Catching up with Harry Thompson, Wearfirst

by Elise Diamantini

Harry ThompsonWearfirst is a young men’s sportswear brand best known for bottoms. However, they’ve expanded into tops for fall 2013. I recently caught up with the president of Wearfirst (and fellow yogi), Harry Thompson at their Manhattan office.

What are you hearing from retailers about this selling season?

Retailers jumped on color, and while it’s doing okay, only 5 to 10 percent of it is selling. Most retailers bought around 30 percent. So out of the box it’s a bit slow, but I think it will pick up as we get further into spring. We’re having good results with colors like turquoise, black and camo. As far as fabrications, shorts in a pinfaille and cotton/nylon blends are performing. Cargos continue to sell for us; a lot of the better stores are all about flat front [non-cargo], but that’s not what’s selling [at the mass level].

WearfirstWhat’s happening for spring 2014?

We’ll be offering lighter, finer fabrics for spring (more compact, tighter twills and canvas/micro canvas). We’ll also see more washed and weathered looks, but not destructed. The big colors will be shades of citrus. Important for spring will be allover prints like camo and Aztec, as well as horizontal stripes.

Tops are a new business for you. What are the best booked items for fall 2013?

In wovens, solid cotton poplins (all 100 percent cotton), camo and denim/chambray styles. In knits, we’re seeing a resurgence of crew necks. For spring ’14, we’re expecting to sell a lot of roll-tab long-sleeved wovens. Guys don’t want short-sleeved wovens, they all roll up their sleeves.

What can retailers do to make business better?

Retailers need to transition early and address color within reason (5 to 10 percent).