This New York duo’s much-Instagrammed patterns have edged out basic black leggings.
In pursuit of the perfect legging print, Zara Tisch has baked and photographed chocolate chip cookies, used a tweezer to set crystals in a skull shape, and arranged cassette tapes to figure out the most leg-lengthening configuration.
Tisch’s company, Terez, is known for its playful photo-real patterns, including crushed powdered eye shadow and dogs, and one that features emoji, which is the company’s best-seller. (The leggings have been worn — and Instagrammed — by Lena Dunham.)
On a recent day, she showed a visitor around the company’s 4,000-square-foot offices in Manhattan’s garment district, dressed in the cassette-tape leggings. She was joined by her childhood best friend, Amanda Schabes, Terez’s creative director.
At Terez, the cotton-candy atmosphere, and the often-whimsical product crafted there, belie a serious mission: Tisch’s determination to fill her life with as much color and fun as possible (and help others do the same) after her high school boyfriend drowned in 2003.
After selling her handbags on QVC, Tisch and Schabes spotted a fabric printed with candy-colored constellations and planets, and decided to make some leggings, which they loved to wear long before athleisure was a thing.
Buyers were wary, this being before the days when prints outnumbered plain black in exercise classes. Tischand Schabes were unfazed. They posted the prints on Instagram, encouraging women to request them from stores. Emoji, which their young customers loved to use when commenting on Terez’s posts, were Terez’s second print. Business took off. Sarah Jessica Parker ordered some for her daughters, and Angelina Jolie bought several pairs for her daughter Zahara.
Liz Jones, the vice president for women’s contemporary collections at Bloomingdale’s, first spotted Terez’s leggings (about $75 a pair for women’s) on a shopping trip to check out the competition. She was intrigued but cautious: The emoji print was “cute, but I didn’t think it was going to be as incredible as it was,” she says.
Bloomingdale’s started carrying Terez in just a third of its stores, but as of now, the brand is in all of them. “Now we definitely trust them and they direct us — I think they push us outside our comfort zone,” Jones says.