RISING STAR--THE NOMINEES

Byline: Natalie Rooney

Anthony Saionz for Cotton Stuff
T-shirts for the rich, that's how Anthony Saionz describes his collection of designer cotton separates, which should also be described as successful. His two-year-old company, Cotton Stuff, is set to gross $17 million for 1995, after shipping $14 million at retail in 1994. Cotton Stuff, which was built on Saionz's belief that T-shirts and leggings will never go out of style, offers classic shirts and separates with better detailing. While the design is minimalist, the products, which include tank tops, pants and barn jackets, are detail-driven with an emphasis on fabric weights, color ranges and flawless finishing. "There is a lot of product out there that looks like us, including the casual end of DKNY and Adrienne Vittadini Sport. But we feature a 10-fabric collection while most others are working only in jersey and fleece, and our items all coordinate together, working together to form a solid collection."
This spring, Cotton Stuff continues strong with knits, offering twinsets of patterned piquA, fine-gage feminine jersey and lightweight poplin. The overall look moves away from oversized bodies, which have flooded the market, to more shapely feminine silhouettes, offering a broader range of end use. "These shirts can be worn anywhere from Telluride to lunch at Tavern on the Green," says Saionz.
All designs are available in three fabric weights and are garment dyed in a range of 25 colors.
The concept for Cotton Stuff came to Saionz, who was a marketing executive with Leon Max and previously ran sales for the St. Tropez West division of the Carole Little company, when he noticed a void in the market for cotton jersey T-shirts finished without logos and in sophisticated colors. His initial entry into the casual sportswear market came with the launch of a men's line that attracted a large female following. One of his customers, a buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue, convinced Saionz to design a women's line.
The collection, which wholesales from $10 for a cotton jersey tank top to $70 for a mixed-media 22-ounce fleece and thermal patched jacket, is available nationally at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bullocks and Macy's West. It can also be found in specialty stores, including Henry Lehr in New York and Fred Segal in Los Angeles.

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