Product News - October 2005


Epicenter Introduces New Retail Concept
Men's Wear Firm Paul Frederick Signs on
This time next year consumers are expected to set foot into a new retail concept called the Epicenter Collection. The Epicenter concept calls for anchor locations at malls across America and internationally to feature small shops where consumers may see, touch and try-on merchandise and then either purchase it in the store or have it shipped to their homes.

Gordon Group Holdings LLC, a retail real estate development firm backing the concept, is reaching out to catalogers and brands (including such leading apparel names as Tommy Hilfiger and catalogers such as Spiegel) about renting space in Epicenters. Three-year rental leases are available in Epicenters vs. the 10-year leases traditionally required to reserve mall space. The cost per square foot is $40-$80, including lighting, interior walls, HVAC and mechanical requirements. A traditional store typically costs $150-$500 per square foot to build.

"We see this as a very important part of branding," Ray Carew, executive vice president of business development for Epicenter, told Apparel.
The first Epicenter is slated to open next September or October at the Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus, OH.

Last month the apparel company Paul Frederick MenStyle announced it would reserve space in the first Epicenter. A direct-to-consumer men's wear and accessories firm known for its dress shirts, Paul Frederick mails approximately 10 million catalogs annually and sells goods through its web site. The company has considered opening retail stores, but stopped short of doing so because of the financial commitment and risks.
Allen Abbott, executive vice president and COO of the firm, said that being a part of the Epicenter Collection would provide Paul Frederick with "a financial safety net not possible if we were doing this on our own."

The Epicenter will provide consumers with hand-held BUYpod shopping devices that they can use to select items they wish to purchase across the Epicenter stores. Then they can check out at Epicenter kiosks set up throughout the center, or they can place orders online at web-connected stations within individual stores. They also may choose to purchase goods the traditional way -- by cash, check or credit card accepted by sales associates at registers within each store.

Stores will be located around a racetrack-shaped walkway in the two-level Epicenters. Stores will range from 500 square feet to 6,000 square feet, populating the 200,000-square-foot Epicenter. The originators of the Epicenter concept say they believe it will provide a growth avenue for brands that do not have a brick-and-mortar presence, or want a stronger one. "In a multichannel world, consumers expect merchants to have retail stores," said Antony Lee, CEO of Epicenter.

Gordon Group chairman Sheldon Gordon, who envisioned the Epicenter concept, said: "There is a great opportunity to reinvigorate anchor locations within our Epicenter Collection."
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Von Dutch, Seven Select ApparelMagic Software
Von Dutch Originals LLC and Seven Licensing Co. are rolling out apparel management software from ApparelMagic to electronically link different phases of their businesses from design and product development to manufacturing, sales and delivery.

Both firms cited their growth as a factor driving their investment in the technology, developed by Glendale, CA-based Murphy & Associates.
Von Dutch COO Scott Luirette said the firm is expanding both domestically and overseas. "As a result, we needed a robust software application that could handle multiple operations and help take us to the next level."

Seven's COO Peter Akaragian said his firm chose ApparelMagic because of its "reasonable price" and the availability of detailed reports that will help Seven "manage our emerging business better."
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Manhattan Associates to Acquire Evant
Manhattan Associates Inc., a supply chain management software provider whose warehouse management solutions are widely used in the apparel space, is acquiring supply chain planning and replenishment solutions vendor Evant Inc.

Evant has more than 60 clients in the retail, manufacturing and wholesales industries, including many that were already Manhattan Associates customers. Manhattan Associates reported that the addition of Evant's planning and replenishment expertise would enable the firm to be a single business partner to integrate customers' supply and demand networks. At press time, the deal was set to close by Sept. 30. Manhattan Associates is paying $50 million in cash for Evant.
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Lauren Scott Lines to Incorporate RFID
Children's wear firm Lauren Scott of California is incorporating RFID technology into some of its 2006 lines to give parents a way to monitor their little ones and help prevent tragic outcomes from kidnapping.

The firm is licensing SmartWear RFID Tags from SmartWear Technologies to sew into the hems of a new pajama line. Lauren Scott is incorporating the technology at no additional cost to the consumer. To reap the benefits of the tags, parents must invest in a $500 security system from SmartWear. The system will alert parents or other caregivers if a child wearing the pajamas has been taken from the home, or otherwise left pre-set boundaries monitored by the system.

