Byline: Melanie Kletter

NEW YORK — Hoping to entice budding fashionistas with younger twists on their core lines, several junior firms are jumping into the tween arena.
Tween company Rocket Girl, however, is taking the opposite route. The firm this fall and holiday is launching Rocket 898, a junior line that carries more sophisticated styles aimed at teens and young adult shoppers.
The line is primarily tops driven and features colorful sweaters with embellishments such as sequins, lace and fringe. Some of the sweaters are made with thicker yarn, giving them a plush feeling, while others are sheer knits.
Fabrics include mohair, cotton blends and rayon blends. The line is bursting with bright colors like fuchsia, orange and turquoise.
Silhouettes include turtleneck looks, V-necks, zip-up styles with patterns such as snowflakes, and knit halter shirts. Crocheted skirts are among the bottom offerings.
Gina Kohler, sales manager for the line, said the firm decided to enter the junior market after seeing a lot of interest in the line from teens and older shoppers.
“We feel there is a real need for what we are doing in the juniors market,” said Kohler said. “We have novelty sweaters that are not found in other places.”
Wholesale prices for the line range from $14 to $24. The company is targeting specialty chains, larger boutiques and Internet retailers for distribution.
Rocket Girl and Rocket 898 are both owned by Ralsey Group Ltd., a knitwear company that produces apparel primarily under private label and has annual sales of about $100 million.
Most of the production for Rocket 898 is done in Hong Kong, and some of the pieces are handmade. In addition to its branded merchandise, the company also produces apparel under private label.
The two-year-old tween line is sold in a variety of specialty chains, including Delia’s and Limited Too.

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