Recognizing the potential of the humble T-shirt, Michael Stars has been a continual pioneer in creating "casual couture" since its founding in 1986. The Los Angeles based, family run company remains a leader in the women’s contemporary market, distinguished by its large selection of styles, exuberant colors and comfortable fabrics.
In 1976, Michael Cohen came to Los Angeles from his native Cape Town, South Africa to work for a British shirt company. A decade later, Cohen conceived what would become a 22-year old family company from a chance meeting with an artist who was selling hand painted T-shirts at a Manhattan Beach fair. The original Michael Stars designs were unisex, boxy T-shirts, decorated with bright colors and interwoven French inspired graphics – a distinctive beginning from where the garment would eventually grow.
When Michael Stars began to develop beyond Cohen’s early imaginings, he realized he needed help distributing his clothing line. Much to his surprise, the woman’s door he knocked on for help would not only make his line a success, but would become his future wife. Cohen’s passion and love for his brand was contagious and Suzanne Lerner, already a successful clothing representative, committed herself to the future of the clothing line.
In the beginning the company was modestly run out of a garage by three family members, all of whom remain with the company today – Cohen, his brother Stuart and Suzanne Lerner. Today, the company has grown to over 200 employees, and has concurrently seen its distribution expand from the local Southern California market to all 50 states and beyond. Offering more than 200 styles in over 30 colors per season, the Michael Stars collection of tees include a wide variety of styles available in fabrics like Shine, Supima Cotton, Supima Modal, Supima Thermal, Micro Jersey and Slub Jersey.
In 1997, Michael Stars established a major industry trend with the launch of its signature "Shine" fabric that dressed up the basic tee. Building on the success of its original women’s line, Michael Stars expanded with "Maternitees" in 2001. In 2006, Michael Stars launched a cashmere collection, followed by a dress collection in the Spring of 2007 as well as accessories and eyewear divisions in 2009.
Michael Stars entered the world of retail in 2001 with the opening of a flagship store in Manhattan Beach, California. Two years later, a second branded store opened on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. In November 2005, Michael Stars opened a store at the Grove in Los Angeles and a chic Santa Barbara location in 2006. In November 2007, Michael Stars expanded outside of California and opened a fifth store in Las Vegas at Las Vegas Town Square. In 2008, a sixth store opened at the Americana at Brand in Glendale, California and a seventh store opened at the Village at Corte Madera in Northern California. In 2009, Michael Stars expanded its retail division with the opening of Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek, California, Fashion Island in Newport Beach and Fashion Square in Scottsdale. It is their goal to continue to expand their retail division on a national level and are currently seeking additional retail locations.
The designs can also be found in upscale department stores such as Bloomingdales’ and Nordstrom, as well as Anthropologie, specialty boutiques worldwide and online at michaelstars.com.
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