Grant Leeds has been named as DownEast Basics’ new head designer and brings to the role design experience with national brands like BCBG Max Azria and Anne Cole Swimwear, among others.
Natalie Pyper, who will design DownEast Girl, also has experience designing for such national brands as Catherine Malandrino, MUDD Jeans and Babies“R”Us.
Both new members of the design team have strong ties to Utah, where DownEast is headquartered. Leeds is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design. Pyper is a Utah native who is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, specializing in women’s and children’s wear, and also attended the University of Utah. Additionally, she was a Utah Jazz dancer and is a former Miss Utah USA.
“We welcome both Grant and Natalie and are excited by the national-brand design experience they offer,” said Jonathan Freedman, DownEast’s VP of Apparel. “Our own brand popularity is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds and we feel confident they’ll enrich our collections for women and girls with the latest design trends – while still remaining true to our ‘boutique on a budget’ philosophy.”
Leeds began his career at BCBG Max Azria, where he was a designer for its Private Label division, which brought the brand into mass-market retailers such as Ross Stores, New York & Company, JCPenney and Federated Department Stores.
He was later a senior designer at Warnaco Inc., where he designed the Anne Cole Swimwear Collection, working closely with Anne Cole. During his time at Warnaco, Anne Cole was named by the NPD Group, a leading consumer market research firm, as the number one swimwear brand in the misses category. Most recently, Leeds was a senior designer at JCPenney.
In addition to the DownEast Basics brand, Leeds will also serve as head designer for Modbe, a contemporary clothing line with a modern, youthful feel that is owned by DownEast.
Pyper began her design career with Catherine Malandrino and then later gravitated to children’s wear, working with such brands as MUDD Jeans and S. Rothschild. She has also designed for Toughskins, Route 66, Joe Boxer Swim and Garanimals. Most recently, she designed baby, girls and boys clothing for Babies“R”Us.
The first clothing designed by Leeds and Pyper for DownEast will be seen in the retailer’s early spring 2014 collections.
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