Sophomore: Getting Down to the Basics

Text by Andrea Francis

Sophomore’s soft-washed fabrics and ’70s silhouettes make you want to be a teenage runaway, or at least pass some time smoking cigarettes and eating bologna sandwiches.
The NY-based men and women’s sportswear company is all about the basics. Chrissie Miller—formerly a graphic designer—started Sophomore five years ago with a rock T-shirt for a fictional band called The Socialites. “At the time, young kids were wearing rock T-shirts for bands they had never heard of, so it was a play on that,” Miller says. Sophomore’s social-commentary aesthetic sparked public interest shortly after Britney Spears made headlines wearing Miller’s Page Six Six Six design.

Miller partnered with Madeleine von Froomer of Proenza Schouler to expand the collection. “We wanted to make clothes that are basic but with a fashion twist, and also affordable,” Miller says. But trying to capture that effortless Lower East Side look caused many sleepless nights. “There weren’t a lot of contemporary sportswear lines out there that we wanted to wear,” Miller explains. “[They] were either too girly, cheaply constructed or ill fitting.” It’s Sophomore’s ability to fill in the blanks—along with Miller’s enviable lookbook model-friends like Jen Brill, Donald Cummings, Charlotte Ronson and Bijou Phillips—that makes the line stand out from the crowd.

The Spring 2009 collection features U-neck tops, henley-style shirt-dresses, high-waist short shorts, and a peace sign graphic T-shirt printed slightly lower than normal. The garments are constructed in cotton jersey and French terry with specialized washes that match each fabric—before the afternoon romps and grass stains.