Byline: Georgia Lee / Julia Fellers

In the Wash, New York, a contemporary sportswear line designed with a “true fit,” fills a big void in today’s market, according to Claude Brown, co-president, design director.
“There’s too much out there for tiny bodies, like Laundry and BCBG, and plenty of oversize stuff that looks dowdy, but there’s a shortage of hip, fashionable clothing that fits a real woman,” Brown said.
The designer spent a year perfecting fit, which hearkens back to the days when fits were more consistent. “Remember when a size 6 was a size 6, a 10 was a 10 and a size 14 could actually find a 14? That’s what we’re all about.”
With wholesale prices between $22 and $120, the line includes about 50 pieces, with key items such as T-shirts, sweaters, woven shirts and bottoms, dresses and outerwear. For fall, fabrics include silk and cashmere blends, cotton and stretch woven fabrics.
In the Wash interprets key fashion trends from lines such as Gucci, Prada and Jil Sander, in more casual and affordable applications. The line has been featured in such diverse publications as Seventeen, Family Circle, Glamour and RealSimple magazines.
“Our target customer is a woman in her 30s and 40s who understands fashion and wants those looks in an easy-going, comfortable interpretation for her lifestyle,” said Brown.

Based on the notion that fashion is art and seizing the moment for consumers’ fascination with romantic special occasion clothing, Belles & Brigands, a Minneapolis, Minn., line, dresses children in period clothing inspired by fine art.
The new line, billed as “a dress-up wardrobe from history’s closet,” includes nine girls’ designs and two boys’ styles, sizes 2T-14. All are inspired by portrait art from Pierre Auguste Renoir, John Singer Sargent, George Romney and others. The line includes two one-time limited-edition girls’ ballgown styles, heirloom-quality collectibles with approximately 200 of each style. Wholesale prices range from $100 to $500. Accessories, including hats and muffs, are around $50.
“They give a sense of recognition, of having been seen before,” said Joan Wadkins, a former advertising executive, who launched the line with partner Connie Singer, a former costume designer who designed for films and Broadway theater. A love for period drama and movies of the Merchant Ivory ilk also inspired the Belles & Brigands line.
During the April market, a Renoir-inspired turquoise blue silk doupioni dress and jacket trimmed with fake mink, with matching mat and muff, sold around 50 pieces. The line will continue with art-inspired themes, with more casual fabrics, such as linen, for spring.

Stampa Collezione, New York, a better sportswear line launched in February 1999 under parent company Ionio Corp., will debut in Atlanta in June.
The line emphasizes luxury fabrics at opening better prices. Comfortable, easy silhouettes are sized generously to fit a woman’s body. The target customer, a 25-to-55-year-old, is career oriented and value driven, said Linda Harrison, vice president. At wholesale prices from $32 to $54, Stampa’s Italian fabrics are all specially designed and engineered for the line, to offer luxury quality at lower prices. Seasonless weights include jacquards and rayon and wool blends with the drapability of knits.
Jackets and skirts often have striped, jacquard or chenille borders. Designed primarily for career women, the line also works for evening, with velvet cuffs and collars, or fringed skirts and jackets. Dusters in rayon and wool, are used as a finishing piece for suits. Fall colors include rich green, rust and wine.

Chandail Fashion, Inc., New York, a contemporary sweater line, opened at Don Overcast in March and will also expand into other regional markets this June. Veteran designer Andy Yu, formerly with George Simonton and Nordstrom private label, designs the new line.
“Buyers are attracted to its three key attributes — quality, look and affordability,” said Mark Weinberg, vice president, sales and marketing. The fall II line consists of five smaller collections, which vary by gauge and knit techniques.
Named for the elements of nature — Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Fog — sweaters are made from Italian wool and cotton yarns. Colors include amethyst, chocolate, black, red, orange, sage and purple. Silhouettes are often embellished or trimmed in fake fur, including chunky sweaters, sleeveless pieces, cardigans and wraps.
Designer Andy Yu translates European trends for the American market and scours vintage stores for inspirational vintage trims and embellishments.
“I want the woman to look and feel feminine and sexy, while at the same time feeling comfortable in their clothes,” said Yu of his clean, modern sweaters. The secret of Chandail’s early success is its low price point; wholesale prices range from $30 to $50.