NEW YORK--It wasn't all that hard for the husband and wife team of Joy Vinger and Richard Rosenthal to start up their bridge sportswear line, Tailor New York. Vinger, a long-time sales and marketing executive who is president and designs the line, had very firm ideas about what was missing in the women's bridge apparel business. And Rosenthal, a man of many businesses, runs a sample warehouse here under the name Samples Inc., as well as an electronic repair business called Wireless Communications in Pelham, N.Y. "So we already had financing, a warehouse and a showroom," said Rosenthal, who is chief financial officer and chief operating officer of the new venture. This will be Tailor New York's first summer line; the company shipped its first group for fall 1994. Vinger, a Montreal native, comes from a family of clothes makers: her grandfather was a tailor, her grandmother was a seamstress and her father was in the men's wear business. When she came to New York, she studied merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but said her main inspiration came from the beautiful fabrics and classic tailoring she remembered from her youth. "I used to wear men's clothes all the time growing up," she said. "As I got older, I thought, why can't women have classic clothes in beautiful fabrics that will last 10 years, the way men do. Ralph [Lauren] is my mentor. He's so clean and classic." The first jacket Vinger put on the line is a simple notch collar double-breasted style called the Joy jacket. In fact, Vinger names almost every style after the person who inspired or requested it. There's a Nadja skirt, a Babette crop blouse, Bianca high-waist pants. "First of all, I hate numbers," she said. "Names are easier to remember, and it makes it more fun to sell the line. Now a lot of the names are inspired by buyers. They get a kick out of coming back to the showroom and seeing their name on the ticket." Vinger said she likes to let the fabric dictate the line, but she does try to do plenty of pants styles each season. "It's a nice business to be in, because there aren't a lot of people doing it," she said. "We do a few pleated trousers, a tie-waist pants, a viscose and elastin narrow pants, things like that." For summer, the line will include seven jacket styles, six pants styles, four shorts styles, six skirt styles and 10 blouses. There's also a group of cotton men's wear shirtings to add to her sportswear mix, and she also tries to put a few item tops--a cropped look, a halter, a tie-front, a shaped denim top, a backless vest--for some zing. Vinger said she'll always go for a classic look over a trend, unless a store requests it. "Short pleated skirts, for example--that's in this season, and I'll do it if people ask me, but that's not what we're about. I'm more about a Lauren-Hutton-throw-it-on casual elegance." She's also concerned about dressmaker details, such as covered buttons on some styles and tagua nut buttons that come from the Amazon rain forest on others. Jacket styles wholesale from $89 for seersucker to $199 for silk fabrics; skirts are $39 to $69, and pants styles are $49 to $89. Fabrics include tropical wool and wool tricotine, as well as viscose and linen. Rosenthal said the firm is on track to do about $1 million the first year, and his business plan is to increase volume slowly over the next five years and expects to hit about $8 million at the end of three years. "I'd like to see controlled, profitable growth," he said. Part of the plan includes opening a Tailor New York store here and possibly in the resort community of Southampton later this year. "I'm a retailer, so I like the retail side," said Rosenthal. Currently, the line is sold in some Nordstrom stores, Charivari and Fred Segal. Vinger also does private label design for Barneys New York and Henri Bendel, among other stores.
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