Executives from knitwear stalwart Three Dots and Canadian textile and apparel manufacturer Majestic Mills have launched a contemporary knits label, twen-tee, which marries plush proprietary fabrics with retail prices averaging $80.
“It’s not business as usual,” said David Lazar, an alumnus of Searle and Express who left his position as executive vice president at Three Dots last July to introduce twen-tee for the current spring season. “There’s no space, and the customer has no appetite. She’s already full. She wants the next thing.”
Lazar is partners with Brian Cytrynbaum, a principal in Montreal-based Majestic Mills, which finances California-based twen-tee through its private equity arm. After spinning and knitting the yarn procured through European mills, Majestic Mills dyes, cuts and sews the products at its factory in Canada, where it can import some materials from Europe without paying duty.
With sales last year totaling 170 million euros, or $250.1 million at the average exchange rate, Majestic also holds stakes in 18 other apparel brands, including Earnest Sewn and K-Way.
Although Lazar declined to forecast twen-tee’s first-year sales, he said the company shipped more than $500,000 worth of product in its first month to 100 retailers, including Intermix, Holt Renfrew, Nordstrom, Henri Bendel and Fred Segal Couture. Twen-tee will begin distribution in Germany, Switzerland and Austria this fall.
“We took everything we knew from the scalability and knowledge of what has retailed and not retailed in garment-dyed T-shirts,” Lazar said. “We leveraged that for the premium contemporary market.”
Like many apparel categories, the T-shirt market faces challenges in a worsening economy. While labels such as Mblem by Mandy Moore are closing, newcomers, including T by Alexander Wang, attempt to secure a foothold in a market dominated by brands ranging from American Apparel and Michael Stars to Splendid and Three Dots.
Responding to the cut-and-sew knit market’s saturation, the established brands have branched into new categories, such as button-down woven shirts at American Apparel and cashmere sweaters at Michael Stars. Three Dots recently hired Los Angeles designer Pegah Anvarian to help transition the knits brand into contemporary sportswear with the addition of jackets and capes cut in novel fabrics such as a stretchy tweed.
Cytrynbaum said twen-tee, which has a U.S. office in Newport Beach, Calif., can find a niche targeting customers who like to shop designer labels but also mind their budgets.
“Twen-tee is more like Rick Owens at half the price,” Cytrynbaum said. “It’s more designeresque. It’s much finer yarn that anyone else can spin for those different brands.”
Twen-tee’s yarns range from a Supima cotton-cashmere blend in rib and jersey to a viscose-Lycra jersey to linen jersey and Supima cotton mixed with milk extract.
So far, its standout offering has been the Supima cotton-cashmere blend, which is knitted into a soft, sheer cloth barely felt on the skin. Dyed light gray, the fabric drapes the shoulders as an open cardigan with an asymmetrical hem. Retailing for $98, the cardigan is one of twen-tee’s priciest items. Other items made of the same yarn include a $70 fitted tank in carnation pink and a $98 double-layer long-sleeve T that is gray on the bottom and black on top.
For fall, twen-tee will introduce its first bottom — a legging knit from high-twist nylon Lycra.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews