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Dosty’s Full Metal Jackets

NEW YORK — Dosty, a label known for legwarmers, is adding another layer.<br><br>Outerwear is the company’s latest addition and will make its debut in specialty stores this fall. A minicoat, biker jacket, cargo duster coat and velvet...

NEW YORK — Dosty, a label known for legwarmers, is adding another layer.

Outerwear is the company’s latest addition and will make its debut in specialty stores this fall. A minicoat, biker jacket, cargo duster coat and velvet zip-front, Victorian-inspired jackets are among the offerings in the 13-piece collection.

Designer and owner Dorothy Shuford Lanier said her move into outerwear is an extension of her decision last year to add sweatshirts and sporty jackets to her collection. Unlike sportswear, which has many players, “outerwear is somewhat of a niche market,” she said.

To be competitive, Shuford priced her coats from $72 for a canvas jacket with racing stripes on the sleeves to $238 for a velvet Cossack coat.

“Retailers are so terrified because the economy is so soft. I wanted to offer something that would seem like a reasonable buy,” she said. “I didn’t want someone to be cruising around in a store, see one of my coats, turn over the label and wonder, ‘How is this worth this much money?’”

Lanier used a variety of lengths and shapes with a combination of antique brass snaps, belts and zippers to give her outerwear a more youthful feel.

“It’s not that oversized snaps are mind-blowing, but they are sort of fun and they make a statement,” she said.

Susan Simonton, director of marketing and operations for Pixie & Ivy, a Houston store that has picked up the coat line, said, “These are the types of coats you can throw on with a tank and a pair of jeans and look fabulous, or wear with knits. It’s so hot here but people like to look finished.”

Prophet Showroom represents Dosty, which still includes sweatshirts, sporty jackets, rugby-striped over-the-knee socks and coordinating scarves and leggings. First-year projected wholesale volume is about $250,000.

To some degree, she has sidestepped the challenge of showing the coats to key people in the industry. Lanier has mailed a look book of her coats to the media and young designers who attended “Girls Night In,” a showcase and cocktail party she hosted in her SoHo loft along with Laura Mady, owner of Boucher jewelry.

This story first appeared in the March 18, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Now she is trying to corral the group to talk shop, critique each other’s merchandise and to bounce ideas off each other. “We’re all consumers first and then designers,” Lanier said.