Over the last four plus decades, Vans has helped define the industry and the looks of generations of skaters, surfers, and snowboarders. Constantly pushing the design envelope, Vans’ focus is on clothing that is inspiring, timeless, and of course good looking. We sat down with Vans Category Director for Mens Core Apparel Luciano Mor to find out what’s shaping the Spring 2010 apparel line to have it flying off the retail wall.
What are you focusing on in your Spring 2010 line?
Overall there has been an ongoing shift towards solids and simplicity which we have embraced in the 2010 line while continuing to offer an evolving assortment of standout plaids and patterns. A renewed focus has been put towards fabric qualities using textures, slubs, and melange heathers to set the solid styles apart and elevate the value of the product. Color pops continue to be important but we have made sure to balance with a tasteful range of classic primaries and neutrals as well.
On the women's side of things it’s always exciting in spring to infuse more color, print and patterns into the line. Print dresses create a strong base to work the other categories around.
What are the biggest changes that you’ve made from last year?
For 2010 we have focused on creating a more balanced line that incorporates influences from skate, surf, music and Vans heritage. We have added Dylan Graves and Russell Smith from the surf team to the apparel program and have created a full assortment of Joel Tudor inspired product in his “pod” collection. For women we’ve expanded the categories based on the successes of our swim line and dresses.
What colors, cuts, and fabrics will we be seeing featured?
Color – The color mix this season is bright but wearable. Flannels – Expanded collection, continuing with the success of the AV Flannel. Introducing non signature styles in varying weights: quilted, Sherpa lined. Plaid – We have seen a slowdown in plaid walk shorts, but they still remain very important. Solid plaids with great color ups are a no brainer in the woven category right now. Board shorts – Stretch fabrics are huge right now. This season we have our first 4 way stretch board short featuring art by No Pattern. We have also introduced band collaborations, featuring album artwork. Tees – Prints have really died quite a death since the all-over craze. I think everyone cringes at the sight of an allover print these days. Graphics are extremely important for t-shirts. We view the jumbo front screen print as the replacement for the allover print. The graphics are still big and bold, just not obnoxious. Denim – The pendulum swung from loose fit all the way to über skinny and is currently hovering over the slim fit, a pair of jeans that basically your average dude can wear day in and day out.
In the women's line colors are fun and easy, softer fabrics, cuts are moving away from the body, versatile and novel – for us it about allowing the vans girls to express her off the wall style.
What influences and inspirations have gone into the coming line?
Each season we draw influence from our rich heritage in skate, surf, music and art. Our riders also serve as a main source of inspiration and the pieces in their signature collections blend their individual tastes with Vans heritage as an authentic action sports brand.This spring we are proud to present the first assortment of Joel Tudor inspired product, featured in his "Pod" collection. Joel brought in a beat-up duffle bag full of clothes accumulated from thrift and surplus stores and global travel to inspire his apparel collection. Taking cues from Joel's affinity for wanderlust and all things beach culture, we developed the Joel "Pod", which consists of a wet/dry duffle bag along with the essential apparel items needed for a surf trip. Vans skate team riders Anthony Van Engelen and Johnny Layton's latest signature installments also head the collection, featuring a mix of casual, yet unique spring staples. Projects with artists Donny Miller and No Pattern as well legendary bands Sex Pistols, Suicidal Tendencies and Bad Brains round out this season's assortment.
In the ladies line of course fashion music are always influential and action sports. Keeping in mind our girls off the wall attitude, its’ walking the line between surf and skate and having fun with it.
What direction are pricepoints and retailer margins heading?
We have introduced a broader range of price points in key categories and have started offering key+ across the line for the first time. This combined with the existing strategy of staying just under the curve in terms of pricing gives the retailer and end consumer an amazing value in the product without any compromise to the styling and make.
Are you seeing changes in order sizes, the length of the season, sales channels, etc.?
Some of the smaller core independent retailers have struggled throughout this downturn and are making safer and more conservative choices in their buying. The apparel program for Vans however is still on a growth trajectory so the overall business is still seeing significant increases from season to season.
Is your SKU count growing or shrinking?
For 2010 we have increased SKU count on Wovens and Board Shorts while decreasing in Knits and Fleece. Overall looking to keep SKU count stable with small increases to address the areas with momentum.