officer within two years, said the company's goal is to generate sustainable and profitable growth by taking a disciplined financial approach by reducing inventories, pruning stockkeeping units and more closely linking employee compensation with performance goals. During the same call, Rick Kunes, Lauder's executive vice president and chief financial officer, said, "There are certainly opportunities that will manifest themselves in improved gross margin by being better at what we do, by being more efficient in our supply chain, by having less points of distribution, therefore less inventory, therefore more efficient and less waste in the process." Kunes also said, "We are developing the capabilities and the incentives to reduce inventory and sku's in the years to come. Our goal is to increase inventory turns from twice to three times per year over the course of the next several years." Freda was not available for comment Wednesday, but in announcing the appointment, he stated: "Greg's unique combination of supply chain, finance and category management experience will be invaluable as we increase efficiencies and enhance our operating effectiveness. I am confident that Greg will be a key contributor in improving our global processes to help [Lauder] execute its long-term strategy to deliver sustained, profitable growth." In a letter to employees, Freda said that Polcer will sit on Lauder's executive committee and "will be responsible for the Global Direct and Indirect Procurement functions and ultimately develop the role of global chief procurement officer reporting directly to him." After identifying six top executives who will report to Polcer, Freda continued: "A seasoned business leader with deep and broad supply chain expertise, Greg also has proven his ability to create and develop strong teams."

Brown Goes to Bat for Dems.

THE NEW JERSEY DELEGATION TO THE Democratic National Convention, to be held in Denver Aug. 25 to 28, will include at least one makeup artist: Bobbi Brown. Brown, a longtime Democrat, said she hosted two fund-raisers earlier this year for presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.), and at the second of them, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine asked her to serve in the delegation. "I was an early Barack Bobbi Brown supporter and I've done Michelle's makeup," said Brown in a telephone interview from her Montclair, N.J., home, adding that her oldest son will be a page at the convention. "Barack is incredibly smart and he is the guy who will make the changes that need to be made." Despite her veer into politics, Brown isn't forgetting about her day job as head of her eponymous makeup line. "We're inviting all Democratic delegates to the Bobbi Brown counter at the Nordstrom at Park Meadows Mall for a complimentary makeup lesson with one of my artists," said Brown, noting that the appointments will be held Aug. 27 and 28. She will also teach a master class to makeup artists at the store. As well, each Democratic delegate will be given a goodie bag of Bobbi Brown products upon checking into their hotels.

-- Pete Born

BEAUTY BEAT

-- Julie Naughton

To be included among the top places to work, call 1.800.423-3314 or email [email protected]

"Your Flagship Agency for Luxury Jobs" www.ESPSTAFFINGNY.com 212.729.7700 [email protected]

ResourceDirectory

Perry Ellis International www.pery.com [email protected]

24 SEVEN www.24seventalent.com [email protected]

BCBG [email protected] www.bcbgmaxazriagroup.com

EZ Fashion Jobs Ellen Zacarolli (212) 961-9700 [email protected] www.ezfashionjobs.com

Project Solvers www.projectsolvers.com [email protected] 212.226.2432

CAROLE HOCHMAN DESIGN GROUP www.chdgroup.com [email protected] (212) 725-1212

Fashion Search Group www.fashionsearchgroup.com [email protected] 866-203-1811

Rush & Company www.rushandcompany.com [email protected]

www.carters.com [email protected]

FasTeam www.fasteam.com [email protected] 866-323-6030

Taylor Hodson, Inc. www.taylorhodson.com [email protected] 212-924-8300

www.coldwatercreek.com and click on 'Careers at Coldwater Creek"

fourthFLOOR Fashion www.fourthfloorfashion.com [email protected] 212-750-8388

www.trueligionbrandjeans.com/careers.html

www.EdificeInfo.com 973-616-2929 [email protected]

www.lululemon.com/careers

WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008

19

WWD.COM/CLASSIFIEDS

For more career opportunities log on to fashioncareers.com. Call 1.800.423.3314 or e-mail [email protected] to advertise.

