ABOUT THE LINE
Built by Wendy is a New York City based contemporary clothing line founded in 1991 by designer Wendy Mullin. Each season, Mullin infuses clean, classic American style with a mashup of inspiration from pop and alternative culture, music, film, fashion, and literature filtered through her Midwestern upbringing and personal life experiences. These influences reveal themselves subtly; in custom-designed prints and textiles, for example, and more explicitly in Built by Wendy's well-known graphic t-shirts. A collection could be a throwback to 80’s pop or boarding school prep.
Always ahead of trends, Built by Wendy has always packed each collection with wardrobe essentials such as great fitting jeans, the perfect army jacket, gym class sweatshirt, everyday trench, striped boatneck tee; coining the term classic with a twist back in the early aughts.
Whatever the current direction, Built by Wendy always manages to present a fresh take on traditional attire.
With a cult following of musicians, actors, and artists, the intentionally low key brand profile has long been considered a hidden gem to fashion insiders. Fans and friends of the brand include: Lena Dunham, Gillian Jacobs, Sofia Coppola, Zooey Deschanel, Jack Black, Parker Posey, Aziz Ansari, Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Amber Tamblyn, Rashida Jones, Justin Theroux, Josh Hartnett, James Franco, Claire Danes, Natalie Portman, Jason Schwartzmann, and Chan Marshal from Catpower. Some notable friends have even modeled for Built by Wendy – Amy Sedaris, Dolly Wells, David Cross, Robin Tunney, Kathleen Hannah and Will Oldham to name but a few.
Wendy Mullin is one of New York's most established independent fashion designers and the driving force behind the Built by Wendy clothing line.
A native of Chicago, Wendy founded her company while studying at the University of Kansas where she sold her handmade clothing from a laundry line in her front yard. She moved to New York in 1992 to study at FIT. While working part- time at two prominent downtown independent record stores she set up mini Built by Wendy kiosks within each store to sell her collection and guitar straps. She also worked as a costume designer and stylist for music videos by bands such as Sleater Kinney and Pavement, and as freelance designer for Kim Gordon's X-Girl collection as well as Mike D's X-Large. In 1995, she began wholesaling her own Built by Wendy collection and was a founding designer in the Steven Alan showroom.
In 1998, Wendy opened her first flagship retail store on Centre Market Place in the Little Italy/Chinatown neighborhood of New York City. Her successful online shop launched soon after, and in 2005 she expanded with a second retail store in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Shops in Los Angeles and San Francisco followed. The Built by Wendy line has been carried in boutiques and specialty stores throughout the country and around the world. With a hard hit by the recession and starting a family, Wendy took a hiatus from brick and mortar. She launched Built by Wendy Kids in 2013 and did a capsule collection called Soft Rock for 2014. In 2016 Built by Wendy relaunched with a colorful line of cotton basics. Built by Wendy is currently sold exclusively online. Read about our relaunch in the New York Times.
Wendy has collaborated with artists such as Doug Aitken, Marc Swanson, Marcel Dzama, Kahlil Joseph, and Melodie McDaniel; and has worked on various projects for organizations such as Blind Spot, UCB Theater, The Director's Bureau, and 826NYC.
From 2003-2006, she was hired as Creative Director for Wrangler Jeans where she created a premium denim line called Wrangler47. The wildly successful collection of classic Wrangler pieces elevated with a modern fit and style sold out at retailers such as Barney's.
From 2006-2011, Wendy ventured into publishing with the release of her popular Sew U series of four instructional sewing books Sew U, Sew U Homestretch, Sew U Dresses, and Sew U Coats and Jackets (Bulfinch Press; Little, Brown and Co; and Random House). Her expertise was also tapped by Simplicity Pattern Company for whom she developed a line of commercial sewing patterns called Built by You.
Wendy lives and works in Brooklyn.
Click HERE for a visual history of the brand... includes many sweet fashions from 80's to now!