Local Michigan resident designs, manufactures, high fashion
By Benjamin J. Gohs, Editor
If the name Vera Wang gets your shop lust in an uproar, then you won’t want to miss the newest clothing line co-created by one of Wang’s former designers and her partner—a local woman with strong ties to the Boyne area.
Molly Kircher, CEO of the Trybe clothing line and full-time Walloon Lake resident, took some time out of her busy schedule launching the Fall 2012 collection with her partner Rebecca Clark, Lead Designer and Trybe President, to give the Boyne City Gazette an up-close and personal look at her new company.
“Trybe is all about an effortless, American made beauty. It’s sumptuous, flattering, and modern in a neutral-based palette with muted colors rounding out each collection,” said Kircher. “There is a lot of drape and beauty in our pieces and they are simple, but always have a slight hint of interest to keep the look fresh.”
Trybe is 100 percent made in the USA, and Kircher said that is an important part of her company’s identity.
“It’s exciting for us to be launching a clothing line from Michigan during this sort of renaissance in our state,” she said. “We are working closely with the Michigan Garment Industry Council to help develop manufacturing facilities in Michigan for clothing lines like ours. It’s looking very promising and could be a major industry and source of job creation in our state.”
Kircher added, “I’m also personally gratified that one of our best and brightest—Rebecca Clark—has brought her amazing talent back to Michigan and is using it in a way that highlights the kind of talent that we have here in Michigan.”
Clark is a former Designer for Vera Wang’s multi-million-dollar Simply Vera label.
Through Kircher and Clark’s Michigan corporation Northcoast Design Group, they aim to make Michigan as synonymous with fashion as New York or Los Angeles.
“We are currently in more than 80 stores, predominantly on the East Coast,” Kircher said. “Sales have nearly doubled this month and we’ve hired a Los Angeles-based sales showroom and a representative for the Midwest. So, we are making great strides and thrilled about what this venture could become.”
You can find Trybe clothing in Northern Michigan at BJeweled, Mettlers, Threads, Dressed, Grand Hotel, Inn at Bay Harbor, and Mountain Grand Lodge shops.
Kircher grew up just Northwest of Lansing and went to Grand Ledge High School. Her family the Clarks, many of whom own cottages in this area, settled a farm in Eagle Michigan in 1835, that still belongs to her family.
Kircher, whose husband Stephen Kircher is one of the two main shareholders of Boyne Resorts, is also brand director with Boyne Resorts.
“I was officially hired as the brand director in May of this year but have been working on branding and other company projects for many years before this in one capacity or another,” she said. “We’re very excited about the process of understanding the resorts in terms of why they were built—the historical perspective—and what they mean to our customers, and our community now.”
Kircher added, “It’s a project that involves all of our customers, visitors and owners, and all of our internal teams as well.”
Kircher said the resort is working to fully reveal its identity and use that as a decision-making framework to protect and enhance the meaning of the places for all who love them.
Kircher’s love of design began early in her youth.
“From childhood on, I have been somewhat obsessed with design in one arena or another: interiors, art, and, yes, clothing,” she said. “I have a family full of creative people and entrepreneurs and we’re a supportive bunch.”
According to Kircher, her cousin Peter and his wife Rebecca were living in New York for years, getting educated and working in the big city.
“Rebecca graduated from the prestigious Pratt Institute with honors and went on to design for many famous people in the fashion world,” Kircher said. “Rebecca created, designed and managed one of Vera’s best-selling lines (and) the label was selling $200 million retail at the time Rebecca decided to leave the Big Apple.”
Kircher said her business partner and her cousin were both ready to start a family and they wanted to go back to their roots here in Michigan.
“When they returned, Rebecca and I began dreaming about starting our own line of clothing and doing it from Michigan,” she said. “A few years ago, the idea began incubating and last September we finalized our plan and hit the ground running.”
Kircher said she and her partner Clark create designs with regular women in mind.
“Our inspiration for each collection is real women, the ones we know and love, and the ones we read about who are not always the center of the spotlight but who are living their lives in ways that inspire us,” she said. “Having grown up in small towns, lived in the city and traveled extensively, we are 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.”
Kircher added, “In being grounded and finding your own path, taking chances and sharing your secrets with one another you begin to reveal who you really are—and that is what makes you beautiful and what allows you to love fully and to be loved by all of the people in your life.”
Kircher said she is compelled by women who can, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “remain themselves in a world constantly trying to make them into something else.”
Kircher said she looks to those women who are confident in their own skin, who aren’t chasing trends.
“They don’t wear styles that force you to focus on the clothing,” Kircher said.
According to Kircher, it is muted but colorful neutrals in beautiful cuts and fabrics that feel good and look good while being inexpensive.
“Our price point is very moderate, accessible, and sensible because we think women should have great clothes, truly beautiful and feminine pieces that they love, for a reasonable price,” she said. “And we think it’s important to be made in the USA. So, we are always trying to make clothing that accents the woman instead of the clothing.”
Kircher added, “This is not about the label, it’s about the woman who wears it … and we want her to grab a sumptuous, flattering piece of Trybe, and when she puts it on we want her to shine through.”
Northcoast Design Group was started in 2011. Rebecca Clark, a top graduate from New York’s famed Pratt Institute, owns Michigan Fashion Proto, a Lansing-based apparel sample and production business.
Molly Kircher is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a BFA in Theater and the former marketing director for Clark Construction Company in Lansing. She is also an author and an event planner.
For more information, visit their website at www.trybe.co.
Electronic look books and high-resolution images are available upon request.
For wholesale account inquiries, please contact Kristy Warner at email@example.com or by phone at (517) 367-7066.