NEW YORK -- Carole Wang had enough of making other people's sweaters, so she decided to make her own.Born in China, Wang had been working as a contractor for 10 years for a variety of firms before starting her signature knitwear collection a year ago. Now, going into the fourth season, she has closed her contracting business to devote full energy to the collection. She's represented in showrooms in major market cities, hired a sales manager, Brad Boonshaft, and will be buying some ads in trade and consumer publications for fall.Boonshaft said this year's volume will be between $2.5 million and $3 million.With 80 styles in the fall collection, the line is mostly top-driven. Jacket styles include fitted long tunics, a fit-and-flare chenille sweater with contrasting collar and cuffs, a notch-collar number with gold buttons, and a few vest styles.There are coordinating bottoms for all the tops, including a chenille legging with reinforced knees that Wang said won't bag, loose pants, and short and pleated skirts. Wang is also making coordinated accessories such as scarves.Wholesale prices run from $50 to $185 for separates, with scarves from $32 to $59. Novelty yarns and color are key for Wang. There are five different kinds of yarn in the fall line. They include two weights of rayon chenille, a wool and rayon yarn with a high-twist crepe-like feel, called Velveen from Sunray Yarn Co., and a high-twist mohair. The fifth and newest is called eyelash -- a rayon yarn that incorporates shredded threads for a slight fringe effect.Most of the colors are muted, and include neutrals, mustard, sage and olive green, taupe, neutrals, cinnamon and black.Boonshaft said he's had several reorders on chenille styles from specialty stores such as Henri Bendel and the Saks Fifth Avenue catalog.Wang is also introducing a line of moderate-to-better priced knitwear for next spring. Boonshaft anticipates that division will do "in excess of $5 million in the first year."
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