Retailer contact info:
Susan Stewart, Product Line Merchandiser:
What are the three biggest trends you see shaping the market and what you are doing to meet them?
The three biggest trends shaping the market would be the importance of fit, the sobriety of color palettes and the movement towards visual texture. Tailored fit has become increasingly important to our consumer. Long gone are the days when every snowboard pant fit was “standard”, consumers are looking for customization and differentiation. We worked extensively to dial in our fits for 2011 and update each one. Our Revolver fit has a lower rise and is slim and straight throughout the seat, thigh and leg. Our tried-and-true classic Freedom fit has been updated. It is overall larger throughout the seat, thigh and leg and features a longer rise with a slightly shorter inseam for a more relaxed fit. Color palettes across the board have seen a sobriety from the previous years. We continue to focus on the bright colors that Blend is known for but rather than focusing on neon and primary colors, we are moving towards richer and more saturated colors that provide a similar visual effect. With the death of allover prints, we have seen texture emerge as the new trend. Using various techniques, we have placed our focus on bringing texture into our styles using everything from concrete images, unique fabric weaves and the blocking of cire Nylon with full-dull fabrics
What fabrics, colors, and technologies are you focusing on for next season?
For 2012 we looked into more textural fabrics and tried to tie each into the larger story of the brand or a specific garment’s DNA. The result is a targeted mix of street-wear inspired face fabrics and the tech our customers have to come to expect from us. Special Blends’ color palette evolved in tandem with our product segmentation for 2012. The Revolver collection is rooted in muted organic colors with some contrast pop flavor. The Principal collection embodies a brighter palette with some true vibrant colors mixed with muted secondary pops.
What are price points doing?
Special Blend’s pricing structure for 2012 has not changed much. We continue to focus at the $199 price point but go over and under, allowing us to offer great outerwear without sacrificing style, fit or performance. We still offer our high-end Goretex styles as well as our $109 opening price point styles. Special Blend isn’t the type of brand that is going to water-down its image at the lower price points to reach a broader consumer market.
How have you responded to the current market and the decrease in prebooks?
We will continue to follow our scarcity model as we have seen positive results from that. The market’s challenging environment has allowed us to take risks and restructure the format of Special Blend to become a more focused and exclusive brand. We are able to dial into our target consumers and give Special Blend a clear direction that instills confidence in our buyers.