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Angelika Kammann has joined Karoo as designer, replacing Mark Eisen, who had designed the contemporary knitwear line since its 2005 launch.
The decision to split with Eisen was made because he is in South Africa, which became a hindrance to the design process for New York-based Karoo. Eisen also designs Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s higher-priced George collection.
“We realized that in order to expand, we needed to be able to work together in the same space,” said Anne Seeler, vice president of Karoo. “The decision was made to amicably part ways.”
In seeking a replacement, Seeler and her team wanted an accomplished knitwear designer who had a clear vision of what Karoo stands for in the market. Kammann seemed to be a natural fit. She spent six years as a knitwear designer for Strenesse Gabriele Strehle in Milan until she was recruited by American Eagle Outfitters as senior knitwear designer for the launch of its Martin + Osa brand in the U.S.
The first Karoo collection designed by Kammann is planned for spring retailing.
“Karoo has always been known for great quality and beautifully designed knitwear, but I am looking to take it a step further,” Kammann said. “Volume is still very important, but I wanted to introduce some new shapes and yarns, and some unexpected elements in the details.”
The spring line, still being designed, will include fine gauge cashmere dresses, soft fine wool knit tops with sheer details, light cotton sweaters and knit blazers, something new for Karoo.
“I love the whole idea of sweaters as outerwear, so there will be a series of knit jackets — shaped blazers, bomber jacket styles — there will be a huge variety of jackets,” Kammann said, noting that the color palette for spring will be clean white, ivory, taupe, melon, soft yellow and papaya. Red will be seen as a pop color.
The brand remains under the same owner and management team at SML Sport, a New York-based manufacturer. Karoo sells in stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, Intermix, Henri Bendel and Fred Segal.
Kammann’s line, which will open to buyers in September, will wholesale between $50 and $250. Karoo executives expect to reach $3 million in wholesale volume by the end of 2009.