SUSAN MARTIN STARTS WITH SWEATERS

Byline: Alice Welsh

NEW YORK--Designer Susan Martin has ambitious plans for her partnership with Westbury Knitwear Co., Matthews, N.C.
The Susan Martin Co., a contemporary knitwear firm established by Martin and Westbury in late 1994, expects first-year wholesale volume of $3 million, said Martin. Westbury manufactures women's, men's and children's apparel.
The initial collection, slated for Sept. 30 delivery, consists of handloomed or handknit sweaters and coordinating knit bottoms. Wholesale prices range from $34 for a handloomed cotton straight skirt to $98 for a handloomed intarsia boxy tunic in mohair and acrylic.
"I started with knits because I wanted to do a small line to begin with, and items are big right now," said Martin. For spring 1996, Martin will add cut-and-sew jersey and cotton interlock programs, and for fall 1996, she will introduce wovens to make a complete contemporary sportswear line.
Martin has been involved in the contemporary knitwear business for many years. From 1985 to 1991, she was women's wear designer and design director for Kikit's women's and men's lines. After that, she joined Charming Shoppes Inc., where she worked on the development of a chain of women's contemporary retail stores that never got off the ground. She left Charming Shoppes at the end of 1993 and hooked up with Westbury in late 1994.
"My ideas are based upon one or several strong visual elements--silhouette, a subtle or exaggerated detail or a strong graphic element created through color and pattern," she said.
The Susan Martin holiday collection is full of novelty looks and includes many primary colored jacquards and intarsias that coordinate with black. The line contains groups in all cotton, shetland wool, lambswool, angora and nylon, and mohair and acrylic.
The line is produced in Hong Kong and China, mostly from Asian yarns.
Many styles have special details such as pom-pom drawstrings and ties, zippers on the fronts and sides and a removable snowflake patch on the back.
For resort, the collection is all cotton, including cotton doubleknit, textured embroideries and intarsias. The colors are softer brights that work with brown.
Accounts to date include Nordstrom, E.B. Pepper in Pittsburgh, The Studio in Brookline, Mass., Rexer Parkes in Atlanta and Temptations in Oceanside, N.Y.
The line is being shown in the Creative Concepts Showroom at 214 West 39th St. here.

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