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Liberty Grows Beyond Fabrics

Company launching into women's, men's and children's wear.

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NEW YORK — Liberty Art Fabrics is expanding its North American presence with apparel and accessories collections launching for fall.

The London-based company, which has seen strong growth since opening a corporate showroom for its array of fabric offerings two years ago, is adding lines in women’s, men’s and children’s.

The women’s offering focuses on scarves made from Liberty’s own printed silk and cotton fabrics. They will retail for $195 to $330.

The men’s wear line consists of button-down casual shirts also done in Liberty prints, as well as solids and the company’s new printed denim group. The shirts will have an average retail price of $225. A selection of colorful ties is also on offer.

Ioana Banu, director of sales for North America, said the men’s and women’s lines will be launched at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue stores, and then roll out to select high-end boutiques.

“Our fabrics are always a large part of the business,” Banu said. “While we’re looking at the clothing and accessories as add-on sales, we do see it growing into a multimillion-dollar business.”

The children’s wear is a fuller collection for girls and boys, featuring dresses, blouses, shirts, sweaters and sets, running from $12 at retail for hair accessories to $565 for a Harris tweed coat. While the men’s and women’s offering will be sold out of Liberty’s showroom at 110 West 40th Street here, the children’s line will be shown at trade shows such as Playtime New York, which kicks off a three-day run on Saturday at Saint John’s Center on Washington Street at West Houston. The children’s wear will launch in stores such as Sweet William, with shops in downtown Manhattan and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Yoya, on Hudson Street in the West Village.

Most of the fabrics throughout the new lines are Liberty’s well-known Tana Lawn, a silk-finish cotton, generally done in floral-based overall prints, but also in conversational motifs. However, Banu noted that the finished goods will primarily be using archival prints to maintain the integrity and freshness of the seasonal fabric collections. She added that Liberty’s store in London has carried apparel and accessories for years, so the company has experience in manufacturing and merchandising these offerings.

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