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Seeking a creative & motivated Graphic Designer able to design graphics, trims & hardware for young Men's and Ladies' gar ments. Candidates must be MAC proficient in Illustrator and Photoshop. Excellent salary & benefits! Fax resume to:(212) 768-4615 Email: [email protected]

Order Entry Customer Service

Great opportunity w/ fast growing babywear/layette importer. Exp a must MAS90 experience a +. Data entry speed/accuracy important. Must be able to communicate effectively w/ sales staff, reps & customers. Fast pace but pleasant work environment. E-mail: [email protected]

Showrooms & Lofts

BWAY 7TH AVE SIDE STREETS Great 'New' Office Space Avail ADAMS & CO. 212-679-5500

PATTERNMAKER

Contemporary sportswear company seeks experienced pro for catalog and private label division. Mostly related separates woven/knits, lined and unlined. Moderate through better priced merchandise. Part time or full time ok. Fax resume 212-869-2320 or email: [email protected]

PATTERN/SAMPLES

Garment center location. Professional /Reliable Quality. Men & women all style. Low Cost. Small production. 212-629-4808

PATTERNS, SAMPLES, PRODUCTIONS

All lines, Any styles. Fine Fast Service. Call Sherry 212-719-0622.

Penthouse Office Share

$3,575 24/7 Drmn, Ave Bldg, Up to 6 people, Conf Rm, Patio, Alarm, Util add. 212-398-3809

Patterns/Samples/Production

Full Service, Fine, Fast Work. Any Style Call Casey: 212-560-8998 / 212-560-8999

PATTERNS, SAMPLES, PRODUCTIONS

Full service shop to the trade. Fine fast work. 212-869-2699.

PATTERNMAKER

Upscale contemporary brand looking for a person with experience. You must be able to sketch and contribute to design as well as interpret design ideas and details. You must understand the contemporary market and better fabrics. We are looking for a team player who wants to be part of a fast growing co. Email resumes: [email protected]

PR COORDINATOR/SHOW ROOM ASSISTANT

For High end European designer line. This position requires someone with strong knowledge of the fashion press and excellent verbal and written communication skills. Must have 1-2 years experience in high end fashion PR firms or have worked in a similar capacity for another high end company. Established contacts with editors and celebrity stylists are a major plus. To apply, please e-mail your resume with cover letter to: [email protected]

Account Executive

Fast growing designer womenswear brand seeks an energetic account exec. Should have existing client relationship with North America and international. Must be hardworking, organized & eager to actively seek new business. Computer skills a must. Email [email protected] APPAREL/HOME FASHION SRI SEARCH INC WWW.SRISEARCH.COM 212-465-8300 Allen Platt /Jennifer Glenn [email protected] [email protected]

AR COLLECTIONS COORD.

Apparel Co. seeks individual for A/R , credit and collections. Competitive salary/good benefits. Email resume and salary reqs: [email protected]

ASSISTANT DESIGNER

Major apparel company seeks an assistant designer. Candidate needs to have 1-2 yrs experience, must be organized and have good communication skills. Illustrator and Photoshop a must. Send resumes: [email protected] or fax to Joseph: 212.768.3588 Avalon Eyewear, Inc., Northern NJ. Established, multi-branded eyewear & accessories distributor seeks fashion conscious, detail oriented & creative individuals for the following two key positions; Marketing Coordinator; To coordinate marketing & PR, from concept development to implementation of initiatives. Product Development Coordinator; To assist in product sourcing & development, styling & design. Ideal candidates will be hands on, self starters well versed in design trends. Experience and proven track record required. Fax/email resume: 201-767-8161, [email protected]

