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NEW YORK — When Chrissie Miller started her contemporary T-shirt line, Sophomore, in 2003, she knew she had to think big.
"I started out just designing some T-shirts for friends, but it really became a hit," she said. "It started getting bigger than I could handle alone."
Miller decided to close her business last year so she could reassess and eventually come out with more to offer. Almost a year ago, she hired Madeleine Von Froomer, who was working in design at Proenza Schouler, and for spring, Miller will launch a full sportswear collection for women and men.
The collection, while still highlighted by the graphic T-shirts that Sophomore became known for, has a downtown New York-inspired look. There are knit sweatpants, shorts, tank tops, leggings, combed cotton jersey dresses, skirts and hoodies. The collection also features hidden details, such as the snaps on the bottom of the sweat pants where the wearer can either pull them tight or wear them loose, as more of a boot-cut style. The line wholesales from $30 to $170.
"There are so many T-shirt brands out there, but I feel like so many of them are inspired by the California lifestyle," Miller said. "This line is very New York, with a more relaxed take."
At its peak, the Sophomore line was sold in about 180 specialty stores nationwide. Miller said she hopes to get the line in those stores again, but plans to grow slowly in order to keep control of her production. She said she expects to bring in about $1 million in wholesale volume in the first year.