If a child wearing SmartWear-tagged clothing is abducted or goes missing, he or she can be tracked more effectively by authorities, who can use special search and rescue devices to try to pick up the RFID signal emitted from the clothing. InformationWeek reported that the RFID-equipped Lauren Scott line will ship in December and be on retail shelves, including those of Target, by February.
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Rocawear: Yunique Software Reduced Cycle Time 66%
Rocawear, the urban wear firm founded by hip-hop artist Jay-Z and record producer Damon Dash, reports that it has reduced product development cycle time by 66 percent for its core businesses. It attributes the productivity improvements to its implementation of product lifecycle management (PLM) software from Yunique Solutions Inc.

Dana Kopet, manager of MIS at Rocawear, said the firm's implementation of Yunique's plmOn technology, which began last October, has "helped us get everyone from design through sourcing working on the same page.

"Because we are now more on the ball, we rarely need to review or repeat steps," Kopet said. "This saves time and money. For example, by making all of our design components available in one place, we no longer waste time trying to find them or worry about which is the latest version. The same is true for all spec items."

Rocawear has almost 40 users on the system across its fashion and technical design, trim and production departments. It plans to double the number of internal users in the next few months and then expand the system's use to include customers and trading partners.
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GretagMacbeth to Demonstrate Color Workflow Suite
GretagMacbeth is highlighting its suite of digital workflow color control products this month at the ITMA show in Singapore.
The firm said it will demonstrate how its open systems can provide global connectivity between textile and apparel designers, manufacturers and brand owners. The suite is designed to allow suppliers to seamlessly connect color data to most commercially available scanners, computer monitors, dispensers, spectrophotometers and digital printers, GretagMacbeth reported. On Oct. 19, the firm will present an educational session at ITMA entitled, "The Digital Workflow -- How It Improves Both Production and Quality Assurance."
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TEXbase Offers Fabric Development Tools
The TEXbase software and professional services organization is making its TEXbase Online suite of fabric development solutions available on a subscription basis.

The web-based solution includes modules for textile marketing, performance data analysis and textile sourcing. TEXbase reports that its solutions can enable companies and designers to develop new raw materials in days rather than weeks or months. Joe Walkuski, who previously led textile R&D for Patagonia, founded TEXbase 10 years ago. "Textile professionals keep track of hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of fibers, yarns and fabrics. ‚¬ Our web-based software is a powerful tool that speeds up and automates this process," says Walkuski, CEO of Montana-based TEXbase. Among users of TEXbase technology are NatureWorks LLC, Wellman Inc. and the U.S. Army.
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PAD Introduces Version 4.5
PAD System Technologies has released version 4.5 of its CAD/CAM and product management solution.
The firm's product management tool, redesigned to include a new graphic user interface, can be used to store business contacts as well as style details. PAD System Manager V4.5 also can be used to calculate garment cost, including materials, trim, labor, overhead and mark-ups.
On the CAD/CAM front, version 4.5 includes new features for pattern design and marker making. For instance, a new "parallel lines" tool allows users to draw internal segments on pattern pieces, choosing any number of parallel lines to place on the pattern in one step. Version 4.5 also can be equipped with PAD's clone technology, which enables users to create pattern pieces that are interdependent. This interdependency eliminates many steps when the user wants to clone and then modify a pattern, PAD reports. There are other new features in version 4.5 for notch conversion, stitch line viewing, creation of generic plotter drivers and intelligent pattern panel placement.
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DHL Increases HK-Shanghai Service 35%
DHL has upgraded its air uplift capacity on its Hong Kong-Shanghai segment by 35 percent in response to growth in demand for express services in Asia. The increase in payload capacity on this route is the second in less than two years. Air Hong Kong Airbus A300-600F freighter aircraft, which have 35 percent more capacity than previous freighters used for the route, will transport merchandise five times per week between Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Hong Kong is DHL's Central Asia Hub location. "We have been experiencing phenomenal growth rates in China over the last few years, and it continues to be a driver of growth of DHL in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole," said Jerry Hsu, president for Greater China and Korea, DHL Express.

In April, DHL introduced daily direct overnight express service between Shanghai and the United States. DHL is working on a five-year, $73 million strategic investment program related to being an integrated supply chain solutions provider in China.
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Target Chooses Metrologic Hand-Held Scanners
Target Corp. will use hand-held barcode scanners from Metrologic Instruments at its retail stores. The announcement came in early August from New Jersey-based Metrologic, which said it expected to begin shipment of the scanners immediately. Metrologic is providing Target with its MS1690 Focus scanners. These devices offer omnidirectional scanning, which means that the user does not have to orient the scanner with the barcode for successful scanning. The MS1690 Focus can scan up to seven barcodes with one trigger pull. The model can scan 1-D and 2-D barcodes.
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Tough Cotton to Improve Wrinkle-Resistant Clothing
Cotton Incorporated has developed Tough Cotton, a new wrinkle-resistant finish that could extend the wear life of all-cotton, wrinkle-resistant garments. Developed by the organization's Textile Chemistry Research Department, the Tough Cotton finish offers 20 percent better tensile and tear strength and boosts abrasion resistance by 300 percent. Other benefits include better shape retention, shrinkage control, quicker drying, easier pressing, less pilling and fuzzing and improved crease edge abrasion, according to Cotton Incorporated. Tough Cotton has been through a set of successful mill trials, and is expected to be adopted for industrial use by the end of the year, said H. Kenneth Greeson Jr., manager of the Textile Chemistry Research Department.
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Hellmann Logistics Launches Full U.S. Service
Hellmann Logistics started door-to-door delivery services across the United States this summer as part of its objective to be a full-service transportation and logistics provider to small, mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies. The apparel industry is one of three business sectors Hellmann is looking to penetrate.