Private four year college seeks faculty for fashion and marketing program. Doctorate degree preferred, Master's degree required, along with significant industry experience. EOE. Applicants should email a letter of application and a current resume to: Dr. Guy Adamo, Chair, Fashion and Marketing Department, at [email protected] For information about the college: www.BerkeleyCollege.edu Individual with at least 1-2 years prodCOLLECTION SWEATER DES $$$$$$ uct development or design experience. Runway. Must be Technical. Good communication skills with [email protected] 212-947-3400 Seeking a creative & motivated Graphic designer. Independent and well organDesigner able to design graphics, ized. Must have professional training trims & hardware for all sizes of a girls in fashion design/textile education. Good computer skills in Word & Excel. Very Hot Urban Brand expanding into and boys children's line. Candidates Please send resumes w/ salary requireINTIMATES & SLEEPWEAR is seek- must be MAC proficient in Illustrator ment: [email protected] ing an experienced Sales Manager & Photoshop. Must be able to produce original artwork, be detail oriented, with established contacts and experience with Urban Specialty and Dept have great sense of color, pattern & Store chains. Please email resume to: layout, and have excellent time management skills. Please email resume to [email protected] Children's clothing line seeks detailed [email protected] or Fax 212-382-3047 individual with strong follow up and organizational skills. Responsible for coordinating & managing all aspects Established company has immediate of the production process from incepopening for a head Girls fashion designer, tion thru completion. Oversee all factoApollo Jeans seeking designer to create a with focus on print and color direction ry approval/production tracking and line for denim and non-denim bottoms with min.10 yrs exp. Candidate must seasonal timelines. Must have knowlarea. Experience with a major denim have extensive knowledge of Mass edge of Private Label for Wal-Mart, JC company is a must. Ideal candidate market as well as the ability to direct a Penney's & Kohl's. Microsoft Outlook will be able to take projects from concept staff and work within a structured Word & Excel req'd. Please email resume [email protected] or Fax 212-382-3047 through production, multi-task, meet timeline: Please fax resumes to: HR deadlines, and communicate daily 212-967-4369 with overseas factories. Strong Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and MS Office Seeking organized, detailed team player required. Email your resume to: to join growing women's knitwear co. [email protected] Resp. for coord. & mnging prod. process Fast Paced Sportswear Import Company from inception thru completion. Will - oversee factory approval, prod. tracking seeks a high energy & motivated individ ual to fill immediate entry level position. & seasonal timelines. Must have knowl. Responsibilities include organising of knitwr, must spk Mandarin/Cantonese. Jrs/Girl's Jeanswear co. seeking designer showroom, assisting sales people, E-mail res to: [email protected] with the ability to work in fast paced sending /receiving couriers, analytical environment. Must be creative & able & computer skills req. Must be organized to handle multi-tasked projects. Experi- & good follow up. Ground level opportuni Children's line seeks a self-motivated, ence working with overseas office & ty for growth. Send resume in confidence enthusiastic team player. Candidate factories a must. Fax or email resume to: to: [email protected] must have strong computer skills. Mi212-629-7918 or [email protected] crosoft Outlook ,Word and Excel required. Must have strong organizational skills, great follow through & strong sense of urgency. Please email resume to [email protected] or Fax 212-382-3047 Immediate opening in northern NJ for individuals with 2-3 years exp. working with overseas vendors, negotiating prices & delivery for ladies belt division. Generous Salary & Benefits! Email: [email protected]

BELT PRODUCTION

FASHION FACULTY

Product Development Assistant

Graphic Designer

COOGI - SALES

Production Coordinator w/Private Label Exp

SALES EXECUTIVE

Established apparel agent from Asia offers attractive package for an energetic, creative, experienced (8+ yrs), smart professional with strong knowledge in design & product development, offshore production and industry contacts. Proven track record of opening new accounts and growing business a must. Our attractive remuneration package includes 5-DAY WEEK, medical benefit, and year-end bonus. Please e-mail full resume with present and expected salary to: [email protected]

HEAD DESIGNER

DESIGNER

Production Coord.

OFFICE ASSISTANT

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

High end European designer line is currently seeking an Account Executive. The right candidate should be a high spirited, team oriented individual with strong selling skills. Must have minimum.1-2 yrs showroom sales exp. Established relationships with clients in the fashion industry are a must, but should also be eager to actively seek new business. To apply, please e-mail your resume with cover letter to: [email protected]

DESIGNER

Sales Assistant

Accessories Exec

Top Corporate Connections: Majors Only: Please Call: Brian Weathers @ 856 761 8134

SALES REPS

Better Sportswear (knit tops & bottoms) . Calling on better specialty stores, beach shops, surf shops, gift shops/ boutiques representing a worldwide brand name. Top commissions paid. Don Schmidt 917-599-7253 [email protected] Will be at Magic Booth # JR12833 ECO-FASHION YOGA LINE SEEKS SALES REP High end yoga fashion & active wear. Seeking exp East Coast Sales Rep with solid account base. Min. 7 yrs exp. E-mail resume, ref & account base to: [email protected]

The textile supply chain: stacking up to be a whole lot greener.

