NEW YORK — DDCLab is getting help from a new partner.

The high-end sportswear and denim brand based here has teamed up with activewear giant New Balance, which has taken a minority stake in the company. New Balance joins DDCLab’s founders and designers, Roberto Crivello and Savania Davies-Keiller, in an effort to help DDCLab grow and get back into the wholesale business, which it exited in 2001. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“In 2001, we went from a $2.5 million company to an $8 million company almost overnight,” Davies-Keiller said. “We just couldn’t sustain that sort of growth, and it honestly almost put us out of business altogether.”

At that time, Davies-Keiller said DDCLab was dropped by Du­Pont, its former financial backer, which added to the pressure. Instead of closing the business, she and Crivello decided to design clothes only for their two freestanding stores here and in Los Angeles. Knowing they wanted to eventually get back into wholesale, the partners did everything they could to maintain the buzz for their brand, such as hosting events in their stores and putting on fashion shows.

“We failed to deliver, we failed at customer service, so we knew right away that if we were going to get back into it, it had to be at the right time,” Davies-Keiller explained. “We absolutely had to have the infrastructure in place.”

In 2002, Davies-Keiller and Crivello got together with privately held New Balance, based in Boston, to design a new lifestyle line called PF Flyers. The line, on which they still both work, enabled them to establish a good relationship with the activewear firm, which eventually led to the partnership.

“We’ve had a great relationship for four years and they know our brand very well already,” she said, “so with them as partners, we know that we can get back into wholesale in a very confident way.”

The DDCLab collection has begun wholesaling its fall collection. Davies-Keiller declined to give first-year wholesale expectations, but said they were targeting high-end specialty retailers and better department stores worldwide. The line wholesales from $68 to $500 and is now available in the Nexis showroom here at 39 West 56th Street.

This story first appeared in the January 22, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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