SEATTLE PACIFIC SETS VALENTE MEN'S JEANS, READIES REUNION ADS

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Sergio Valente, once synonymous with disco duds, will launch a version of its famous jeans for males this holiday season.

Tapping into the fast-growing men's wear category, Sergio Valente is introducing a line of jeans, T-shirts and outerwear that will start appearing in stores in November. It plans to extend the brand into a full sportswear line by fall 2000.

The apparel will be available in many of the same upscale department stores and specialty stores that now carry the women's line, said Steve Miska, Sergio Valente president.

Sergio Valente was a uniform of the disco scene in the late 1970s and early '80s, but the brand lay dormant from 1982 to 1997. It was relaunched that year by Seattle Pacific Industries, which also markets Union Bay juniors sportswear and Reunion men's wear.

The marketer won't trade on retro appeal for the brand, Mr. Miska said, noting that many shoppers today don't even recall Sergio's boogie nights.

"It's more than just the nostalgia surrounding the name," he said.

NO ADS UNTIL 2000

There are no plans to advertise the men's line until fall 2000, when the full collection reaches stores. At that point, it will receive what Mr. Miska called "extensive" advertising, including print and outdoor.

Current print ads for Sergio Valente's women's line were created by Toth Design & Advertising, Concord, Mass., which is expected to handle the men's line.

The success of the women's jeans led store buyers to ask for a male companion product, Mr. Miska said.

GROWING SEGMENT

Although it's still far behind women's apparel in sales, men's wear is growing strong and drawing top players such as DKNY and Kenneth Cole, both of which are launching new men's lines this fall.

Men's wear was the second-fastest-growing apparel category in department stores in 1998-after boy's apparel-according to consultancy NPD Group. Men's apparel grew 6.8% to $54.3 billion in dollar sales over 1997, outpacing overall apparel's 4.7% growth rate.

Separately, Seattle Pacific will launch a fall campaign for its 14-year-old Reunion men's wear brand in September issues of magazines.

The $1.4 million "Family Reunion" campaign, also from Toth, will appear in publications including GQ, Maxim and The New York Times, as well as in outdoor advertising in major cities.

The campaign follows up on last year's "Class Reunion" campaign but will include

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