All around the world, companies that comprise the textile supply chain are actively adopting new

AMERICA'S COTTON PRODUCERS AND IMPORTERS. TM Service mark/trademark of Cotton Incorporated. © 2008. Cotton Incorporated.

technologies that reduce the industry's use of water, energy, chemicals, and waste materials. The result is a dramatically reduced environmental footprint for the textile industry and a story worth telling. Cotton Incorporated has just completed a DVD, Tex tiles: The Sustainability Revolution, which features representatives from over a dozen major companies, all actively involved in finding and implementing new processes to make the industry a little greener today and a whole lot greener tomorrow. Innovations in dyeing, finishing, water treatment, factory design, foam technology, and waste disposal all play a part in this rapidly evolving story. Watch the DVD online at cottoninc.com/sustainable-cotton-manufacturing/ or call your Cotton Incorporated representative to get your own copies.

www.cottoninc.com/sustainability

Cotton Incorporated: Cary, NC · New York · Mexico City · Los Angeles · Osaka · Shanghai · Hong Kong

PHOTOGRAPHED BY RODOLFO MARTINEZ; MODEL: ANGELIKA/PHOTOGENICS; HAIR BY JOHNNY STUNTZ FOR PHOTOGENICS BEAUTY AT SMASHBOX; MAKEUP BY HELLEN ROBERTSON FOR CHANEL AT CELESTINEAGENCY.COM; MANICURE BY MARSHA BIALO FOR CHINA GLAZE AT ARTISTSBYTIMOTHYPRIANO.COM; FASHION ASSISTANTS: TANYA BROWN AND EUNICE LEE; STYLED BY LEILA BABOI

ROCKABILLY BABY

Denim takes a spin on the tougher side of retro.

SECTION II

WWDPROJECTPREVIEW

Literature Noir's cotton jacket and Ksubi's cotton playsuit. Hagar Satat belt.

2

WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008

SECTION II

WWD.COM

PROJECT PREVIEW

Growing Up

Over the past five years, Project has morphed from a men's wear show into a must-attend women's contemporary event.

