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Cecile Corral

Trident, Southern Living Align for Terry Collection

Life in the South conjures thoughts of the Smoky Mountains, barbecues, Spanish moss, and mint juleps, to name just a few iconic themes.

So when India-based terry towel manufacturer Trident Group recently signed on as the bath towel, bath mat and bath robe licensee of Time Inc. lifestyle magazine Southern Living, the supplier turned to these and other such Southern motifs for ideas.

The result is a palette of 16 colors that make up the new solid-colored bath towel ensemble program that evokes Southern images in its schemes and presentation.

Each towel is named for the source of its inspiration. A dark reddish hue is Barbecue; a soft green is Mint Julep. A bright white is Gardenia.

Other color names include: Porch Ceiling, Gulf Tide, Magnolia, Peony, Peanut, Marsh Grass, Mississippi Mud, Spanish Moss, Smoky Mountains, Wisteria, Satsuma, Peach Pie and Honeysuckle.

"We had some fun with the color names. We pulled things out of the southern landscape and the vernacular and really put together a fun package," Derick Belden, executive editor of Southern Living magazine, told HTT. "What I'm most excited about is that these colors give a real southern feeling to the collection."

Building on the color names, Trident worked with Southern Living to include with each towel a hangtag that features verbiage explaining the color and where appropriate, recipes, as is the case with Barbecue and Mint Julep, along with decorating tips.

"The collection really reflects the southern landscape, our food, our lifestyle, and it's been one of the more fun things I've done with all of our licenses. It gives a neat hook to our brand and how it personalizes the colors back to Southern Living [magazine]," Belden said.

To lend the program appeal to a broad customer base, Trident created three brackets of towel qualities and price points:

Morningside, a two-ply low-twist Indian cotton towel set to retail for $9.99;Abington Hill, a 100% Supima cotton product that offers a higher level of absorbency and a loftier hand achieved through a special technique applied to the fiber; priced at $14.99;Highland Park, a $19.99 extra-long-staple cotton, three-ply product that features the company's Silver Fresh technology, which claims to keep the towel fresh with lasting anti-odor action caused by bacteria and anti-static action for the life of the product.

The Southern Living program will launch Sept.14 to 18 during the New York Home Fashions Market.

The initial offering will comprise bath towels. Coordinating bath mats and robes will be layered into the assortment in the coming months.

Since it began manufacturing towels about 10 years ago, Trident — a 25-year-old company that also produces yarns and other products — has focused on private label branded programs. But its alliance with Southern Living represents the company's first venture directly with a brand entity, said PK Markandy, who heads the U.S. marketing and sales business for Trident Group.

Southern Living first hit newsstands in 1966 and began working with licensees three years ago to establish a line of home products to extend its brand. Its current roster of products for home includes bedding with Pem America, utility bedding with Perfect Fit, area and accent rugs with Linon Home Décor, and furniture with Chromcraft Revington. Other branded products include plants and flowers.

The magazine's plan, Belden said, is to continue expanding its licensed home product line.

"At the core of Southern Living magazine, which is all about a casual, comfortable relaxed lifestyle, we are looking for partners to bring that lifestyle alive with products," he explained. "We are working internally to develop a strategy that allows the consumer to personalize her home without a matchy-matchy look. We want to offer them superior quality at affordable prices so their homes look and feel like the homes they see in our pages every month."

Aside from the new Southern Living program, Trident also has several other new collections it plans to launch during market.

One is Pro Line, which encompasses four collections: Health Pro, an anti-microbial towel; Fresh Pro, which maintains a newly washed scent after multiple uses; Color Pro, which offers color fastness and is fade-resistant; and Bleach Pro, which claims to maintain its white color.

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