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Summer Fashion Is Always The Best

January 18, 2015

Despite the brevity of the season, summer is not a season to shrug off, according to two of SA’s sportswear giants.

Liz Claiborne, Inc., and The Leslie Fay Cos. are gearing their summer lines to include lighter fabrics and well-priced “wear-now” looks for that customer who’s buying on impulse.

The two firms do take issue with whether the summer season is promotional or not. Claiborne doesn’t view it as a promotional season, whereas Leslie Fay views it as highly promotional.

Claiborne does a “respectable” summer business, selling well-priced items designed for impulse buying, according to Ellen Daniel, senior vice president of corporate design. “It’s definitely not a promotional period,” she insisted.

Lookin' hot, lady!

Lookin’ hot, lady!

The Claiborne summer season translates into an early January break, with deliveries scheduled to begin around April 10 for late April through June selling. Daniel characterizes summer as a small season and equates it with resort, in that it is an “in and out” kind of business. With the last shipments of summer merchandise complete by May 20, Claiborne then readies itself for fall deliveries in July.

“Although we deliver fall in the early summer,” explained Daniel, “we gear it to wear-now with light-weight lines but with more fall colorations in July.” Between January and April, she added, it’s necessary to change the color palette slightly because the consumer is buying closer to time and need.

Themes for Liz Claiborne’s summer collection include a chocolate and white knit dressing group and a pale story in washed rayon. In its career line specifically, the look is soft and relaxed with an urban, sophisticated feeling.

Liz Sport and LizWear, on the other hand, focus on the weekend side of dressing with T-shirts, printed cotton jerseys–“these are very strong,” Daniel said–both short and long shorts, and relaxed baggy pants.

Overall, Claiborne’s summer presentation is a “continuation of soft, washed fabrics, some with a touch of Lycra used for a relaxed look,” Daniel said. “Silhouettes will be shaped and soft and relaxed on the bottom.” She described one such look as soft body pants with a closer-to-the-body T-shirt. Short short skirts will not be major players in the lineup. “Anything above 23 1/2 inches is not for our customer,” she said.

Wholesale prices for summer start at $23 in the career line for a rayon blouse and run up to $55 for a rayon jacket. Sport prices begin at $9 for a T-shirt and go up to $26 for baggy twill pants. Prices in LizWear are similar to those of the Sport line, Daniel said.

“In most of our businesses we place a lot of emphasis of summer,” said Alan Golub, president of the sportswear division of Leslie Fay. He said summer will account for 15 to 20 percent of the first half’s business, with those figures varying in some companies.

Summer lines broke over a month ago, with deliveries commencing around the middle of March through May 15. By having merchandise in stores during this period, Leslie Fay is attempting to satisfy the customer’s immediate apparel needs by offering warm weather merchandise when the weather is just that: warm.

Golub said many companies ship spring merchandise too early–when it’s still 30 degrees out–a time when summer may be on the minds of many, but winter is the reality.

During this period, which Golub said is largely promotional, the firm’s traditional offerings will run the gamut from shorts, bermudas included, to clothes with a nautical feeling and T-shirts, with colors mostly brights.

He pointed out short skirts are not as important to the misses’ customer, a market that many of Leslie Fay’s sportswear divisions target.

Traditional lengths, Golub said, have outperformed hiked hemlines, noting that the latter have shown greater acceptance in the better-price market than they have in the moderate-price area.

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