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Nic Janik and Gianfranco Ferre have designs on American women.

But the two Europeans are moving into a market where female apparel sales have slipped considerably. A survey of 1,000 women in the fashion industry showed 63% had spent less on clothing and fashion accessories in 1994 than in 1993, according to Hunt & Co., a New York market researcher.

The National Retail Federation estimates women's apparel sales for specialty stores were $37.4 million last year, down 5.6%.

Mr. Janik introduced his upscale line of women's clothing here in fall 1992. Since then the number of stores carrying the young German designer's apparel has quadrupled. Janik sales reached $3 million in 1994 with "1995 projected to reach between $5 million and $6 million," said Jaimee Marshall, VP-marketing for Escada USA, Janik's U.S. distributor.

The designer has gotten a TV showcase, with many of his creations seen this year on Fox's "Melrose Place."

"Nic Janik filled a niche for Escada with his less expensive, more feminine, younger, avant-garde line of clothing," Ms. Marshall said.

Janik clothing also is sold in specialty boutiques such as Maud's in Beverly Hills as well as Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue alongside competitors Emanuel Ungaro, Mark Isen, DKNY and Ellen Tracy.

Since last fall Mr. Janik has been appearing in his own ads, Ms. Marshall said. Previously, ads featured just image shots of the clothing.

His print ad campaign this spring, created by Balet & Albert, New York, features model Angelica Boss with the designer in the background.

The goal is to make the model and clothing the main attraction, while Mr. Janik maintains a lower profile, Ms. Marshall said.

The Janik line's print and outdoor ad budget for 1995 is expected to exceed $500,000, up 51% from last year. The coming fall campaign, featuring model Carolyn Murphy, also could be displayed on postcards displayed in restaurants in several U.S. cities. A deal for postcard distribution is currently being negotiated.

This season, another sophisticated European designer, Gianfranco Ferre, plans to reintroduce his Studio 000.1 line of women's clothing. The line was withdrawn from the market almost two years ago due to fitting problems.

And distributor Marzotto USA is betting on Mr. Ferre's stylish designs and solid reputation to attract U.S. women to the new line.

Studio 000.1 has been available in Europe and the Far East, but it has been difficult convincing retailers in this country to stock the clothing, according to Sergio Garretti, president, Marzotto USA.

Ferre competitors include Ungaro for Women.

Ferre's ad budget, for both the new women's collection and the existing men's line, is expected to reach more than $1 million in 1995.

Print ads for both lines, created in-house, will run in magazines such as Elle, Vogue and Men's Health.

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