PME Legend: Ready for Takeoff

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In benelux, PME Legend is already one of the top players in the casual and jeans segment. Now it’s set to expand.

There are quite a number of men who would covet the job of Frank Uyt den Bogaard. Being the creative art director of Just Brands, the umbrella brand of PME Legend, he travels with his team throughout North and South America. In the Americas, they search out old propliner machines for campaign photo shoots. Arizona and Bolivia have been featured on the itinerary so far and the next stop on the flight plan shall be announced soon. Defunct propeller-driven airplanes, landing strips in remote locations–at PME Legend the motif of the moment is an authentic cargo pilot feel.

The menswear line was first launched in 1992, at a time when the focus was on leather aviator jackets. Today the label’s range covers workwear fashion with shirts and jackets (€80 to €300 retail), shoes (from €90 retail) and accessories, extending all the way to underwear and jeans (jeans retail starting at €90). Over the past few years PME Legend has established its name especially through its denimwear. According to the survey results of a Dutch industry magazine, in 2010 and 2011 Dutch retailers voted PME Legend models into first place of their best-selling denims.

Robert Theijssen, sales director and CEO for German-speaking Europe, says: “We can already look back on a longer and successful past in Benelux. Now we want to turn our attention to the international market with a focus on Germany, Austria and Switzerland.” PME Legend is already operating in Germany through dealers and chain stores such as Jeans by Kaltenbach in Munich, Peek & Cloppenburg and Hagemeyer in Minden. PME Legend has a total of 1,630 points of sale and 160 shop-in-shops throughout Europe.

In the next five years the Dutch wish to roughly double the number of shop-in-shops to 300 as well as having a total 2,450 multilabel points of sale. The five-year plan envisions sales of €150 million, with revenue at around €76 million in 2012: “We wish to achieve the status of a key player in the market for casualwear and jeanswear,” says Theijssen.

PME Legend is positioned near its counterpart labels such as Replay, Superdry, G-Star, Hilfiger Denim and Scotch & Soda. The brand targets men ages 20 to 40. Together with the brands Cast Iron (launched in 2003) and Vanguard (launched in 2007), the label is part of the Dutch Just Brands fashion corporate group with its headquarters in Amsterdam. As the umbrella brand, Just Brands is responsible for design, logistics, marketing and sales of all three labels. “We offer the highest quality, a sophisticated brand portfolio and our own experience worlds for each brand. That explains why Just Brands and PME Legend have their own stores and also why we are developing a new shop-in-shop strategy, as well as unveiling our own franchise store concept in 2010,” explains Theijssen. What is the key agenda item? Opening the company’s own PME Legend flagship store for the German market.

4 Questions for Edwin De Rooij
Design Manager, PME Legend

What will be the main trend topic for PME Legend for summer 2014?

The biggest trend is a great interest of fabrics, washes and finishes. As styling is getting more basic and focused, fabrics and the treatment of fabrics is getting more important. For summer 2014 we’ve translated this into sunbleached and eroded appearances on both fabric qualities, finishes and washes–a rugged approach. A subtrend in this is the attention for allover prints and jacquards in almost all product groups.

What will be important for denims?

We see fits getting slightly narrower at the bottom. We still see curved legs but less obvious. Colorwise we see more clear blue tones and some attention for different color tones. For washes we see as a main direction more natural washes ranging from dry to vintage. The aviator theme is always the main topic when it comes to PME Legend.

Do you find it difficult to always build a new trend story around that topic?

The cargo vintage aviation theme for us is like a never-ending source of inspiration. We find inspiration in all facets of the lifestyle of a cargo pilot, in his pilot gear, in different types of planes, in heroic and historic flights and remote airfields amongst others. We’re constantly looking for authentic styles and old stories. After all those years there’s still so much to discover and explore. We build our seasonal story working the main trends we see for the season into the PME Legend cargo aviation theme. In this way we create our own specific take on the trends and are able to tell a different story each season while staying close to ourselves.

Is there any news designwise or new product models?

For s/s 2014 we will introduce a new PME Legend jean with characteristics based on authentic flight pants combined with elements of a cargo plane. We created a new denim by taking a forward approach to authentic styling and details. We will introduce this new PME Legend jean in a dry selvedge, a mid wash and a medium light wash.

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