DownEast Basics Expands Apparel Design Team


Low-cost, premium clothing retailer DownEast Basics today announced the appointment of two new designers for its popular lines for women and girls. Grant Leeds has been named the new Chief Designer of DownEast Basics and brings to this role design experience with national brands such as BCBG Max Azria and Anne Cole Swimwear, among others.

Natalie Pyper, who will design DownEast Girl, also has experience designing national brands such as Catherine Malandrino, MUDD Jeans and Babies “R” Us.

The two new members of the design team have close ties to Utah, where DownEast is headquartered. Leeds graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Fashion Design. Pyper is originally from Utah and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, specializing in women’s and children’s clothing, and also attended the University of Utah. Additionally, she was a Utah jazz dancer and a former Miss Utah USA.

“We welcome both Grant and Natalie and are excited about the national brand design experience they offer,” said Jonathan Freedman, Vice President of Apparel for DownEast. “The popularity of our own brand continues to grow by leaps and bounds and we are confident that they will enrich our women’s and girls’ collections with the latest design trends, while remaining true to our ‘low budget boutique’ philosophy. “.

Leeds started his career at BCBG Max Azria, where he was a designer for its Private Label division, which introduced the brand to mass retailers such as Ross Stores, New York & Company, JCPenney and Federated Department Stores. He then worked as a senior designer at Warnaco Inc., where he designed the Anne Cole swimwear collection, working closely with Anne Cole. While at Warnaco, Anne Cole was named by the NPD Group, a leading market research company, as the number one swimwear brand in the miss category. Most recently, Leeds was a senior designer at JCPenney.

In addition to the DownEast Basics brand, Leeds will also serve as chief designer for Modbe, a contemporary clothing line with a modern and youthful twist owned by DownEast.

Pyper started his designer career with Catherine Malandrino, then moved on to children’s clothing, working with brands such as MUDD Jeans and S. Rothschild. She has also designed for Toughskins, Route 66, Joe Boxer Swim and Garanimals. Most recently, she has designed baby, girl and boy clothes for Babies “R” Us.

The first garments designed by Leeds and Pyper for DownEast will be on view in the retailer’s collections in early spring 2014.

About DownEast Basics

DownEast Basics ( offers high-end looks on a budget-friendly basement budget for today’s cost-conscious but fashionable consumer. The DownEast Basics clothing line includes smart layering pieces and wardrobe enhancing clothing so you can embrace the classic American look with your own sense of style.

Shop for cute tops, womens sweaters, modest dresses and accessories at

The fast-growing retailer operates nationwide with its Basics line through its online store in more than 52 locations across the West including Utah, Colorado, California, Idaho, Arizona, Washington, Nevada and Wyoming.

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