Byline: Rusty Williamson

Semplice means “simple” in Italian. But a new 32-gauge, fine-knit sweater label called Semplice is giving the term a whole new meaning on the apparel scene. Semplice, which launched last spring for fall selling, is linking knitting technology and Italian yarn to render what it calls some of the most luxurious fine-gauge sweaters in the better marketplace.
It is shown at Sam Alexander in 3C02 at the Mart.
Gauge refers to the number of needles used while knitting a garment. Using more needles results in tighter knots and better construction.
Semplice, a division of the Lubbock, Tex.-based Simply Smart golf sportswear company that does about $1 million in annual volume, uses sophisticated German knitting equipment to spin Italian yarn into about 30 styles of women’s fashion sweaters plus 18 men’s styles.
Patterns for each style are stored as unique computer programs.
Orders are fed to the company’s Stole brand German knitting machines, which are capable of producing customized and sophisticated patterns, silhouettes, textures and seams.
It takes about one hour to knit the components of a Semplice sweater and another hour to link the pieces and finish the item.Semplice expects first-year sales of $1 million, said the firm’s director of merchandising, Scott Malouf.
“We’ve been using this technology at Simply Smart for four years, but we launched Semplice because we wanted to create a modern fashion luxury item using this capability,” said Malouf. “And our knitting capabilities, which before were only used to produce our Simply Smart line of golf-related apparel, represent a new business paradigm for retailers and the opportunity to improve sales.”
He added, “In addition to offering ultra-fine-gauge fashion items at better prices, we’re addressing the issues of inventory quick-turn and customization — things that I as a former retailer would look to in a bid to improve my business.”
Malouf is a former principal in the Malouf’s women’s and men’s specialty store business, also based in Lubbock. He left the family business about a year ago to join Simply Smart.
Malouf said that the Semplice brand translates to simple, clean and uncomplicated style.
Silhouettes include ribbed V-neck sweaters with fashion darts, multistripe sleeveless turtlenecks and shells.
The collection is available in a spectrum of colors, including nearly 20 hues for fall-holiday. They include lime, blue, butter, chocolate and sand, along with basics.
Sizes are small to extra large, and the line is styled with women over 35 years old who crave body-conscious, but not overly fitted garments in mind.
The Italian yarn used by Semplice is washable stretch cotton and microfiber.
Wholesale prices average $66 per item.
Semplice has no immediate plans to produce bottoms.

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