OUTERWEAR WEEK: Vendor View — What’s Next, Part 2

Vendors share insight into this season’s outerwear business and what’s in store for fall 2013.

Bruce Zeitlin, The Levy Group

Formal outerwear for Nautica and Perry Ellis

Best sellers for fall 2012?
In both Perry Ellis and Nautica we’re doing well with patterns like herringbone and twills, and colors like charcoal. In Nautica, details like chunky knit collars and belted styles are selling. Overall, shorter, trimmer coats are selling for around $150 OTD.

What’s your direction for fall 2013?
We’re starting to see this emergence of longer, trim jackets (almost like a duster but not quite). We’re also going to be showing more top coats and DBs for fall. Camel colors in more basic styles will be strong, as well as mixed media styles (e.g. wool herringbones with felt collars similar to the classic Chesterfield coat).

What can retailers do to jump-start sales?
There needs to be a return to function and form at retail. We’re seeing that mixture of casual and dress and are doing things like adding iPad pockets to our tailored coat liners.

Whitney Hunter, Salence

Best sellers for fall 2012?
Our best sellers are waterproof shell jackets, casual insulated jackets and sweater jackets. Our collection retails from $295 to $795.

What’s your direction for fall 2013?
Our focus has always been on bringing technical outerwear into the world of higher-end menswear. We see a trend towards function and fashion, the marriage of technology and sophisticated style. There will always be a place for the wool overcoat, but we’re experiencing a greater interest in fully functional outerwear that appeals to a more urban aesthetic and doesn’t look so ‘techy’ or ‘outdoorsy.’

What can retailers do to jump-start sales?
Retailers who have been most successful with our brand understand the technical aspects of outerwear and even the history of how it developed. There’s a lot to know about a well-made, functional piece of outerwear: fabric, pocket placement, collar height, waterproof versus weatherproof, fit, trim and accessories are all important. If they can be communicated with enthusiasm and knowledge, customers will respond. Guys increasingly want to know more about what they’re buying and if you can tell them, you’ll have a better chance of success.

Carlos Bethencourt, 32 Degrees Weatherproof

Best sellers for fall 2012?
We’re selling soft shell, systems jackets, pop-color puffer vests (i.e. orange, royal blue, military green) at retail price points from $100 to 195.

What’s your direction for fall 2013?
We’re showing color (yellow, red, royal blue, white, black and silver), reversibles and innovative fabrics.

What can retailers do to jump-start sales?
Trade shows; marketing programs; pre-season press.

Michael Rosenberg, Hawke & Co.

Best sellers for fall 2012?
We’re doing well with slimmer styles in fresh colors. Performance fabrics with technical features are also important, as well as warmth without weight.

What’s your direction for fall 2013?
We’re going back to our roots with our Hawke & Co. Outfitter collection and focusing on the brand’s ‘Born in Brooklyn’ heritage and history. We had a lot of U.S. success with our Hawke Pro line, so we’ll further develop that collection and grow it with our key international accounts.

What can retailers do to jump-start sales?
Successful retailers have a strategic, long-term focus. Their customers and product mix are cohesive, and they’re taking risk in order to capture the consumer’s imagination and dollars.

Jack Foster, Sterlingwear

Best sellers for fall 2012?
Best selling styles include our four-button front, single-breasted jacket with two double welt flap pockets, two piece back vent with a convertible collar. It comes in a wool/nylon blend ($300 retail), 100% wool ($340 retail), and a wool/cashmere blend ($450 retail). Another style doing well for us is a double-breasted long coat with double welt pocket flaps, vent, inside cell pocket and breast pocket. It comes in wool/nylon blend ($315 retail), 100% wool ($360, retail), and a wool/cashmere blend ($475 retail). Also our men’s zip–up short coat with two vertical single welt pockets and two inside pockets is selling in a wool/nylon blend for $200 retail. Finally, our authentic peacoat is the closest reproduction of the specification peacoat that’s on the commercial market today. It’s double-breasted, six-button front, framed slash pockets, convertible collar, two-piece back with center vent. It’s fully fleece lined with satin yoke and sleeves with one inside breast pocket on facing in a wool blend for $265 retail.

What’s your direction for fall 2013?
All of our fall ’13 styles are slimmer silhouettes with functional assets. We’re also showing new shell materials and color blocking.

What can retailers do to jump-start sales?
The weather is out the retailers hands, but we can all hope for a colder winter to drive sales. Retailers should look for bold offerings and made-in-America garments.

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