Martina Franca – Part I

Haven’t updated the blog in a long time, but wanted to get this stuff in writing. The most recent trip to Italy was great, and was a bit of an eye-opener with respect to the density of clothing manufacturers in Italy. Sure, we know that Italy has plenty of production capacity, particularly for menswear, but as we learned quite quickly, small towns can sometimes be hidden gems.

We scheduled a short trip to Italy for the end of 2014, with the first stop being several companies in Martina Franca. For those who don’t know, Martina Franca is a bit of a sleepy kind of town — it is a small, seemingly quiet town with a character all its own. Not too much hustle and bustle — indeed, once you get off the Ferrovie del Sud Este train line, there is no taxi available in the whole town (even though there is a sign for one, strangely). There is simply one little shuttle bus for which you can buy a ticket from the bar down the street for 50 Euro cents. In the span of 20 minutes, the shuttle bus can drive you all around the town. Luckily for us, the bus has a stop in the middle of Martina Franca’s Zona Industriale, or ‘industrial zone.’

Driving through a bit of the industrial zone, you begin to realize that this little town is something of a menswear manufacturing mecca — within a small area (mind you, every single one of these companies has the same address), there are, give or take, one dozen manufacturers — among others, Confezioni Lerario, ITN, Icoman, ICA, NCM, GPA, Abiconf…the list goes on (yes, most of these names are likely unfamiliar to those unacquainted with the corporate parents of random Italian brands but we’ll discuss a few in this post and in the next one).

Our first stop was with Icoman and ICA. Icoman is a very well-known pants manufacturer — er, well known to those in Italy who are manufacturing pants and suits, but not so much outside of that. The company has a long history for producing pants for some of the world’s best brands – Armani, Etro, etc… (indeed the Spring pants for those labels were being packaged on the floor as we got a tour), and sews the pants for many high-end suit manufacturers in Italy, including Lardini (manufacturer of its own line, as well as suits for John Varvatos, Ferragamo, Piombo and lots of others). Icoman has for several years now been producing its own line of pants, Berwich. Beautiful garments, however, their main market is in the far east, particularly Japan, Korea and China, due to the slim cuts of the pants. We may be able to bring in some Spring items a few months from now, but we weren’t able to make any deals this time around.

Our second stop was basically down the street at ICA, a coat manufacturer and makers of the brand Hevo. Again, like many other companies in Italy, Hevo is a relatively recent line from this company, that has long been producing outerwear for third-party labels, but is now making some truly gorgeous pieces under its own Hevo labe – the items we saw for Fall 2015 (to be shown at Pitto Uomo in a little under a week) had some showstoppers. Unfortunately, for Spring, the outerwear options are quite limited, and we did not wind up making a purchase. Nonetheless, if you can get your hands on the stuff in the U.S., we highly recommend picking up some Hevo items for Fall/Winter.

Such was the first portion of our trip. Overall, unsuccessful with respect to striking any deals, but got to make some new connections and get additional insight into a new region of Italy we had yet to visit. Part II of Martina Franca will come later this week.

Royal Hem…Coming [Soon]

Again, our Spring merchandise is a tad delayed due to circumstances beyond our control, however, we wanted to give you a very small taste of what’s in Royal Hem’s Spring 2014 collection. Now, of course, we can’t guarantee this will be available on our site, but it just goes to show that Copen Group is truly upping the quality of its garments. We’re in love with the whole outfit, the blazer that has a great linen look to it, but has other materials to provide some extra structure, and the jacquard print pants.

Spring is Coming [Soon]

Well the polar vortex has delayed warmer weather, and our Spring merchandise is a bit behind as well — our full Spring selection is still probably three to four weeks from going live. But don’t fear — in the meantime we’ll soon be releasing another selection of Italian pants from Vigano, and a beautiful piece of outerwear from Mabro (Made in Italy). Plus, over the next few weeks, we’ll be having a final clearance on our Fall/Winter inventory to try and make as much room as possible for the new Spring inventory. So hold on tight if you’re looking for Spring items, but keep your wallet open in case you’ve really been looking for some great deals on our colder-weather items.

PEURIST – One Year Strong

On January 1, 2014, PEURIST.COM will be one
year old.Taking a look back, it’s amazing to see the growth and progress we have made in such a short time.

As strange as it may sound, in October 2012, our founder was in mourning over the loss of Daffy’s (now apparently reincarnated, but that’s a story for another day). He decided, however, to stop moping and do something about it. He was so impassioned about discounted European menswear that on top of his full-time job as an attorney, he booked a trip to Italy, met with vendors and brought back merchandise to start up PEURIST.COM on January 1st 2013 with a small collection for Spring 2013.

The journey from that first trip has been a long one. We have gotten fast educations in, among other things, overseas importing, vendor relationships, retail merchandising and online marketing, all of which we continue to improve.

