Women’s Market Style Report

Billabong
Cathy Paik
Title: Juniors’ design director
Years At Brand: 4.5
Years Designing: Eighteen
Key Influence: Living in the lifestyle.

What’s the design direction for Spring ’04?
Some of the major themes include what we call “Anti: an eclectic/individual mix of different styles that range from athletic- to punk- to retro-inspired looks. {There’s also} an emphasis on creating your own style. Military continues to be a strong look. Styles are updated with attention to details. Hardware and specialty trims are used to enhance silhouettes. Bottom hem details, ruching, and satin trims give styles a more feminine feel. Classic surf-inspired styles are given a new twist with the use of unusual graphic placements and fresh color mixes. Silhouettes are relaxed and comfortable in natural fabrications and easy-to-wear colors. They’re also more girly and body-conscious.

What are the key outside influences on design?
There are many outside influences that play a role in our design: action sports, music, art, and youth culture are all relevant to the makeup of the line.

What specific product are you excited about for next spring?
I am very excited about the swimwear portion of our line. Swim has had an amazing last few seasons and only promises to get better.

What will buyers see from you in colors, silhouettes, washes, and fabrications?
There’s a wide range of colors offered for spring with three different palettes: muted brights; softer, watery shades of pastels; and neutrals. Silhouettes vary within the different areas of the line, washes are also varied within different segments of the line — a key emphasis is put on washed-back-looking treatments for a more soft and worn look. Fabrications are also dependent on what part of the line is being addressed. They include knits, yarn dyes, wovens, prints, twills, canvasses, denims, and more.

What’s the difference between this year’s spring line and last year’s?
The line for Spring ’04 has a stronger emphasis on attention-to-details. There’s more use of novelty trims and hardware, fresh new use of colors, and unique treatment of graphics and prints.

What should buyers consider when viewing a line?
Consider the strength of how easily the line merchandises from category to category in all areas, from sportswear to tees.

DC Shoes
Stacy Dye
Title: Creative director
Years At Brand: Eight months
Years Designing: Five

Shaney Jo Darden
Title: Designer
Years At Brand: Seven months
Years Designing: Darden — Ten
Key Influences: Music, friends, art, life

What’s the design direction for Spring ’04?
Basically just taking the brand DC and what it stands for and translating it into a girls’ collection. We incorporated street, skate, and urban lifestyles while keeping on the forefront that DC is an athletic brand.

What are the key outside influences on design?
Being that Shaney and I were new to DC, we really looked inside, instead of outside for influence. We had an un-jaded view of what DC’s image was, so we took that, translated it to girls, and flipped it a bit.

What specific product are you excited about for next spring?
Our embossed poly tracksuits. They feature a custom DC embossed print, and I think that this group represents the athletic heritage of DC.

What will buyers see from you in colors, silhouettes, washes, and fabrications?
Our colors are very subtle, and again translating to girls the colors that remain true to the DC brand. Silhouettes are from fitted low-rise to boyish and baggy. Washes on denim are minimal, with very little blasting. Fabrications include custom weaves, stripes, ripstop, and lightweight fleece that’s great for spring.

What’s the difference between this year’s spring line and last year’s?
Last spring the gis’ line was tees, sweatshirts, and a few accessories that complemented the footwear line. Spring 2004 is a collection including denim, tracksuits, fleece, tees, and a full line of accessories that merchandise with the footwear and apparel. The girls’ footwear line has expanded and colors will tie in with each apparel group.

What should buyers consider when viewing a line?
DC Spring 2004 is a complete collection of footwear, apparel, and accessories that will be backed up with advertising, special events, and a cool Web site. We’re creating a lifestyle for the DC girl that we feel is a niche in our industry that’s missing.

What trends do you see happening in the market, and how will you put your stamp on them for spring?
With girls you have to stay on top of trends, but more importantly, we’re doing what’s right to represent our brand. We’ve flipped all our categories in a cool way with special pockets, details, and fabrics while staying true to the look, feel, and heritage of DC. We don’t want to chase trends. More than anything, we want to translate into apparel and accessories for girls what DC has built for years for men.

