This isn't the first time Leslie Robertson's taken an idea she's passionate about and run with it.
When the Colorado College alum used a "Sewing Club" at her alma mater as a springboard for organizing the annual CC Fashion Show, it landed her a segment on The Today Show and a mention in Time magazine. Now the 30-year-old Robertson and her business partner, Alexis Raney, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, are taking their love of design another step farther — the pair just launched a clothing brand, Blackberry Maverick.
"The Blackberry side is the earthy, emotional side of our company," Robertson says, "and the Maverick is a little bit more edgy, more structural, more do-your-own-thing. And then there's this vintage, chic, sophisticated style that connects them both."
To begin, the two women are focused on building a local following, getting feedback, and taking individual orders for their first collection of five occasion dresses, made by contract seamstresses throughout the U.S. They'll be offering them at wholesale prices (around $200) at their upcoming trunk show, and for the following two weeks at blackberrymaverick.com.
Robertson describes the clothing in their debut collection as bold with an understated sexiness — "Our product is tailored more for the boutique consumer than it is for someone who is happy shopping in a department store" — and says it extends to everyone, since they'll make dresses in any size. The brand's tagline, "Retro socialite with an edgy artistic flair" speaks to well-made garments that are fully lined, with details from different time periods. A pencil dress comes with a boat neck, princess seams and a five-button, French-style cuff, constructed out of cotton "Owl's Nest Black," cotton/silk "Radiance Honey/Gold" and "Silky Dupioni New Wine" polyester fabrics.
It's risky for a small, independently owned retailer to take a chance on an unknown, start-up designer, so the two are working on building their brand and business. They ultimately have their sights set on a nationwide clientele and aim to have their clothes in a handful of boutiques across the country two collections from now.