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Hunter Heads For Outerwear

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Chances are that while you were making your way through the mountainous snow drifts and lake-sized icy puddles of January and February, you were either wearing a classic Hunter wellie or envying a stylish girl sporting hers. For the rubber boot company, the exceedingly gray and inclement winter had a pretty shiny silver lining. Hunter CEO Wendy Svarre won’t reveal exactly how many rubber boots were sold, but relents that it was in “the hundreds of thousands.”

After launching leather boots, fashion rubber boots, and a line of handbags over the course of the past year or so, the company’s next logical step is outerwear for Fall 2011. The well-edited debut collection of 12 styles, which runs from $195 to $650, stays within the classic country-for-city chic of the wellie with pieces like a smart belted trenchcoat, a swingy A-line peacoat, and a cool unisex waxed cotton field jacket. “It definitely stays within our DNA,” said Svarre. The branding plays it pretty subtle, like the red lining of the trenchcoat and a barely detectable embroidered H on its back. At times it’s very, very subtle, like the shiny black rubber toggles on a fur-trimmed duffel coat.

There are also both children’s and men’s collections, the latter of which, Svarre notes, was received surprisingly well by stores like Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s. Along with Saks Fifth Avenue, the Hunter coats will also be available on the company’s extensively retooled e-commerce site, which goes live in September. Svarre expects that outerwear will account for 6 percent of total sales. “When you consider two years ago we just had one rubber boot, and that it’s hard to get buyers to make that shift from boot to outerwear, it’s a tremendously successful launch.”

Photo: Courtesy of Hunter

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