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After seeing Quiksilver's Limited Collection at Fred Segal on Melrose recently, I headed to Quiksilver headquarters to find out more about the line.
I met with Steve Fontes, Quiksilver's design director, and Cheyne Gilmore, left, the company's footwear product line manager. Both work on the Limited Collection in addition to their work on the main lines at Quiksilver.
The Limited Collection, typically 25 to 30 pieces, is different from the main line in that there are no large logos or branding on the clothes or shoes and the styles are more fashion forward and use higher-end materials and fabrics. There is no obvious way to tell the clothes are from Quiksilver - the only way I discovered them at Fred Segal was hunting inside each garment for labels.
The company is keeping distribution of the collection narrow by design - the Limited Collection can't be found on Quiksilver's website or in its stores.
The idea for the collection started in 2000, when Quiksilver began customizing pieces from its main line for Fred Segal. Other fashion boutiques showed interest over the years, so in 2007 the company created a separate collection.
"We decided to get serious in separating the look and offering something different to retailers," Steve said.
The company also brought on an outside sales rep, Matt Cabral, who specialized in fashion that helped legitimize the line, Steve said. A buyer from Fred Segal, JT Akers, also joined Quiksilver to help with the project.
The Limited Collection team is finding boutique shoppers are responding to the collection's price points, which while higher than typical Quiksilver pieces are lower than many fashion brands found at boutiques. T-shirts retail for $50, shorts and boardshorts for $90, long sleeve wovens for $110, and a hooded cardigan jacket for $230. For fall, the collection will be carried at boutiques such as American Rag, Azalea, The Closet, Lizard Lounge, Qio, Memes and Blue Bee.
Blue Bee in Santa Barbara is carrying the Limited Collection for spring as well and is showcasing it with a pop-up store through April.
"Our customer is excited by Quiksilver Ltd. because they have a close association with the brand as they all grew up with it," said Marty Bebout, co-founder and co-owner of Blue Bee. "As they are now more luxury shoppers, they want higher quality and more special things that are not sold everywhere. Also, this season's nostalgic look at the 80s reminds a lot of these guys of a freer and easier time! We are selling a lot of it and it makes everyone smile. I think every Southern California guy can relate some good times to Quiksilver."
Closed-toe footwear is now exclusively with the Limited Collection. Its previous incarnation with more of a skate shoe feel didn't catch on in the U.S. So the company has changed the look to more of a casual vibe that fits with the boutique market, said Cheyne, right. For fall, there are five styles and 12 SKUs, including a classic basketball shoe with waxed canvas for $75, an eco-friendly shoe made out of recycled plastic bottles, and a high top with a retro Quiksilver pink and turquoise checkerboard and stripe print.
Clothing styles for fall that have been particularly popular with retailers include two wovens with an updated oxford style, a cotton canvas lightweight shirt jacket, a shortsleeve blended pullover, a knitted fleece in the style of a bomber jacket, a peacoat with satin lining a hooded cardigan jacket, and a boardshort with a vintage feel.