"The plan is to offer our domestic clients the same speed, flexibility and quality service that we provide our international customers," said Frank Scheibner, president and CEO of Hellmann USA. Hellmann USA is based in Miami. A new National Service Center (NSC) in Seattle supports its domestic operations. The NSC is a support hub for 18 Hellmann U.S. branch locations. It also supports service in cities where Hellmann does not have offices.

Brian McConaghy, vice president of domestic operations, said the NSC "is a focal point in establishing a competitive advantage in the domestic market." Before joining Hellmann last November, McConaghy was director of domestic operations for Target Logistics Services.
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Graffiti Offers CapTrix
Cleveland, OH-based embroidered baseball cap maker Graffiti has introduced a manufacturing system called CapTrix that puts cap-making into the hands of the retailer. Graffiti is selling its CapTrix system to firms with high-volume cap sales. As part of the CapTrix package, it provides each customer with training, cap components and sewing equipment. Then the retailer can assemble and decorate hats at a rate of 250 to 1,000 caps a day with one to four operators. Graffiti reported that the CapTrix system allows its customers to combine the advantages of import pricing with the quality and quick-turn of final assembly in the United States.
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Textronics Focuses on ‚¬Ëœe-textiles'
Textronics Inc. entered the textile marketplace this summer, after spinning off from Invista and securing financing from three other companies.
The firm specializes in the new field of e-textiles, or fabrics that convert or use energy to warm, illuminate, conduct or sense. The firm's products use the stretch and recovery properties of elastomeric materials to interact with electronic systems.

At the time of the spin-off, Invista's director of corporate technology Jim DiAndreth said Invista wanted to transfer its investment in electro-textiles to a dedicated entrepreneurial company. Invista remains an investor in Textronics, along with venture capital firms NGEN Partners, Unilever Technology Ventures and SAS Investors (formerly Silicon Alley Seed Investors).

Leading Textronics is CEO Stacey Burr, who formerly has served in senior-level business development positions with Invista. She previously led Invista's North American ready-to-wear sector of the Lycra spandex business.
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TradeCard Automates Early Payments
TradeCard Inc. is offering the Early Payment Program, an automated system to allow buyers to pay select suppliers as early as two days after the buyer submits an electronic payment approval document. The new program eliminates much of the additional paperwork and costs required to process early payment through traditional methods, TradeCard reported. It makes it more feasible for buyers to make early payments on small invoices with short payment terms.The early payment can help suppliers maintain cash flow needed to start work on new orders. It also helps them avoid risks associated with foreign currency fluctuation. The finance rates available under the TradeCard Early Payment Program are likely to be better than those offered by financial institutions for traditional early payment programs because the discount rate for suppliers is based on the buyer's credit, TradeCard said.
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TUKAgroup Offers CAD for Rent
The TUKAgroup, provider of CAD/CAM systems and other apparel automation solutions, is offering its TUKAcad.NET 2005 on a rental basis with no obligation to buy. The firm has set up a rental system whereby users can rent the system on a monthly basis. If they do not own a plotter, users may send patterns and markers created on the system to 32 TUKAcenters or 1,248 participating FedEx-Kinkos locations for plotting. TUKAcad.NET is equipped with master blocks that are digitized.

Early renters include New York-based JazzCo Jeans and New Delhi-based Dhawan Exports of India. Jacques Balince of JazzCo said the firm knew about the advantages of using CAD, but with limited finances, wanted to invest cautiously. He said JazzCo's decision to rent CAD proved to be "the best option for a start-up company -- zero investment and all the benefits of speed and accuracy." Sanjay Chaudhry, a partner in Dhawan Exports, said automation was at the top of his agenda when he joined the firm. The option to rent CAD "solved my investment problems," he said. "I may never buy the systems, worry about maintenance of plotters, supplies and upgrades of software. This is just a small running expense with all the benefits."

