Facing Back-to-School Challenges

Denim manufacturers are revamping strategies for a back-to-school season that just isn't what it used to be.

View Slideshow
Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Denim In Depth issue 05/22/2008
The Dollhouse b-t-s collection has evolved into a fall transition line, said Jamison. The line is divided this season into two themes — fall includes a skinny-leg, acid-washed punk rock-inspired collection and a group of bleached boot-cut silhouettes with abrasion treatments.

"We have to offer a balance," said Jamison. "We're in a reality check, with consumers buying less and retailers being careful."

The b-t-s season represents up to 40 percent of business for Z Co., a three-year-old brand, but the season is not clearly defined, said Charles Jedara, president.

"There are so many variables, with schools starting at different times around the country, regional weather and dress codes," he said. "Back-to-school is no longer a strict season."

For fall, 80 percent of the Z Co. line is denim, in a range of dark, clean looks to bleached denim with rips and tears. The line also includes shorts, and alternative fabrics such as madras plaids and stretch twills.

Two junior lines, Bongo and Southpole, are introducing individualized fits this fall.

Bongo's Fab 5 Fits will launch in July. Five designated fits, Flirty, Fabulous, Fierce, Fearless and Feisty, range from skinny legs and midrise waists to ultra low-rise waists and wide-flare legs. Hangtags, in-store signage and a microsite devoted to fit are designed to simplify the buying experience and educate consumers.

"Bongo is known for fit, so that's what we want to maximize," said Kimberly Lee Minor, vice president of brand management. "We have to find ways to make the brand stand out."

For the first time this year, Southpole will also designate fits, labeled Freestyle, Salsa, Rock 'N' Roll, Mambo, Tango and Rave, with varying rises and leg openings. Packaging and signage are designed to help consumers identify body types and find the perfect fit.

David Strumeier, senior vice president of marketing, licensing and new business development, said offering "increased perceived value" this b-t-s season was more important than ever.

"With this economy, it's quality and value that drives the sale," he said. "We have to make it easy and clear for the consumer."
View Slideshow
Page:  « Previous
load comments


Sign in using your Facebook or Twitter account, or simply type your comment below as a guest by entering your email and name. Your email address will not be shared. Please note that WWD reserves the right to remove profane, distasteful or otherwise inappropriate language.
News from WWD

Sign upSign up for WWD and FN newsletters to receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts and weekly industry wrap-ups.

getIsArchiveOnly= hasAccess=false hasArchiveAccess=false