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Olympic skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi will launch her first collection of activewear in September bearing the Tsuya name.

Yamaguchi, who won a gold medal in ladies’ singles at the Winter Olympics in 1992 and World Figure Skating Championships in 1991 and 1992, will introduce her line of fitness wear at Lord & Taylor as part of a Fashion’s Night Out event.

Tsuya is Yamaguchi’s middle name and means “shiny” in Japanese. The line will be produced under license by Montreal-based Kersheh Group.

Distribution will later be expanded to major department and specialty stores, boutiques and e-commerce sites. The launch will be supported by a viral campaign.

Yamaguchi described the collection as a reflection of her personal lifestyle with a strong sportswear influence.

“I’m calling it fashion activewear because it fills an area that is not being addressed. I wanted it to be on-trend rather than typical activewear that’s pretty basic. I think that with my own lifestyle of being an active woman and a busy mom, I wanted to create something that is fun and fashionable but also functional,” said Yamaguchi.

Suggested retail prices will average $40 to $150. Styles in the 18-piece collection of nylon and Lycra spandex include yoga pants, capris, camis, tanks, T-shirts and jackets. Colors will be solid black, plum and a gray, black and white leopard pattern. Special effects include ruching, netting infused with mini crystals, gold-tone zippers and a cherry blossom logo on hardware as well as the label.

A former spokeswoman for Celanese acetate in the Nineties, Yamaguchi said she has always had a fondness for fashion.

“This is a collaboration. I’m very involved with design and I work closely with the design team….Celanese acetate introduced me to the world of fashion and that really motivated me to start this project, which has been a few years in the works. My kids are now in school and I have more time to pursue ideas and challenges,” she explained.  “A portion of the sales will go to my Always Dream Foundation and will focus on early childhood literacy. I wanted to create something in the same vein as Newman’s Own or Toms shoes.”

Her inspiration for the collection is gleaned from some major players in the fashion field.

“A big inspiration was Stella McCartney for Adidas. I’m not trying to be Stella, but what she’s brought to activewear is really inspiring. Alexander Wang has also been inspirational with his active looks in his collections,” she noted.

Regarding other initiatives, Yamaguchi said her next apparel project will be children’s play wear.
“We also are working on a line of luggage and high-end paper products,” she said.

A first-year wholesale sales projection was not available, but the activewear line could exceed $3 million, according to industry estimates.

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