Dickies Girl
Masud Sarshar
Title: CEO/designer
Years At Brand: Three
Years Designing: Twenty
Key Influence: Vintage and people-watching

What’s the design direction for spring ’04?
Zippers, zippers, zippers. It’s all about zippers!

What are the key outside influences on design?
My thirteen-year-old daughter.

What specific product are you excited about for next spring?
Cargoes, zippers, and kilt-influenced skirts.

What will buyers see from you in colors, silhouettes, washes, and fabrications?
That will be a surprise!

What should buyers consider when viewing a line?
Fit.

What trends do you see happening in the market, and how will you put your stamp on them for spring?
Garments that are punk-influenced and detailed.

Ezekiel
Ryan Rush
Title: Creative director and head designer
Years At Brand: 1.5
Years Designing: Twelve
Key Influences: Most of my design influences come from being in the mix with our core customer. I subscribe to more than twenty magazines. I live in L.A. and travel to Europe, Asia, and New York regularly. Basically, I try to digest as much culture as I can and translate it to fit the Ezekiel image.

What’s the design direction for Spring ’04?
We’re going back to the 60s and 70s for our inspiration. I know designers have been going back to this era for the last two decades, but there’s still a lot of uncharted territory, and we’re maximizing it. I enjoy combining vintage styles with modern trends and ideas. This is an era when buyers were merchants and bought on gut instinct as opposed buying from selling reports. Therefore, designers were free to be creative. The benefit is that there’s an abundance of original and fresh ideas from this era to get inspired by.

What are the key outside influences on design?
I can’t give away all of my secrets.

What specific product are you excited about for next spring?
We’re doing a woven miniskirt, boy-beater, and matching button-down top that’s inspired by the Girl Scouts uniform. It has lots of cool patches of campfires, numbers, and stars for an authentic Girl Scout look, yet it’s super fitted and sexy. We made a different version last year, and it rocked at retail.

What will buyers see from you in colors, silhouettes, washes, and fabrications?
Ezekiel’s color palette for spring is based around earth tones but with a few brights such as yellow, baby blue, lavender, and fuchsia. Our silhouettes have gotten tighter, shorter, and sexier. Many of our tops and bottoms have been enzyme-washed for a vintage look and feel. We’re primarily using cotton-based stretch knits and wovens.

What’s the difference between this year’s spring line and last year’s?
The line still has a bit of tomboy flair, but has become much more fitted and feminine. Girls want sexier and more flattering clothing, and we’re answering the call. Additionally, we’re using a lot more custom-printed fabrics that are very fresh and unique. We’re making it a point to not use any hibiscus flower prints, since you can get plenty of that from Kmart and our competitors.

What should buyers consider when viewing a line?
I think buying — just as designing — begins on the sales floor, not in the office. Buyers should be in constant communication with their customers to find out their fashion needs. I’ve never been a buyer, but their job is similar to mine. We’re both in the business of trying to predict what will sell to our customers months in advance. Neither the buyer nor designer has a crystal ball, but with good feedback from our core customer, we can generally anticipate her needs.

What trends do you see happening in the market, and how will you put your stamp on them for spring?
Juniors’ fashion is getting girlier and cuter. Girls want to be girls, therefore the tomboy looks are slowing. Our silhouettes are fitted and flattering. Retro California culture is a strong trend that I believe will be important for the next few seasons. Additionally, miniskirts are hot, so we’ve designed them in every possible fabric and style. We have a micromini that’s crazy short.

Gallaz
Linda D’alleste
Title: Creative director, Globe and Gallaz Apparel
Years At Brand: 1.5
Years Designing: Ten, including seven years at Globe International
Key Influences: Music and youth cultures worldwide; music videos, underground film, and art movements; and upmarket fashion and advertising.

