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NEW YORK — New activewear brand Heatherlynn is using a fabric infused with vitamin C that is designed to be released into the wearer’s skin.

The fabric comes from the Fuji Spinning Co., which developed a fiber containing a chemical called pro-vitamin that turns into vitamin C on contact with human skin. A small amount then is absorbed through the skin layer into the muscle tissue; the garment releases the vitamin for about 30 washes, according to Fuji Spinning. The company developed the fabric a few years ago, and it has been used in T-shirts and other items, but has had limited exposure in the U.S.

“I wanted to develop a line that looked good and also had health benefits,” said company founder Heatherlynn Romoff.

Jeff Silberman, a textile consultant and professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, said that he wasn’t aware of the vitamin C fabric but that the process of “microencapsulation” has become a trend in the textile industry. Mills have developed fabrics that encapsulate lotions and microbacterial treatments that are engineered into the fiber at the molecular level. “There are all kinds of things people are adding to fabrics these days, but some of them are just novelties,” he said.

All Heatherlynn apparel comes with a small tag that explains that the collection contains vitamin C.

Romoff, a licensed massage therapist, said she long has been interested in health and well-being. She also has a background in fashion and she spent a year working at Tahari. She said her line is designed to marry those two interests.

“This collection is designed to be comfortable for real women,” she said. “All my silhouettes are easily adjustable and can be worn by women of different sizes.”

The collection includes activewear items such as tank tops, yoga pants and hooded sweatshirts, as well as some lifestyle pieces, including a wrap dress, miniskirts, capelets and robes. The initial looks are made of cotton and polyester and come in subdued hues of brown, white and black. Some items have special touches such as a polo top with a satin collar.

The collection has been picked up by the Takashimaya store on Fifth Avenue here, which will begin selling it in June. Romoff said she is talking to other boutiques and specialty stores. She has set up a Web site at heatherlynnworldwide.com that has information about the brand.

This story first appeared in the May 18, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Wholesale prices range from about $30 to $98 and Romoff said she is aiming for first-year sales of $500,000.

She said she eventually plans to introduce men’s items, as well as a travel collection with pillows of fabric infused with vitamin C.