By  on April 3, 2008

NEW YORK — As an owner of Tag Sale Textiles, a vintage fabric firm, and ITW (It's The Weekend), a misses' weekendwear line, designer Claude Brown is ready to get into something a bit more contemporary.

After a soft launch for spring, Claude Brown, a new contemporary sportswear line, will have a full-fledged launch for fall. The line is designed with many of Brown's vintage prints from his Tag Sale collection (which houses more than 250,000 pieces of vintage fabric). It consists of wool coats and jackets with printed silk linings, printed jersey dresses, silk blouses and high-waisted pants and skirts. Wholesaling from $80 to $250, the collection is available at the Susie Lehr showroom here at 231 West 39th Street.

In addition to Brown, the company is owned by Brown's life partner, Neil Cohen, and their best friend, Randi Matalon.

"We've been in this business for a long time and I didn't want to launch a collection like this until I knew we had something really special," Brown said. "There are so many lines out there, but I truly believe we have something that women will want to buy."

He said the collection is created with close attention to the details, such as the ribbon-lined interior seams on a coat and the sparkling crystal buttons on a silk blouse. He even has a skirt and jacket in the line that comes with an acrylic and gold button, which Brown found from an old collection belonging to John Galliano.

"For years we have been providing inspiration to so many designers with our vintage fabrics, I knew we could also do it ourselves," said Brown, who has a doctorate in 20th-century Spanish theater and was a professor at the University of Nebraska.

The line has been picked up by select specialty stores nationwide such as Fred Segal in Los Angeles and Searle in Manhattan. Brown said he expects to reach $2.5 million in wholesale sales volume in the collection's first year.

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