What’s the design direction for Spring ’04?
Gallaz presents its spring/summer line with an explosion of primary color. Inspired by the age that first introduced athletic dressing to the masses, the 80s, Gallaz combines color and uninhibited styling to introduce a fresh new look to our girl on the streets. And why deny yourself the opportunity to mix man-style pants with coyly cute specialty tops. Black denim is the tip for our girl who knows what’s going on ¿ and if she’s really got a clue then the ripstop kimono will have her reeling. There’s a return of perforated leather in belts, clutches, and handbags. Also look for sandblasted canvas duffle bags, rugby-stripe fleece handbags, nylon backpacks, and twill totes. And wallets in all of the above to complete the picture alongside rocking cuffs, socks, key rings, and stickpins.

What are the key outside influences on design?
Music and worldwide politics are influencing design. It is usually more prevalent through music trends than anywhere else. Ultimately though, any creative designer is influenced by every visual they are encountered with every day. Style and specific design stem from a juxtaposition of every visual experience the designer has deemed important enough to store in his or her subconscious. Under pressure, most often we design what we like and know is deemed desirable by our customer.

What specific product are you excited about for next spring?
I guess in every range there’s a standout story that captures the essence of the brand, and this season it is the Love And Death — standout art that reflects the brand, the girl who buys it, and is a sign of the times. We’ve also carried it through to our accessories story, and I’m anticipating it to be the number-one story picked out by our buyers across the world. Our shoe designers will also be using aspects from the collage on one or two shoe versions.

What will buyers see from you in colors, silhouettes, washes, and fabrications?
Bright primary colors against a serious backdrop of military basics. Silhouettes are sharp, simple, >What’s the difference between this year’s spring line and last year’s?
The line still has a bit of tomboy flair, but has become much more fitted and feminine. Girls want sexier and more flattering clothing, and we’re answering the call. Additionally, we’re using a lot more custom-printed fabrics that are very fresh and unique. We’re making it a point to not use any hibiscus flower prints, since you can get plenty of that from Kmart and our competitors.

What should buyers consider when viewing a line?
I think buying — just as designing — begins on the sales floor, not in the office. Buyers should be in constant communication with their customers to find out their fashion needs. I’ve never been a buyer, but their job is similar to mine. We’re both in the business of trying to predict what will sell to our customers months in advance. Neither the buyer nor designer has a crystal ball, but with good feedback from our core customer, we can generally anticipate her needs.

What trends do you see happening in the market, and how will you put your stamp on them for spring?
Juniors’ fashion is getting girlier and cuter. Girls want to be girls, therefore the tomboy looks are slowing. Our silhouettes are fitted and flattering. Retro California culture is a strong trend that I believe will be important for the next few seasons. Additionally, miniskirts are hot, so we’ve designed them in every possible fabric and style. We have a micromini that’s crazy short.

Gallaz
Linda D’alleste
Title: Creative director, Globe and Gallaz Apparel
Years At Brand: 1.5
Years Designing: Ten, including seven years at Globe International
Key Influences: Music and youth cultures worldwide; music videos, underground film, and art movements; and upmarket fashion and advertising.

What’s the design direction for Spring ’04?
Gallaz presents its spring/summer line with an explosion of primary color. Inspired by the age that first introduced athletic dressing to the masses, the 80s, Gallaz combines color and uninhibited styling to introduce a fresh new look to our girl on the streets. And why deny yourself the opportunity to mix man-style pants with coyly cute specialty tops. Black denim is the tip for our girl who knows what’s going on ¿ and if she’s really got a clue then the ripstop kimono will have her reeling. There’s a return of perforated leather in belts, clutches, and handbags. Also look for sandblasted canvas duffle bags, rugby-stripe fleece handbags, nylon backpacks, and twill totes. And wallets in all of the above to complete the picture alongside rocking cuffs, socks, key rings, and stickpins.