The biggest learning curve was realizing exactly what our customer base demanded — the best prices possible on high quality European menswear. We are not a boutique; we are a discounter in every sense that the word has come to mean, both good and bad. We are a volume business at insanely low prices, with an emphasis on quality and fit. We are not here to bring you fancy pictures of models or half-baked discounts. We are here to empty the closets of the world’s best menswear designers and manufacturers at rock-bottom prices.

As PEURIST heads into its second full year of operation, we know that the hard work we have put in will not be for naught. We are continuing to develop and establish new connections to bring you some of the best deals on European menswear, and, believe it or not, our prices are only going to get better. You may have seen that we have already started to develop new relationships, bringing in Made in Italy shirts from Culturata for $29.99, and pants from Vigano, Mabro, Ballerini and others that retail for well over $200/pair for less than $50. Our goal for future merchandise includes blazer price points of less than $100, and suit prices points of less than $150. And, yes, this includes items Made in Italy.

So as this first year comes to a close please join in our celebration and help us clear out our winter inventory to help usher in a great Spring/Summer 2014 collection. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

Best wishes for a happy and a healthy New Year — PEURIST.COM

Another Discounter Bites the Dust

The last few years have not been kind to discount chains. First Filene’s Basement, then Syms, Daffy’s and now, Loehmann’s. According to reports, this is now the third time Loehmann’s has filed for bankruptcy, but it appears this was the final nail in the coffin, and there will be no restructuring this time — just a sell-off to liquidators. It really is a shame — companies like these really were great shopping destinations (and everyone here knows about our love for Daffy’s), but competition and poor business decisions have put them all out of business. Leaving bigger name companies aside, i.e., Off 5th, Last Call, etc… it’s interesting to note that the folks at Century 21 have clearly done something right because they continue to expand in the NY/NJ area.

Full story here.

Lapel Latitude

Always interesting to see alternative takes on lapels, whether they’re contrasting colors or materials, or in some cases, no lapels at all. Two examples from the past few days — one is Tom Hardy at the British Independent Film Awards in what appears to be a J. Lindeberg tuxedo — the traditional tuxedo is given a casual, laid back appearance with a velvet lapel — kind of awesome.
And then there’s Jeremy Renner at the premier of a movie doing a jacket with no lapels.  It almost comes off like his tailor forgot to sew on the lapels, but what do you think of this one?

WTF of the Week – AMA Edition

Apparently there’s a new trend of matching your shoes to your tie…or so Jesse McCartney’s stylist thinks. The leather pants were bad enough, but the metallic/spray-painted looking tie and shoes just push it over the edge.  If you’re going to wear a statement piece, it should be just that — one single piece.  Let everything else be simple. Otherwise, you’ll wind up looking like this.

Daffy’s — Back from the Dead?!?

Well, as news hit Philadelphia just a few weeks ago that Nordstrom Rack will be moving into the 8-floor space previously occupied by Daffy’s, today, former subscribers to Daffy’s email distribution list got a surprising email found at this link — bit.ly/1dvo9ny. Basically, daffys.com is being turned into, for lack of a better description, an online pop-up shop. The email reads in part —

“We’re going to start gradually, offering limited goods for fashion and home sourced here and abroad. When we make a fabulous buy, you’ll be in on it. We are not going to inundate you with emails. We’ll “pop up” when there is something special to share.

Later, as we expand our definitely different new way of business, Daffy’s knowledgeable buyers will be fanning out across the globe to widen your marketplace.”

So there you have it. For now, it appears the daffys.com website is now selling a small selection of home goods – curtains, sheets, pillows, towels, throws, etc…

Interestingly, it appears that new trademark applications were filed for DAFFY’S (link) and DAFFY’S. HIGH FASHION. LOW PRICES. (link) back in September. So this has been in the works for at least two months. Additionally, the website and the trademark applications both reference Daffy’s, Inc., and 1 Daffy’s Way — the original name and corporate location of Daffy’s — the warehouse location at 1 Daffy’s Way in Secaucus had been on the sale block for several months, so it’s unclear exactly what happened here, but we have a few guesses. Stay tuned to PEUR Postings for the latest developments.

WTF Of the Week – Colton Haynes

Unsure if this will become a weekly series or not, but had to share this unsightly outfit w/the rest of the world. Actor Colton Haynes has appeared on GQ’s weekly Best Dressed list a few times, but some of his stylist’s choices have been questionable. This one isn’t questionable; it simply begs a three letter acronym — WTF!?!

This appears to be some sort of three piece, asymmetrical velour ensemble in navy blue with a matching shawl, and crystal-studded black shoes. Don’t think this guy performed at the awards show (this was from MTV’s EMA’s), so not a costume.  If you want a guide as to everything never to do w/fashion, here you go. Fair warning, your eyes may start to hurt from the glare.

Euro Brand of the Week – Circolo 1901

Ok, so it’s been a while since our last brand of the week update…but we promise to start updating more frequently. In any case, we came across this brand after a link from an Italian boutique’s website, and just wound up staring at the seemingly never-ending loop of knitwear that is displayed on the company’s collection page. So hop on over, and just let the images reel you in for a few minutes. You’ll be glad you did.