DALLAS — Not every designer knows from childhood that his or her future lies in pins and needles. Sometimes, the industry just sucks them in. That's the case with Mary Herff and Randi Christiansen, who flirted with fashion for years before taking the plunge.
"We had worked in sister industries, and we wanted to work in fashion," said Herff. "Our whole concept is to do fashion contemporary basics that offer accessible price, sustainable fabrics, versatility and functionality in a tonal palette that they can throw on instead of maybe a T-shirt. Something they can wear season after season because of the construction and colors."
The two met 10 years ago while they were earning their M.B.A.s at the University of Texas in Austin. Both women are veterans of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., where Christiansen served as global marketing director for Estée Lauder-brand color cosmetics and La Mer skin care, and Herff ran global marketing for Jo Malone. Herff also logged six years as West Coast publicity director for 20th Century Fox Studios in the Nineties.
From their home base in Austin, where they each relocated in recent years with Texan husbands, the pair launched Herff Christiansen with a handful of pieces that caught the attention of Forty Five Ten here and By George in Austin.
"We liked that it was perfect summer-into-fall transition for Dallas — crisp and clean," said Brian Bolke, co-owner of Forty Five Ten. "It is the perfect neutral collection for bold accessories — also perfect for the client that didn't embrace the color and pattern theme for spring."
Launched last year with one pima cotton rib-knit tank, the label now has 14 accounts and a transactional Web site, herffchristiansen.com.
"Essentially we have seven pieces for spring '08 and eight for fall, but some of our most forward pieces are the ones that seem to do the very best and [are] what our customers are interested in," Herff explained.
Those would be woven Peruvian cotton cowl-neck and V-neck tunics, which were introduced this spring and recolored for fall. Herff Christiansen also offers pima cotton Ts and tanks with silver stitching, a cargo pant and shirts in black, gray, white and other neutrals. Wholesale prices are $20 to $75. There are also six soft leather accessories wholesaling from $25 to $125.Herff projects retail sales this year will be $200,000 to $500,000. She is currently interviewing showrooms in New York and Los Angeles to represent the spring 2009 line.
"We are getting ready to grow our retail channel by going to market," she said. "Since we came from these other industries that prepared us from the business and marketing side, we decided we wanted to grow it organically and see what the response was."
In honor of Rihanna’s 30th birthday, we took a look back at an interview with the Barbados-native when she was just 18 years old. Here, she talked about her second album, “A Girl Like Me” in 2006. “I want to be me. I want people to fall in love with who Rihanna is, and that’s why I want the album to be about me so people can really find out who this girl Rihanna is, because they only know the ‘Pon de Replay’ girl.” Fast forward 12 years, and she’s released six more albums and has become a powerhouse in both the fashion and music industries. Happy birthday, @badgalriri 🎈(📷: Pavel Antonov) #wwdarchive
For @simonerocha_‘s fall show, hairstylist @jamespecis created a look inspired by the painter John Constable. Models’ hair was pulled back, tied into knots and topped off with a bow. (📷: @kukukuba) #wwdbeauty #lfw
Queen Elizabeth made a surprise appearance at @richardquinn1's London Fashion Week show to present the designer with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The new award will be handed out annually to an emerging British fashion designer who shows exceptional talent, while demonstrating value to the community and sustainable policies. #wwdfashion #lfw (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)