What are the key outside influences on design?
Music and worldwide politics are influencing design. It is usually more prevalent through music trends than anywhere else. Ultimately though, any creative designer is influenced by every visual they are encountered with every day. Style and specific design stem from a juxtaposition of every visual experience the designer has deemed important enough to store in his or her subconscious. Under pressure, most often we design what we like and know is deemed desirable by our customer.

What specific product are you excited about for next spring?
I guess in every range there’s a standout story that captures the essence of the brand, and this season it is the Love And Death — standout art that reflects the brand, the girl who buys it, and is a sign of the times. We’ve also carried it through to our accessories story, and I’m anticipating it to be the number-one story picked out by our buyers across the world. Our shoe designers will also be using aspects from the collage on one or two shoe versions.

What will buyers see from you in colors, silhouettes, washes, and fabrications?
Bright primary colors against a serious backdrop of military basics. Silhouettes are sharp, simple, and confident — relaxed with comfortable, well-worn washes that aren’t as obviously manufactured. Fabrications are crisp cottons, ripstops, denim, and drills — some washed to soften, some left crisp and stiff. The contrast of textures is key.

What’s the difference between this year’s spring line and last year’s?
Compared to last year’s line we have more choices across more categories. Last spring was fundamentally the launch of apparel for Gallaz, and we strategically started with a tight line of graphic-driven basic product and accessories. For next spring we have more of that and a wider selection in wovens and specialty items.

What should buyers consider when viewing a line?
From my experience, buyers generally take a tried-and-proven approach to their buying. If a certain item worked well for them in the previous season, they’ll look for a similar item and back it with confidence. However, in the youth market trends move too fast for too much of this kind of approach. Our girls are onto the latest and the greatest in trends fast and need to be stimulated to purchase. My advice to buyers would be to watch the customer as much as they watch their sales results and cash in on the trends they see coming up, rather than looking back. Take some well-informed risks and buy with educated confidence.

Also, watch the TV shows, video clips, and Web sites that our girls do and the buying trends become really obvious. The beauty of our business is constant change, and to satisfy our girls the product we offer should reflect that.

What trends do you see happening in the market, and how will you put your stamp on them for spring?
The return of the 80s is the most prevalent trend and is quickly translated into wearable street fashion for the youth market. The 80s were when athletic clothing first hit the mass market as fashion feasible for every day. There are so many elements that are relevant to our customer, but the main derivative for Gallaz is color. After seasons of neutral and earthy tones, this season sees vibrant primary color return with a vengeance. It encourages looser tops and bottoms, minis, and a focus on shoulders, legs, and waist. The 80s was such a serious attempt at attracting attention with color and size, flamboyant and feisty, and Gallaz is not about any of that. Our modest approach to 80s’ key elements injects a more contemporary and relevant feel to the line. Subtlety is our cornerstone — enough “flavor to separate us from the competition, {but} not so much as to restrict our customer from making us her own.

Paul Frank
Joanne Cruz
Title: Juniors’ designer
Years At Brand: Three months (first season: Spring 2004)
Years Designing: Five
Key Influences: I’m constantly absorbing what’s around me, so it’s usually a combination of a lot of things, including music. I love thinking about what my brothers, I, and other kids wore when we were growing up.

What’s the design direction for Spring ’04?
Basics mixed with whimsical novelty.

What are the key outside influences on design?
Travel, people-watching, nostalgia of being a kid; friends inspire me.

What specific product are you excited about for next spring?
Knit dresses and custom prints.

What will buyers see from you in colors, silhouettes, washes, and fabrications?
Colors are bright — but pretty and soft, more attention to detail in basic silhouettes, more novelty items have a nostalgic feel, and washes are soft or more rigid depending on the garment.

What’s the difference between this year’s spring line and last year’s?
Each delivery is defined by color story and not by one theme; themes are apparent throughout the entire collection.

What should buyers consider when viewing a line?
Explore the different options in buying: a line can be bought in small groups — i.e., sport set with a tee that merchandis