Premium denim brand 7 For All Mankind (7FAM, ( ) has it’s eyes on Europe’s retail scene and is eager to start with shop-in-shop and corner concepts throughout Europe’s most prestigious department stores. As part of the push, already realized are the brand’s corners in Spanish department chain El Corte Ingles in Barcelona and Madrid back in January. Upcoming openings will be two corners in Paris, France in the famous fashion shrines Galeries Lafayette and Printemps followed by a corner at Harvey Nichol’s Istanbul in April. After opening their first American flagship in LA in November, followed by the Dallas store, there are currently no plans to open a flagship in Europe.

The brand’s small portfolio is one reason cited for sticking - for now - to shop-in-shop concepts on the old continent. Denim accounts for 90% of 7FAM’s business, the license for bags runs only within the US and, following GBMI’s recent closure the brand is also looking for a new global footwear license holder.

VF Group bought the LA based premium brand last year, going on to create a new Contemporary division. In an exclusive interview with Sportswear International Karl-Heinz Salzburger, VF’s president of Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and Asia said: “7 for all Mankind will stay in Milan with its own structure and the international sales showroom, but since 2007, VF Headquarters in Lugano has been running the premium denim label, and we will also work very closely with LA from here in Europe. 7FAM has a very good standing in Europe and Asia. We’re particularly well represented in Germany, Holland, Belgium and England. Italy and Spain are growing very fast. 7FAM is a relatively young brand, only ten years old, but is already the market leader in its segment, and is earning three times more than its closest premium segment competitor. But I think that in three to four years, two or three more big players will enter this segment, and we’ll have to collaborate with 7FAM very intensively. We have to give the brand a structure in Europe, and try to satisfy demand. Alongside geographic expansion, we're also considering offering complementary product groups. We've begun with sportswear and tops, and next in line for expansion will be accessories and footwear. The premium price segment has to be marketed very carefully. The most important price range is between €249-279, but the segment from €180-200 is also still very important to us. The label’s ‘Black’ line is exclusively marketed to Europe. We’re not planning on expanding distribution too dramatically, or lowering prices either. We’re still in phase one, because so far, 90% of business is based on denim. In the near future, there are no retail plans for Europe, but this is certainly an important factor. Bear in mind that we only opened our first flagship store in LA in mid-November of last year.”

By Michaela Schmidinger | fashion features editor