NEW YORK -- Specialty store retailer Andrew Philip Cohen, who has been quietly creating item blazers on the side, is making a push for fall as a better-price women's sportswear resource.

He's also moving beyond blazers. He says he uses his retail customers as a guide to designing his line. "Every time someone came to my store asking for something, I would then think of how I could incorporate that into my line."

Cohen, 32, started his retail career hawking T-shirts at flea markets as a 13-year-old, then branched out when he was a sophomore at New York University to start a retail venture called Transitions in Westhampton Beach, N.Y. Cohen now operates three stores -- the other two are in Roslyn and Massapequa, N.Y. -- each generating about $700,000 in sales. The stores are stocked with a wide range of items from $1,200 Moschino jackets to $12 T-shirts from Urban Outfitters' Free People line.

He branched out from retail to start Supply & Demand -- his wholesale business -- four years ago, after a brief stint as a founding partner and designer at a small sportswear firm. Both his retail and wholesale businesses target a fashion-forward customer in her 30s.

At first, Cohen said, his retail businesses were his top priority but now, he is homing in on the design side, starting this fall. As part of this strategy, Cohen moved into his own showroom at 214 West 39th St. and hired sales manager Kathyrn Brown. He is also making a push to expand his repertoire beyond jackets, although he said it's still a tops-driven business. Cohen, who has averaged about $500,000 to $800,000 in wholesale sales annually, noted that orders for fall shipping alone were between $1 million to $1.5 million, with the bulk of goods expected to reach the stores by the end of August. So far, his 150 accounts include Saks Folio catalog and Nordstrom.

This fall's collection includes black wool flannel shorts, quilted vests with faux fur and flannel shirts featuring velvet collars and cuffs. Item blazers, like vintage plaid and chenille designs in such colors as autumn and wheat, still remain his bread and butter, accounting for 50 percent of sales.Wholesale prices for the fall collection range from $69 to $88 for blazers; $33 to $98 for shirts, and $39 to $59 for vests.

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