In other news, the TUKAgroup announced last month that it will install 168 systems across India as part of an investment by the country's Apparel Export Promotion Council, sponsored by the Ministry of Textiles. TUKAcad systems for pattern making, grading and marker making and TUKAstudio systems for print and fabric development will be set up at training centers to provide high school graduates with skills and knowledge in apparel manufacturing.
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UPS Provides New View of Inbound Goods
UPS is offering its clients what it describes as "a new window" into their inbound shipments through a system called UPS Quantum View Inbound.

The system provides proactive notification of UPS air express, ground and international packages that are en route to the receiver's location. The technology is designed to help businesses better prepare for delivery activities in areas such as staffing, accounting, stocking and customer service. Behind the system is a proprietary address matching solution that filters through the differing word choices the shipper may have used on the shipping bill.

"Prior to Quantum View Inbound, visibility of incoming packages had eluded transportation managers, but we're confident UPS has cracked the code [with its address matching technology]," said Jordan Colletta, UPS vice president of e-commerce marketing.

In the apparel space, San Francisco-based men's wear retailer Bullock & Jones is using Quantum View Inbound to forecast staffing needs for incoming inventory, and to notify customers if a shipment is delayed. The firm, which sells via catalog and the Internet, estimates it has reduced the time it takes to process inventory from suppliers by approximately 15 percent. Prior to using the service, Bullock & Jones relied on weekly and bi-weekly faxes and e-mails from suppliers about the status of orders en route.
Syracuse, NY-based DeJulio's Army Navy store also is using the system.
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Datacolor Unveils Conditioning Cabinet
Color technology provider Datacolor is offering the Datacolor Conditioner sample conditioning cabinet. The cabinet is designed to create a stable color measurement environment for color sample measurement.

The cabinet can be set at a particular ambient temperature and relative humidity, and supply constant, stable exposure to a specific, defined illumination. Datacolor reports that the compact cabinet can fit into any factory, laboratory or office, and help firms to avoid costly problems that can be caused when samples are measured at or against different physical locations around the world.
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SDL Atlas Selling Testing Dryers
New Drying Procedures May Be Underway
The SDL Atlas Group has bought the remaining stocks of Creda-manufactured ISO-compliant tumble dryers, which it is offering for sale on a first-come, first-served basis to testing labs and other customers. Creda halted production of the dryers earlier this year. Stephen Combes, managing director of SDL Atlas, said: "These tumble dryers have attracted a large following among testers and play an important role in testing procedures. We believe the market worldwide is best served by continuing the dryers' availability for the near future." In related news, Combes said SDL will participate in an international working group that is being formed to research and write a revised standard for textile drying procedures.
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Invention Offers Cheaper Alternative to Knitting Patterns
Inventor Ted Bodin of Bodin Apparel Inc. announces his patented method of using a standard circular knitting machine to produce a fabric with a pattern. Most knitting machines on the market that knit patterns on any type of cloth are expensive and complex to operate, Bodin reports. Standard circular knitting machines knit jerseys, but cannot knit with patterns. His invention produces the fabric with a pattern on a standard circular knitting machine by selectively rendering specific needles of the machine inoperative. The method can produce a wide variety of patterned fabrics at very low cost, Bodin reports.
For more information: 305-891-8159.

Reliable Announces Ãå"ber Light
Reliable Corp. is offering a new halogen sewing light called the Ãå"ber Light 7000H, available in models that can be clamped onto the sewing machine or mounted to the sewing table or sewing machine head. Toronto-based Reliable reports that the new lights are one-third less expensive than previously offered halogen lights, and emit 70 percent less heat than conventional lights, while offering 40 percent more brightness. The typical lifespan of the Ãå"ber Light's 12V dichroic bulb is 3,000 hours.
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Izod Builds Moisture Management into Cotton Golf Attire
Izod introduced women's cotton golf shirts this summer featuring moisture management technology developed by Cotton Incorporated.
The shirts started retailing in July at 114 Izod Retail stores across the United States, selling for $19.95. The new technology incorporated into the shirts delivers exceptional wicking performance while maintaining the look, feel and comfort of cotton, reported Cotton Incorporated. William Rearick, director of Textile Chemistry Research for the organization, said the new cotton pulls moisture from the skin and through the inside of the fabric to the outside. "At the same time, we reduce the tendency for the fabric to cling to the skin by 50 percent or more," he said.
Izod Retail president Donna Patrick said the new properties enhance Izod's assortment and offer its consumer "more comfort and ease while still looking great in our shirts."
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KATHLEEN DESMARTEAU is editor in chief of Apparel. She may be reached at 864-627-0276 or [email protected].

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