By Nola Sarkisian-Miller

A LARGER WOMEN'S CATEGORY, MORE ACCESsories lines, a growing contingent of foreign vendors and exhibitors and a multitude of sponsors, including Microsoft, are a few of the highlights of the upcoming Project Global Tradeshow touching down at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Aug. 26 to 28. The show that began five years ago mainly as a province for men's wear has morphed over the years into the go-to event for directional women's contemporary wear, and along the way took on a new owner in the form of Advanstar Communications Inc. In spite of the show's explosive growth, now spanning about 1,300 vendors (an 8 percent increase compared with last year) that occupy 550,000 square feet of convention space, its goal continues to be focusing on brands that help elevate and maintain the integrity of the show, creating synergies with outside partners and staving off the competition, such as ENK International Inc., which is marking its return to Las Vegas with a new concept called ENK Vegas. That means pruning brands that don't fit in with the show's fashion vibe, reaching out to key partners and traveling to European shows to scout out fresh new lines and trade show strategies. "My job is to offer buyers the best of what's out there," said Sam Ben-Avraham, president of Project. "I can't show them stuff from five years ago. Just because you showed five years ago doesn't mean you're relevant." One notable company that won't be appearing this year is Ed Hardy. "Ed Hardy created too much noise, they weren't about the merchandise and respecting others while doing business," Ben-Abraham said. "They had a humongous space so it's a big loss in revenue for us. But, I can't afford to have one person taking over the show." Ed Hardy designer Christian Audigier had a different perspective on the matter. "We chose not to join Project this season because we simply outgrew it," he said in a statement. Instead, he will launch another trade show called When I Move You Move, running Aug. 25 to 28 at Caesars Palace. "I decided to launch When I Move You Move, to create a world where my retailers can actively experience the lifestyle and the excitement of my brands," he said. Even without Ed Hardy, there will be 658 lines devoted to women's-only and dual-gender labels at Project. The show has hit its stride with women's contemporary clothing, drawing coveted labels such as Trina Turk, Corey Lynn Calter and Vince, and is continuing to attract key showrooms and lines. Los Angeles-based EM Productions, a showroom known for introducing new lines to the public like Mike & Chris, will be bringing five lines to the show, up from one on its last visit, including Mara Hoffman, a New York-based line of flirty dresses with unconventional shapes and swimsuits, along with L.A.based Corpus, which is launching a bigger women's collection wholesale priced from $40 to $250. "There's a demand by our stores for us to be at Project," said Lisa Elliott-Rosas, owner of EM Productions. "Especially with the economy, stores are picking and choosing where they're going and the stores we cater to are going to Project. " Denim's sales' slide the past two years has meant fewer newcomers to the fashion scene. At Project, there will be a handful of debuts from names familiar to the style cognoscenti, but with more scaled-down prices. Grey Ant will be launching a new denim line separate from the line's collection, featuring lowwaisted to flared styles, with novel details such as front-leg darting and intricate braiding. Wholesale prices for the line range from $60 to $150. Earl Jean is banking that its name, which launched premium denim fever more than a decade ago, will help it to reclaim its turf. The line, which hasn't shipped for two years and is now under the ownership of Designer License Holding Co., is offering a product made of Japanese fabrics geared to year, welcoming more footwear, handbag and jewelry brands, such as Matt Bernson, Gorjana & Griffin, Muxo and Sienna Ray. The show will interweave the accessories with apparel, merchandising casual, dressy and sportswear categories together. "It's the way it's merchandised in stores, so it will give the women's area a nice flow," Ben-Avraham said. Exhibitors are also hoping to court international business, especially with a dollar whose plummeting value has favored overseas markets. The show expects to attract about 25,000 buyers, including Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor, whose women's team is attending the show for the first time. BenAvraham said the show attracted 25 percent of its buyers from overseas in its February installment and projects the number will increase. Overseas vendors also will be in attendance looking for new world markets, including Iro from Paris and Alessandro Dell'Acqua footwear from Italy. "We expect to see lots of Asian buyers and more importers who realize where the margins are," he said. "Europeans can buy jeans for $50 wholesale here compared to $90 in Europe, so it's a very attractive deal for them and for our vendors." To keep spirits high in a challenging economy, Project will host a party at Tao Nightclub at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 10 p.m. and keep the tunes spinning at the show courtesy of Tao's DJs. Show organizers will continue to pour on the sponsorships and perks as well. Microsoft is making its second -- and a larger -- appearance at the show with a slate of new fashion PCs from its original equipment manufacturing, or OEM, partners, including Acer, Asus, Ego, Flybook, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard and Sony. Also, the winner of Microsoft and Sony's PC design contest, which challenged consumers to create designs for the lids of a new line of Vaio Graphic Splash notebooks, will be revealed at Project. Microsoft is also looking to designers, including Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, to outfit the staff at the show. "This is the place where the most innovative designers go, where trends are set for the year," said Rob Poznanski, senior marketing manager for Microsoft. "There's no better place for us to go to." Other crowd-pleasers will be a lounge for manicures and eyebrow threading, the Nudie lounge where Nudie will give away pairs of women's jeans to everyone donating a pair, a portrait lounge where guests can receive black-and-white photos, a Swarovski lounge and a gallery/lounge sponsored by Chronicle Books featuring a showcase of 25 illustrations from the book "Fashion Illustration by Fashion Designers," by Laird Borrelli, senior fashion editor at Style.com. Also in effect is the show's VIP buyer program at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel, giving the red-carpet treatment to a select group of buyers who will receive special rates, complimentary breakfasts and happy hours and transportation to the shows. Even with those conveniences, however, buyers may spend extra time at the shows but they'll be keeping budgets flat. "Our sales are down about 10 to 15 percent this year, so we'll be keeping the budget the same," said Tobi Blatt, owner of two eponymous boutiques in the Del Mar and Encinitas communities in California. "I don't think the economy is supporting newness. I'll be shopping for great basics -- denim, layering pieces, shorts and dresses, which is a huge category." Longtime Project vendors, which rely on new business from the show, are staying optimistic. French Connection said about 20 percent of the business it generates at the show comes from new accounts. "The French Connection business has continued to improve from year to year, despite the somber economic environment," said Andrea Hyde, president and chief executive officer of French Connection U.S., in an e-mail. "We have always made an effort to keep price points competitive. Our basic premise of quality and affordability gives us a point of distinction within the crowded, contemporary marketplace."

There will be 658 lines showing looks for women at Project.

