The cashmere-heavy line features culottes, capris, fitted skirts, knit sweaters, slim dresses and outerwear. Designed with Weisel’s made-to-order clientele in mind, the sportswear will target better department and specialty stores, many which carry the eveningwear line. Weisel estimated first-year sales of $2 million.
The idea for the line started two years ago, Weisel said, when she noticed a lack of variety in the sportswear market for high-quality clothes with a youthful edge. Known for incorporating luxurious knits into eveningwear, Weisel said the idea for the sportswear line was partly inspired by clients’ demand for daytime sweaters.
“It was originally a sweater line,” said Weisel. “I love cashmere, but [sweaters] weren’t enough. I realized we needed to add more components, I didn’t want it to end up [in stores] on some floor full of sweaters.”
Cashmere and wool bottoms feature crochet details such as skirt trims and pants sidestripes. Though the crochet accenting is inspired by the Seventies, the details are more sophisticated, Weisel said. Color palettes range from cool grays, rich browns and black to brighter colors like leaf green and lavender.
Two- to four-ply cashmere sweaters are fitted and meant to be layered, said Weisel, who sources the yarns in Scotland and Italy. Outerwear includes quilted nylon parkas and leather-trimmed suede jackets.
Wholesale prices begin around $200 for sweaters, while bottoms range from $225 to $700. Outerwear runs $300 to $650.
Unlike her eveningwear line, which is produced entirely in New York, the sportswear is manufactured in Scotland, Italy and Hong Kong. Weisel said accommodating the longer lead times associated with overseas production makes for a new business challenge. “It’s a very different business,” she said. “You need to be extremely organized and order your yarn months in advance, so you have to project.”
Though she said her plate is full now, Weisel said, “I’d love to own a store down the road, but it’s a huge undertaking. And I’ve thought about shoes and maybe bags, but not yet.”