Byline: Elizabeth Gladfelter
Appalachian By Design (ABD), a nonprofit economic development corporation based in Lewisburg, W. Va., has launched its own proprietary knitwear line. The products consist of sweaters, vests, hats, scarves and home furnishings in such natural materials as undyed organic wool and naturally colored cotton yarns.
In addition, the company, which brokers out knitters to manufacturers, has broadened its reach of at-home knitters from regional makers to knitwear companies all over the country. Such companies include New York’s Melcon Design, a $10 million knitwear company, and Aveda’s clothing line Anatomy, which launched for fall.
ABD’s first job training program was in 1992, in response to a request from Esprit International for knitters. Since then, ABD lost nearly 70 percent of its sales due to Esprit’s cancellation of its European-based line.
Diane Browning is ABD’s president.
More than 60 women knit ABD products in their homes in rural West Virginia and Maryland full or part-time. Formal employment among women in the region is among the nation’s lowest, according to the company.
Wasserman Design, a two-year-old better knitwear manufacturer based in New York, has launched its own sportswear collection, Wasserman, for the contemporary/bridge customer. The company specializes in silk and silk blend products, which it sources directly from the Orient.
The sportswear line wholesales from $23 to $64. It will feature such items as a sleeveless, plaid, silk and nylon bouclA sweater in celery, cinnamon and malt brown that wholesales for $27, and a space-dyed, silk, shortsleeved sweater in blue, white and black for $29.
Formerly, Wasserman manufactured knits only for other companies, which will continue as clients.
The spring ’97 sportswear collection was designed by Kay McMillan, who previously designed for the contemporary line Easel. McMillan was chosen as the first designer of the sportswear collection because of her “very strong background in fine-gauge knits, specifically contemporary silks,” according to Hilary Spinner, Wasserman’s president.
Accounts include Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.
First-year volume is projected at $10 million.
Molly McCall, who has designed and produced vests for Henri Bendel, has expanded into a knitwear collection for spring ’97. Her sweaters and knit coats are available in her own shop which opened in Carmel, Calif. in October.
Made in northern California, each sweater is hand-dyed with hand-loomed yarns in tones of deep red, rattan and black for the better and contemporary markets.
Details include collars made from old tablecloths and vintage curtains and buttons covered with those materials.
Wholesale prices for spring range from $85 for cotton pieces to $350 for full length chenille coats.
Her wholesale customers include Henri Bendel, New York; Nordstrom; Kip & Co., Carmel; Bandana, Basalt, Col.; Gorsuch, Vail and Aspen, Col., and Pitkin County Dry Goods, Aspen.
Anticipated volume for 1997 is $175,000.
NEW YORK — For resort, space-dyed sweaters — the look made popular by Missoni in the Seventies — are hot again. Designers are cutting them in tight-fitting V-necks, sleek turtlenecks and sexy halters.