Project began five years ago as a primarily men's wear show.

different body types with details such as surface abrasion, rips and grinding. Wholesale prices range from $27 to $52. "The denim market is oversaturated and we think the best place to squeeze in is with a `masspirational' approach, one that offers aspirational style at a price they can afford," said Kelli Delaney, creative director of Earl Jean. Even though price is a ubiquitous concern, Agave Nectar has seen a steady increase in sales -- doubling its women's business -- in spite of its past 10 percent price hike. "We're [delighted] with our sales given the environment," said Jeff Shafer, Agave Nectar owner and designer. "Some premium denim companies are taking product to Third World countries to chase price down, but to get cachet and export to Europe, you need to make denim here." Accessories continues to be a sales driver for retailers and Project plans to devote about 20 percent of its space to the category, up from 10 percent last

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BLUE A TTITUDE

Get all shook up this season with curve-hugging denim. -- Leila Baboi

PRPS' cotton denim jacket paired with Agave Nectar's rayon linen tank top and Denim of Virtue's cotton and spandex denim skirt. Diesel's cotton denim shirt and AG Adriano Goldschmied's cotton and elastane denim shorts. 55 DSL belt.

WWD, THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2008

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10 Feet's cotton jacket over Endovanera's bamboo and cotton tank top and Rock & Republic's cotton denim skirt. Skinny ring.

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PROJECT PREVIEW

Nolita's cotton and elastane jumpsuit. Cesare Paciotti pumps. James Jeans' cotton and Lycra denim shirt over Kill City's cotton shirt and Grey Ant's cotton and Lycra denim shorts.

Sass & Bide's cotton denim vest and Colcci's cotton and elastane denim shorts.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY RODOLFO MARTINEZ; MODEL: ANGELIKA/PHOTOGENICS; HAIR BY JOHNNY STUNTZ FOR PHOTOGENICS BEAUTY AT SMASHBOX; MAKEUP BY HELLEN ROBERTSON FOR CHANEL AT CELESTINEAGENCY.COM; MANICURE BY MARSHA BIALO FOR CHINA GLAZE AT ARTISTSBYTIMOTHYPRIANO.COM; FASHION ASSISTANTS: TANYA BROWN AND EUNICE LEE

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Bigger Is Better

Project's large visitor roles offer vendors the opportunity to reach retailers of all shapes and sizes.

By Khanh T.L. Tran

PROJECT'S SHOW IN LAS VEGAS AIMS BIG -- AND THAT'S HOW THE VENDORS focusing on premium denim and contemporary sportswear like it. The prospect of meeting with more than 25,000 visitors representing high-end department stores, better boutiques and a corps of journalists has lured a number of companies to exhibit at Project for the first time. Among those that will make their debuts at the Sands Expo & Convention Center are international labels such as London's Radcliffe and LifeWithBird from Melbourne, Australia, as well as Southern California-based Grey Ant and Quiksilver. In addition, casualwear specialist Royal Plush chose to unveil its new activewear line at the show. "Although we're a British brand, the U.S. is our most important market. We've got to think like an American brand," said Suzy Radcliffe, the founder and creative director of Radcliffe. "This is the first time we're doing Project. And we're really excited." In tune with Project's reputation for featuring directional looks in denim, Radcliffe will introduce denim dresses, including one whose corset top accentuated with big buttons flares into a full skirt, as part of some two dozen styles in its new fashion division. Other statement-making pieces are skinny jeans mottled with a yellow acid wash and sailor pants enhanced with dark khaki piping against blue denim. LifeWithBird also will add denim for the first time to its six-year-old dressoriented contemporary line. In contrast to the trend steering waistbands higher to the navel, the company is going low with hipster jeans. Another highlight from the spring lineup is a mini shirtdress with silver-foiled black lace forming the skirt and a silk georgette on top. "A lot of our appeal has been in going from day to night," said Nick Messner, LifeWithBird's co-director and co-designer. Several Project vendors acknowledge the difficulty in selling a premium product amid escalating inflation, sinking home values, lofty gas prices and rising unemployment. David Hwang, president of Los Angeles' Pierce Jeans, stressed that cautious retailers want quality. "Everybody is a little tight on their budget," he said. "They want more for their money. Overall, they are tightening down on their inventory." To appeal to buyers, Pierce Jeans will offer lightweight denim for its resort and spring collections. With its first shipment scheduled for Dec. 30, the resort lineup will emphasize a faded Japanese denim weighing 6.25 oz., cut into flirty styles like a miniskirt trimmed with white piping and gold buttons. The spring collection, to be delivered between February and May, will integrate 7.5-oz. Japanese denim in a dark finish with red stitching. After creating every single shade of blue imaginable, David Lim, creative director and owner of Los Angeles' Kasil, said it's time to play with novel treatments such as chambray, striped denim and a rainbow of colors, ranging from overdyed black to pink and green. Kasil also will introduce a line of woven tops and knits costing around $35 for spring, while lowering prices on the jeans by 10 percent to hit a wholesale price range of $82 to $88. "We want to have a little fun for spring and summer," Lim said. Tadd Zarubica, designer of Los Angeles' Denim of Virtue, is adding novelty with tie-dying, studs, shreds ravaging the entire front of jeans and an updated cotton-Tencel fabric that can withstand distressing. "As the economy tightens, things get more glitzy or sexy," he noted. The slowing economy also affects the way retailers place orders, often moving them closer to the delivery date. To accommodate as many as 40 percent of customers who are still ordering merchandise from the holiday collection that starts shipping Nov. 30, Zarubica said he will display key holiday pieces along with the new spring collection at Project. "It's a catch-up," he said of the lastminute orders. Receiving orders closer to season and lowering prices are also commonplace with contemporary designers such as Jenny Han, who dropped prices by about 5 percent to between $68 and $98. Though she's ready to show the safari-inspired skirts, walking shorts and tribal looks drenched in mauve, burnt orange and fuchsia from her spring collection, she also will display a smattering of holiday pieces that are available for immediate delivery. Still, her design philosophy remains constant no matter what the season is: "It is a must-have so that stores can't turn it down," she said.

