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Premium Denim Proliferation: A Primer

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7 For All Mankind Soho Flagship

Just when you thought it was safe to slip back into those GAP regular fits, designer denim brands like 7 For All Mankind and True Religion make another lunge at your wardrobe with a whole new game plan. From huge leases for new flagships to hot collaborations with haute fashion houses, premium jean companies are determined to claw their way back onto the bums of New Yorkers.

· True Religion is banking on a full scale Manhattan invasion to push their $200 pairs. First comes the Upper East Side at 1122 Third Avenue between 66th and 65th Streets, then comes a shop at the Time Warner Center, and then comes a baby in a baby carriage - or Union Square at Broadway and East 17th Street. With the first open already and the latter two expected within two months, you know True Religion is praying for new converts to the church of high denim.
· 7 For All Mankind is scooting its new 3,000 square foot flagship into Soho at 394 West Broadway. Although the store won't be peddling its $180 jeans and $350 bags (!!) until later this summer, it will be only a block down from a few other places we'd rather buy jeans: Jean Shop, DKNY and Emporio Armani.
· Don't let their spring obsession with the 80's party look throw you off, Diesel means big business. By Christmas this year, the 19,555 square foot former home of Gucci at 685 Fifth Avenue at 54th Street will welcome the behemoth Diesel flagship location. The three-floor shrine to denim will be the perfect host for Diesel's recent collaboration with adidas Originals and Diesel's own luxury line "Diesel Black Gold," for fall debut.
· Fresh from opening their first US store in partnership with Opening Ceremony at 10 Greene Street in Soho, Acne Jeans announces yet another huge collaboration- with Alber Elbaz of Lanvin! From FWD: "Specific details on the collection are still in discussion, but Elbaz added that the line, whose price points will be comparable with current Lanvin rtw pieces, should be ready for a 2009 launch."
· Joining Lucky Brand in a move to Brooklyn, A.P.C. opened their Williamsburg Surplus shop, effectively an outlet, in January. Recent development have been small (literally), with a current kids clothes collaboration with Luco featuring $85 Bermuda shorts for your kid to grow out of just in time for the next collaboration.
· Really, the premium denim train makes all local stops from here to next year with an Earnest Sewn opening in LA in July, Paige Premium Denim launching their Black Label in August 2008, the dreaded Hollister mothership due to touch down in Soho in July 2009, and the freshly H&M-ed Cheap Monday shivering in anticipation of their own ambitious plans.

Despite the premium denim infestation, there is still no denying that the trends have shifted; now having the double R on your backside isn't so much a status symbol as it is a suburban outlet shopper's badge of honor. Talking with WWD, Union's Scott Bonomo only confirms this fact: "That [premium denim] gold rush is over. People that weren't in this business for the long haul have found themselves out of it by choice or not by choice. It's a different game. You've got to know who your customer is and know what you're about as a concept."
· Collabs: A.P.C Kids Around with Luco [Racked]
· Now Open: Moscot Has a MePa Moment [Racked]
· Now Open: Acne Appears on Greene Street [Racked]
· adidas Originals Reopens with Diesel Denim [Racked]