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Wednesday, August 15,2012

New York meets Michigan

Trybe launches fall 2012 debut clothing line

by Tracy Key

If you’re looking to empty your wallet on superfluous fashion trends, outrageous “Project Runway”-style dress designs, and colors that would give hazard cones a run for their money, then Trybe, a new Lansing-based line of women’s clothing definitely isn’t for you.

“When we were designing clothes for Trybe, we thought about what it is that women would want to wear every day, whether they’re at work, at home or going out to dinner,” said Trybe lead designer Rebecca Clark. “We want you to throw it on and feel like yourself, so we used classic shapes, soft fabrics and designs with a lot of drape and pleats. It’s simple and not overly trendy, but it’s modern.”

Trybe’s simple yet flattering clothing line was designed by and for women under the creative direction of Clark, who has designed for a variety of legends in the New York fashion industry, including Vera Wang, Daisy Fuentes, Lori Goldstein and Jill Stuart. All Trybe clothing is designed and sampled in Lansing and produced 100 percent in the United States, meaning no Italian leather pants or luxurious haute couture jackets from France will be found here. The roots run locally for this budding brand. Both Clark and Trybe CEO Molly Kircher began their journeys in Michigan as workers in Michigan-based businesses.

“We grew up in small towns and had large and loving families,” wrote Kircher in a recent press release. “We’ve lived in the city, we’ve traveled extensively and we’re involved in the multitude of activities that so many women we know take on these days: family, work, community, social and political causes, education charity and more. Along the way we’ve distilled what we think is important — loving what you do and who you are, and sharing that with the world.” 

Clark agreed, explaining that she believes Michigan holds a tremendous potential for developing a local fashion scene, and that it has several advantages over busy and bustling Big Apple.

“I’ve done the New York thing and it was great, but a decade there was enough,” she said. “We’re committed to Michigan. It’s part of who we are, and we want to give back to the economy here.” 

Clark said the fall 2012 debut collection is very “neutral-driven,” centered around a natural color palette with splashes of rich earth tones, such as burnt orange, turquoise, sapphire and plum. She said the designs of the dresses, tops, pants and jacket, combined with the warm colors, will ensure that “the clothing accents the woman, instead of the woman accenting the clothes.” In other words, toxic neons and seizure-inducing prints are a no-go for these practical pieces.

Many times, you’ll be forced to part with a pretty penny if you want to wear what’s in this season, but cost-conscious women who want to dress beautiful on a budget will rejoice at the reasonable pricing of Trybe clothing.

“A major aspect of our line is that we want to remain affordable,” Clark said. “It’s really important to us that we offer obtainable clothing that our friends, family and people we know can afford to wear. Most of our pieces are under $100.”

Clark said she designed the Trybe clothing line with a 30-something woman in mind, “someone who is super busy working, someone who is mother and a wife, who has a million things to do.” But she said that the line also has appeal for a much wider age range due to its flexibility and flattering silhouettes, which are meant to fit women of all shapes and sizes. Distribution began in early August in Michigan and the East Coast, and Trybe can already be found in over 80 stores nationwide, including local clothing boutique Grace in Old Town. That number is expected to increase in September when more retailers begin to carry their fall fashions.

“The Michigan garment industry can really come together and support all parts of the production process from the farm to the factory to the store,” Clark said. “Michigan has this great feeling of people working together and a general attitude of supporting one another, and that great Michigan spirit will help this state become known as one of the great garment hubs in the country.”

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