" Everybody is a little tight on their budget. They want more for their money. "

-- David Hwang, Pierce Jeans

Here and above: Tight budgets for retailers mean customer service will have to be a priority for vendors.

In the case of Quiksilver, which will display the third collection for its new young contemporary line, price sensitivity can be worked to its advantage. "We're attracting consumers who still want to shop but are being more discriminating in how they shop," said Steve Ellingson, a vice president of sales at the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based company. Quiksilver's wholesale prices run from $20 to $68. For spring, the company will offer stretch denim with contrast paneling, a funnel neck laser-cut eyelet top and a slip dress in striped silk crepe de chine. It also collaborated with Lesa Wallace, a Los Angeles-based contemporary handbag designer, to craft patent leather and burlap into duffel bags, shoulder bags, small totes and messenger bags, all wholesaling from $34 to $68. Unconventional details such as heavy canvas and rubber buttons figure prominently in Corpus' full women's line bowing for the spring selling season. While the Los Angeles company previously offered unisex clothing or rescaled men's garments for women's bodies, this is the first time that it made a concerted effort to design dresses and skirts. Riffing on a Fifties theme transported through Japan with a nautical palette of army green, cream and French blue, Corpus will show a mid-thigh denim pencil skirt with acorn pockets, a trapeze jacket with rubber closures and a tulip skirt in heavy canvas, according to Olympia Bermann, who is co-designing the women's line. Comfort is key for Royal Plush's new activewear line, which integrates more stretch than the flagship casualwear line manufactured by the Torrance, Calif.-based company. With wholesale prices between $20 and $45, bottoms will be available in a boot leg, cropped version and shorts. Tanks will have built-in bras and cover-up options come in a funnel neck zip-up and a fashion wrap jacket with a hood. What's more, gym rats can also sport trendy finishes like dip dyes. "In the activewear market, there isn't a lot of fashion," said Michelle Waller, who owns Royal Plush with her husband, Steve. "Our customers really want to look pretty cute when they go to the gym."

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PROJECT PREVIEW

Boutiques are paying careful attention to what they buy.

Accessories are expected to be popular sells in the tough market.

The M. Frederic boutique in Malibu.

The Hillary Rush boutique in Los Angeles.

Close to Home

In a rough economy, some retailers are rethinking their trade show trips.

