Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Belk to debut Joseph Abboud collection

Charlotte-based Belk is set to start selling Black Brown 1826, a line by menswear designer Joseph Abboud previously only sold at Lord & Taylor.

“We view Black Brown 1826 as a modern approach to classic, Southern style,” said John
Thomas, Belk executive vice president, in a play on the department store's tagline. He said the line will be sold in 61 of Belk's 303 stores, as well as online. Half the items are exclusive to Belk, Thomas said. 

Belk is holding a private kickoff party for the line Wednesday at its flagship SouthPark store, with Abboud in attendance. Guests will have the chance to see the new collection and register for prizes, such as  $500 worth of Black Brown 1826 and a weekend with a convertible on loan from Hendrick BMW.

Abboud said the collection is  a "modern American brand." He said he's hoping to "push the envelope in a smart, interesting and tasteful way."

"A lot of preppy brands have very rigid requirements," Abboud said. "We're reaching out to style-conscious guys. We're not very heavy into big logos and crests."

The collection of shirts, shorts, blazers and denim have all been "merchandised with the Southern gentleman in mind," Belk said.

Putting the Black Brown 1826 line in Belk, Abboud said, will help it have more of a reach beyond Lord & Taylor's customer base. Abboud said since the recession, he has seen Americans shift to a more "European" buying mindset: Buy fewer, but more high-quality, clothes. He said he's tried to adapt his collection to fit that approach.

"This collection can appeal to a lot of different financial tiers," Abboud said. "If you find that one cashmere sweater you love, you don't need to buy eight."