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Garratt Reinvents Herself

DALLAS -- The loss of her backers and closure of her New Tee store here has made 1993 a rough year for Sandra Garratt, but the resilient designer is regrouping with a new line of casual separates made of Irish linen, organic cotton and wild...

DALLAS — The loss of her backers and closure of her New Tee store here has made 1993 a rough year for Sandra Garratt, but the resilient designer is regrouping with a new line of casual separates made of Irish linen, organic cotton and wild silk.

Garratt, who gained national prominence in the Eighties with the Multiples mix-and-match knit separates she designed for Jerell Inc., is now lining up investors to propel her latest venture forward.

The New Tee store, which sold screenprinted organic cotton T-shirts and accessories, closed in June. It had been open for a year in the Deep Ellum area of the city, a neighborhood peppered with nightclubs and restaurants.

“The daytime traffic in Deep Ellum for this type of store wasn’t strong enough to generate the sales we anticipated. I’m ready to go forward again,” Garratt said.

She has contracted cutters, sewers and a sample maker, and has 10 small specialty store accounts in the South. “I’m in a position to go after larger accounts,”she said.

She expects sales to be minimal for the remainder of the year, but hopes to do $4 million next year if she closes a deal with investors.

Garratt’s 45-piece collection consists of simple, comfortable styles such as drawstring pants, scoopneck shirts, flared skirts and anoraks sewn of handknitted French terry, jersey, gauze and rib knit all in black, white or cream organic cotton, plus a stretch interlock in organic cotton and Lycra spandex.

A sage, black or natural linen group includes a long, bias-cut slip dress and trousers, while the oatmeal wild silk offers belted trousers, button front shirts and shorts.

“I tend to be on the minimalist side, and now I’m in a good position because there’s a strong appreciation for minimalist designers,” Garratt noted.

The separates and dresses wholesale from $10 to $95, and a handful of hand-crocheted and knitted shawls in organic cotton grown in chestnut, sage and white colors wholesale for $250 to $300.

Garratt shows the line in the Eco Suite showroom at the International Apparel Mart, which displays apparel and accessories made from pesticide-free or recycled materials. She also has converted 200 square feet at the front of her studio at 4216 Main St. here into a shop where she sells the line to private clients by appointment.