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Lysse Leggings is going after the activewear market.

This story first appeared in the April 23, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The shapewear leggings specialist will launch a Lyssé Leggings Fit line of four styles in June that can transition from everyday wear to exercise wear.

Beth Gold-Cohen, a former buyer and merchandise manager at Macy’s and founder of the Lyssé brand, said the tagless activewear styles will be rendered in a blend of four-way stretch nylon and spandex. Bottoms will feature a signature tummy-control panel.

“I’m introducing active shapewear leggings because many women have asked me if they can wear my basic nylon and spandex leggings to exercise in. There are some women who are already exercising in the basic leggings to do light cardiovascular workouts, but the fabric shows perspiration. So I thought it would be a great idea to do activewear leggings with a shapewear component,” said Gold-Cohen.

Styles include a flare leg, which will retail for $62, a tight-ankle silhouette for $60 and a capri for $56. A coordinating tank will sell for $42.

“All elements work together to eliminate the [midriff] roll and lend a streamlined appearance with unexpected comfort and control,” she explained.

The company has blossomed since 2009 when Gold-Cohen, who had gained weight after battling breast cancer, decided to try her hand at design.

“At that time, none of my jeans or stretch leggings fit. Then one day I had a flash of inspiration. I took one of my control-top undergarments and sewed it to a pair of leggings….Not only did the leggings fit perfectly, but they felt comfortable and smooth,” she reflected.

“In addition to, my designs are now sold at 2,500 specialty stores and at all of Nordstrom’s 100 doors. Nordstrom has taken my brand to another level of exposure,” she said.

Business has been brisk.

Wholesale sales have grown from $900,000 in 2010 to $4 million in 2011. Gold-Cohen projects sales will exceed $6 million in 2012.

Regarding other product categories, she’s developing three styles of shapewear tops that can be worn with her leggings.

“There will be tops with a tricot [tummy] control tank on the inside made of the same control fabric used in my leggings,” she said. The Lyssé Leggings Fit collection will be previewed at the Moda Manhattan trade fair, which runs May 7 to 9 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

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