By Anne Riley-Katz

IN ADDITION TO HITTING LAS VEGAS' RETAIL AND HOTEL BUSINESSES, the ongoing U.S. economic slump is expected to impact Sin City's trade shows. With gas and food prices continuing to rise, home values still falling, consumer credit woes persisting and retail sales plummeting nationwide, Las Vegas' apparel trade shows this month could be feeling the economic pinch in the form of lower than usual buyer attendance and decreased order volume. As stores scale back inventory and take a cautious approach to buying, trade shows, including Project, are bound to see some impact. While show parent Advanstar Communications Inc. hasn't released attendance projections, retail industry analysts said traffic is more than likely to be down this year. More than 60 percent of the show's attendees are from specialty stores, smaller boutiques or operations that tend to be hit harder by the economic downturn than larger chains. Even chain retailers have struggled of late, with a number of bankruptcies -- Steve & Barry's, Mervyn's and Boscov's among the most recent -- in the past 12 months. Still, Project should command a large turnout. According to organizers, the show continues to see growth in the women's sector, drawing thousands of buyers each August among some 25,000 visitors to the three-day event, which will run Aug. 26 to 28 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Erin Armendinger, managing director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, said that the big national shows this year have drawn noticeably fewer retailers than in the past, something that's a clear result of the depressed economy. Last month, vacancies at U.S. neighborhood and community shopping centers rose to a 13-year high, while vacancies at larger, regional malls were at their highest level since 2002, according to research firm Reis Inc. "Retailers are doing things online or buying locally, we're just not seeing them go to as many shows, in large part because of the cost," Armendinger said. "If you are paying for hotels, flight, gas and registration it gets to be very costly, especially for smaller or struggling businesses these days. Times are not good in stores, and for retail in general." Some store owners echoed the sentiment, saying that instead of going to Project or MAGIC this summer, they were staying closer to home. "We're not doing the Vegas shows, just doing the Dallas market this time around; we've been able to find a lot more vendors nearby in the last year or so that have new and different things, and we don't have to travel so far to do the buying," said Denise Manoy, owner of the Indigo 1745 boutique in Dallas. "We are not a real trend-driven shop anyway, so we're looking for unique pieces you might not find at shows like that." According to 2007 data from Advanstar, more than 85 percent of Project Las Vegas attendees are from the U.S., with more than half coming from the West Coast and about a third coming from the East Coast. Forty percent of the buyers attending shopped for men's wear, with 46 percent buying women's wear and another 12 percent buying kids' wear. Those who attend said they will be on the hunt for new brands and items that set them apart from other retailers in the marketplace. Fred Levine, who owns the Southern California chain M. Frederic, said he and his wife would do virtually all of the stores' buying at Project this month, calling the show a "godsend" because he can shop for men's, women's and kids' wear all in one place. "Your merchandise has to be outstanding, has to be exhilarating. Times are so, so hard now that you have to have irresistibles, your buying has to be sharper than ever before, so you have to work for it at the big shows and not go in with a preconceived notion of what you'll find," Levine said. "You need to have great things in the store for people to lay out those dollars." Value is another big driver for the retailers planning to attend the show late this month, especially in women's apparel. "Wholesale, if I can find things under a hundred bucks I'm so happy; that's my goal," said Heather Martin, the manager and buyer for actress Lisa Rinna's Belle Gray boutique in Los Angeles. "Retail-wise, anything under $200 tends to sell really well here. These days people are willing to spend money on a great pair of shoes and boots but want to spend less on clothing items." Mandy Krewson has owned her Scottsdale, Ariz., boutique Mandy's for seven years and said she typically sees a 5 to 10 percent increase in sales year-overyear. This year, she said she'll be happy just to keep sales flat, and will be buying at Project more cautiously than usual, keeping an eye on her inventory levels. "Shoppers are definitely more budget-conscious, people are spending less. There are so many stores around here that love to carry collections, which are very nice, but we like separates, mainly, something that works for us in the current economy," Krewson said. "Project is a great place to pick those up -- shorts, a fun dress or a top. A lot of great new lines have launched and you can get a great value without having to spend $200." Categories that are likely to be popular, retailers predicted, are long dresses, cashmeres and midprice accessories. For example, Tie-ups, an Italian line of brightly colored, recycled rubber belts, will make its North American debut at Project this month, something Canadabased distributor Throat Threads is hoping will gain traction with the retailers who come to buy. "Accessories will do well at the shows, it's a category that people will spend on because these are smaller items with a big impact, like jewelry, bags and belts," said Jay H. Baker's Armendinger. "You can change what you already have with a small number of items. Change your belt, for instance, and you've got on a whole new outfit. That's the kind of market this is and that's how people will buy."

PHOTOS BY STEFANIE KEENAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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