By  on February 29, 2008

Tina Lutz and Marcia Patmos called on their personal history for their new Leroy & Perry label.

The pair, who is better known for its Lutz & Patmos knitwear, met in 1995 while designing a private label collection for Barneys New York. They were twentysomethings living in West Village walk-ups, biking to get around the city, sharing their wardrobes and recycling purely for the sake of conservation. Their former selves serve as the models for Leroy & Perry's targeted customers.

"Basically, the idea is one we have played around with for a while," Lutz said. "When we met, we were so poor. But we still wanted to be stylish. We have lowered Lutz & Patmos' prices by 30 percent since we started the company. But we wanted to do something more."

When Julie Gilhart, vice president of fashion merchandising at Barneys New York, mentioned how tough it was to find good sweaters for Barneys Co-op, Lutz & Patmos went into action, teaming with Barneys Green, the store's environmentally minded initiative, to create three eco-friendly styles for spring. Each is made from organic cotton or yarn from recycled T-shirts and bamboo and retails for less than $300.

Each item has "self trims," buttons, belts and bows made from the same yarn as the sweater. Two use metal-free dyes and are sourced from nearby factories to save fuel. The Pastis cardigan vest has a rope belt, two pockets and hits at the midthigh. The Cluny cardigan is shirred peplum with a V-neck and elbow-length sleeves. The Zampa tunic has a deep V-neck, epaulets and can be worn as a sleeveless dress.

One percent of the proceeds will benefit The Alliance for Climate Protection, a nonprofit that urges people to address the climate crisis through the way they live.

The new label's name is in synch with Lutz & Patmos. The designers often refer to their company as "L&P," so they thought it would be fitting to name their contemporary label along those lines. They did not think they were taking great liberties by using the names of two quaint West Village streets, Leroy and Perry, since they used to live in the neighborhood.

The fall collection features eight styles, including a vest knitted and crocheted with strips of recycled T-shirts. It has not been determined how many seasons Barneys will be the exclusive distributor of Leroy & Perry. The designers plan to roll out the collection to other stores, "but for that, we would need an investor," Lutz said.

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