NEW YORK — It all started with one thought: “Models suck.”

Shawn Regruto, then-designer of the Danucht T-shirt label, put that on a T-shirt in 1995 and before he knew it, some models with a sense of humor — Kate Moss, Bridget Hall and Shalom Harlow — had taken a liking to the shirt.

In 2002, Regruto abandoned Danucht to team with his longtime friend and graphic designer, Chrissie Miller, to launch Sophomore, a graphic T-shirt line. Shortly after its inception, Britney Spears was photographed in one of their Page SixSixSix T-shirts, and that’s when everything changed, Miller said.

“Once Britney wore that shirt, we decided to focus on this,” Miller said. Bloomingdale’s was the first retailer to buy Sophomore.

The Sophomore collection contains 30 styles of candy-colored graphic T-shirts for women with sassy sayings such as “Challah Back,” “The New York Crimes” and “Los Angeles. Thanks … But, No Thanks.” Miller said she sees the label evolving into more of a basics line, sans graphics. T-shirts in the collection wholesale for $24 and can be found in stores such as Bloomingdale’s and C. Ronson. Miller and Regruto expect Sophomore’s wholesale volume to reach $400,000 to $500,000 in 2005.

“We’ll keep up with the graphics, but there’s nothing really out there that’s sort of classic,” she said. Miller thinks the market lacks a true basics line, or at least one that’s not dripping in logos.

“Basic bodies don’t exist anymore,” she said. “I buy a lot of vintage Ts because you can’t find a lot of the vintage cuts, like scoopnecks and V-necks, anymore. I want to bring back things from the past that we took for granted, like the polyester and cotton T. No one makes a good 50-50 T these days and no one makes a regular pair of sweatpants that doesn’t come in hot pink and have something written across the butt.”

Sophomore T-shirts are made from 100 percent combed cotton. “You’ve got to get the right fabric,” Miller said. “It’s got to be the right weight: not too thin and not too thick. Our Ts are about an inch longer than other Ts, plus they’re fitted a bit on the sides, so they go in a bit at your waist.”

This story first appeared in the May 26, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Miller expects a line of basic T-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants and jackets to be complete by next spring.

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