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NEW YORK — Lilla P has hit its stride.

The seven-year-old T-shirt firm, offering contemporary style Ts to women looking for a misses’ fit, is expanding with the spring collection. The company, owned by Pauline Nakios, nearly doubled its wholesale volume to about $5 million this year, allowing Nakios to expand her collection to include skirts and dresses.

“I had one skirt last spring and it sold out in two weeks, so I decided to add more this spring,” Nakios said, “and the stores have been just loving the dresses so far.”

Lilla P, Nakios explained, is for a 28- to 50-year-old woman who wants an updated look in a T-shirt but has trouble fitting into traditional contemporary T-shirt lines. It’s a niche, she said, that has proven successful for her brand and the 550 specialty stores she now sells to. Some key items for spring include a V-neck cotton dress, ribbed tanks and sleeveless V-neck tops. The collection wholesales from $15 to $45.

She began her company with a simple cotton ribbed top; the collection now includes pieces made in a variety of weaves. Nakios said she travels regularly to find new ways to create the shirts, most recently purchasing Pima cotton in Peru.

“It feels like cashmere, it’s so soft,” she said holding one up. “I also have the weaves specially made to keep the seams straight. A lot of times when the fabric is this soft, the seams will move around on the body. It’s not the case with these.”

Also for spring, Nakios has designed a limited-edition T-shirt all proceeds of which will go to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) charities. The white cotton short-sleeve shirts will hit stores in January and retail for $25. They will have on the front the logo of the Alexander Foundation for SIDS Research, which Nakios is initiating with this project.

SIDS, the leading cause of death in infants one month to one year of age, continues to claim the lives of approximately 2,000 babies each year. This is a cause close to Nakios’ heart, as she lost her nine-week-old son, Alexander, to SIDS last year.

This story first appeared in the October 19, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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