Trish Wescoat Pound is making inroads with department and specialty stores with her “cool girl” advanced contemporary collection, TWP.
Wescoat Pound, who is best known for founding Haute Hippie, and earlier worked at Theory and Michael Kors, designs what she calls “well-made clothes for women who don’t want to pay luxury prices.” The line, which is privately financed, is priced a little above contemporary and below designer.
According to Wescoat Pound, she had been developing TWP for the few years and began doing trunk shows at stores during the pandemic before “officially” launching for spring 2022 selling.
“Basically it’s a classification-intensified collection,” said Wescoat Pound, in an interview at her workrooms at 318 West 39th Street in Manhattan. She started the collection designing men’s inspired button-downs that are made for and fit a woman. She named them after stages of relationships such as The Boyfriend, Soon to Be Ex, The Morning After and The Goodbye. These are the four core styles. “It’s interesting to see the relationship that the customer has with them,” Wescoat Pound said.
While Haute Hippie was more edgy, rock ‘n’ roll and bohemian, TWP appears to be more laid back, comfortable and cool girl.
“Whenever a new collection is launched, you can see it from a different eye. I don’t have to do anything that I’ve done last season or last year, or two years ago or five years ago. There are just certain things I found I couldn’t find in the market,” Wescoat Pound said.
She said she likes to focus on the things that go on top, such as button-down shirts and blazers. “At this point in my life, I want to be casual, and I want to be put together, but I’m a creature of comfort so everything is super comfortable,” she said.
Recently, she added pants to the mix and offers what she calls “all broken suits.” Although you could wear the trousers and blazers together, it’s really about “mixing it up and showing it differently,” she said.
“It’s the things you must have — the things you’re always looking for. You can have a thousand shirts, but you’re looking for that one shirt,” she said.
She also offers a button-down Boyfriend in silk charmeuse. “We always like to have little surprises and we’ll do a little sparkle and a little shine. We’re not afraid of color to uplift and bring everything up, and we mix it in a casual way,” she said. The Boyfriend button-down is their bestseller. It’s a little slimmer and has a signature button cuff.
Many of the pants are wide-leg, but there are also some slim pants. She described one style as “clean” and very designed with heavy topstitching and nail heads.
In the blazer category, she’s offering a double-breasted men’s style that has buttons and zippers at the cuff. There are also waiter blazers, which have three-quarter sleeves, and there’s the boyfriend blazer.
“We love wearing button downs as shirt jackets,” she added.
Wescoat Pound shows the blazers with a denim shirt, ribbed tank top and wide-leg trousers, for example. The collection is mainly made using Italian fabrics and is produced in a two-block radius in New York City.
For spring 2023, she’s also doing outerwear pieces and sweaters. She’s using Loro Piana cashmere and doing five-gauge sweaters and offering fully fashioned sweaters for spring.
Sizes run from 0 to 12, and XS to XL.
The collection retails from $310 to $2,995. Core cotton shirts go from $310 to $395, silk shirts are $375 to $495; blazers retail from $695 to $995, and trousers retail from $495 to $695.
“Our things are cool, and easy and sexy. She’s put together but there’s something that’s a little off,” Wescoat Pound said. “It’s really casual. We’re based in SoHo so we have that downtown feeling.” The company handles its sales appointments in a SoHo loft, and Maria Aguilera is global sales director.
According to Aguilera, the brand so far has 80 points of distribution and sells in the U.S., Canada and a little internationally. TWP is being sold to better specialty stores such as Kirna Zabete, Elyse Walker, Five Story, The Edit and The Conservatory. It also sells to Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. For resort, the brand has added Mitchells, Stanley Korshak, Tootsie’s and Julianne.
“Our goal is really to develop those relationships and do some trunk shows,” she said. She said the trunks shows she did during COVID-19 made her realize what women really wanted to wear. “That’s a big part of our strategy to partner with these people and support and nurture the business,” she said.
TWP plans to launch a website, TWPclothing.com in September, which will soon add e-commerce.
Retailers are having success with the collection.
Brian Bolke, founder of The Conservatory in New York City and Dallas, said, “We have carried TWP since she launched [fall 2021], and our customers have always responded to the easy, chic and clever way the collection almost styles itself. Trish has an uncanny sense of the exact right amount of laid-back luxury the customer is looking for. We have the customers coming back again and again because they find themselves living in these signature shirts.”
Beth Buccini, owner of Kirna Zabete, said, “We added TWP for the spring season and it has been a runaway hit. Customers instantly responded to Trish’s elevated essentials and they have been buying multiple units of her wardrobe basics with a twist. Her shirting story is incredible, her tailoring is super strong, and she beautifully manages the difficult task of making interesting pants with a perfect fit. We are already at a 44 percent sell through for fall, and spring finished at 84 percent. We are huge fans and see so much potential there.”
Wescoat Pound founded Haute Hippie in 2008, and established a loyal following. But Haute Hippie hit some operational bumps in the road, after a number of employees allegedly used corporate credit cards for a spending spree, costing the company between $700,000 and $800,000. After cleaning house, the company was eventually sold to Hilco in 2015.
“Out of that failure I learned a great deal. It’s really important the people you surround yourself with. It’s about having the right people and surrounding yourself with people who are competent and talented and are on the same page with you,” Wescoat Pound said.
“Haute Hippie was a great product for that time,” she added. “In this collection, you’ll see my love of tailoring. But there’s that little bit of sequin. It’s so emotional. Some of the things I learned at Haute Hippie, I’m applying them in a different way. And getting back to the tailoring and the juxtaposition between hard and soft. What’s most exciting about this is just how eclectic, cool and downtown this is. It’s a bit more complete and complex. We’ve gotten carried away with versatility.”