Anais and Jane

jane-dhaene-by-tribeca-citizenJane D’Haene was design director at a 200-employee interior-design firm till 2005, when she got pregnant. She and her husband, Francis, already had a son, but this pregnancy was different: “I was on bed rest the entire time,” says Jane. “I had to quit my job. I was miserable.”

1-courtesy-anais-and-i2-courtesy-anais-and-i3-courtesy-anais-and-iShe had a girl, Anais. “I always imagined having a daughter, dressing her, and I started to buy and buy and buy children’s clothes. Eventually I had to stop—it was too expensive a habit.” But just because she couldn’t buy clothes didn’t mean she couldn’t dress Anais. “That’s when I thought, Why don’t I learn to sew?

Jane signed up for a night class in the Garment District, but after five classes, all she had to show for her efforts was one skirt. She moved on to books, teaching herself to sew by making two or three dresses a day. By the time Anais was 7 months old, Jane was making all of her clothes. “She had so many clothes that they couldn’t fit in the closet!” says Jane. At Washington Market Park, people would ask where Anais’s clothes came from: “I began taking private orders from people around the neighborhood and my husband’s clients’ wives on the Upper East Side.” (Frances is an architect.) Jane was mulling the idea of launching a business when she got pregnant again.

Last winter, after having another son, she decided to go for it—naming the line Anais & I for obvious reasons. “I just went to my first trade show, at the Javits Center. The reaction was amazing! All the major children’s stores ordered the fall/winter 2010 collection. And we’re talking to Barneys.” As she’s saying this, her phone rings: Her salesperson is calling to share the good news that Capucine on Harrison Street has also signed on.

This season, there are about 30 pieces, all for girls, from six months to eight years, and all made in the Garment District. Next season, she’s planning on introducing boys’ clothes, possibly under her sons’ names. And after that, perhaps she’ll do a home line—bedding, accessories, and so on. “I love designing clothes!” she says. “I love, love, love it!”

This Thursday, she’ll be participating in a trunk show—along with Atsuyo et Akiko (children’s fashion) and Namhee (children’s furniture)—from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Soho House. The Anais & I fall/winter 2010 collection will be 20% off, and you are most definitely invited.


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