NEW YORK — Not all fashion designers pop out of the womb with a burning desire to sew or make little dresses for their dolls. Sometimes serendipity plays a role, and those whose dolls had to settle for store-bought frocks find themselves in an unlikely role. Paul Graves never expected a life in fashion, but he may have a bright future ahead, if his spring collection is any indication.

Graves, who named his line Ant after the largest organized society in the insect kingdom, began his working life directing videos and commercials. He fell into fashion while working on a Reebok commercial with then-wardrobe stylist Natalie Chanin. The two founded the successful one-of-a-kind T-shirt line Alabama in 1999. When he was bought out by Chanin and Enrico Marone, a partner who later joined the company, Graves decided that his short, happy fashion life was over. But job offers kept coming in.

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