View Slideshow

NEW YORK — Entertainer Mandy Moore is launching her first line of apparel, which will begin hitting stores at the end of the month, but she says that doesn’t make her a fashion designer.

“I never really had an aspiration to be a fashion guru,” Moore told WWD. “I have always been a fan of fashion, but in no way would I have ever considered myself a designer. I’m a real jeans and T-shirt girl, and I couldn’t find the exact shirts I liked, so I decided to do something of my own.”

The result is Mblem, a line of contemporary knit T-shirts in a variety of colors and soft cotton fabrics. Moore said she was sure to make the tops longer than traditional Ts, and the long-sleeve versions are long at the end of the sleeves, to cover part of the hands. It was the small, simple details like this that Moore said she wanted to concentrate on.

The first collection, wholesaling between $24 and $32, is inspired by Moore’s latest album, “Coverage,” which debuted last year. The critically acclaimed CD includes covers of popular songs from the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, and some of the Ts in the line have lyrics from Moore’s favorite songs placed subtly on the shirts.

“It’s just not me to do a big Jennifer Lopez-like clothing line,” she said. “I was looking for comfortable, plain shirts to wear with jeans. In the future, if the line does OK, I would consider taking it a small step further, but I still want it to maintain its simplicity.”

To help with the business end, Moore has teamed with Kristi Kaylor Schwartz, president of Los Angeles-based Kaylor Schwartz Inc., to launch the collection. Schwartz has a couple of years of experience in the business behind her, since she now runs 2Love, a company that links up with celebrities to design limited-edition T-shirts. 2Love manufactures the Ts and sells them to stores. The company then donates the proceeds from the sales of the shirts to selected charities nationwide.

For Mblem, Schwartz said she decided to team up with Moore, manufacture the collection and donate 10 percent of the sales to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a voluntary health organization dedicated to finding a cure for blood cancer through research, education and patient services. Moore supports this charity regularly, so it was a natural choice for her.

This story first appeared in the July 22, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I’ve worked with many celebrities over the years, and I can honestly say that Mandy is the perfect person to launch her own line,” Schwartz said. “She is so involved in every aspect, and she has great style.”

Schwartz said the line has been picked up by some high-end specialty stores nationwide, including Canal Jeans and Lounge in New York, Kitson and Fred Segal in Los Angeles and Active Endeavors in Chicago. She said she is looking to keep the distribution small and expects to reach $1 million in first-year sales.

Next up, Moore said she would like to design a line of men’s Ts.

“Maybe I will start doing some men’s Ts, but I definitely want to stick with the Ts,” she said. “My guy friends are all asking for them. I’m not sure how much more I would get into, though — the industry scares me a bit; I love to be part of the creative, but the rest, I just don’t know.”