KD: Made by Dancers Since 1980
Few clothing lines can be traced to two dancers who make the clothing themselves. In 1980, Oakland Ballet dancer David Lee and Tricia Kaye, Ballet Mistress and dancer for the Oakland Ballet, made two pairs of tights that could be folded over at the waist. Both versions resembled thin sweaters for the legs, with one pair of tights slightly thicker than the other. The third design was a thin sweater that landed off the shoulders that they called the “03." They made the pieces in their apartment and sold them backstage between rehearsals. They called their first clothing line “KD dids.”
In 1983, they moved to New York, the dance capital of the world. Their first workspace was an underground studio in lower Manhattan where they made their pieces on hand-flat knitting machines. Leading dancers from around the globe including the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and his dance partner, Gelsey Kirkland, were frequent customers.
Seen as the iconic view of dancewear the designs became popular with fashion stylists and editors and were frequently featured in magazine editorials in Vogue, Harpers, and W. The KD brand become known for its soft sensual approach to active knits.
Today, KD's soft workout wear and thin-sweater knits are made in New York, and worn internationally. KD’s e-commerce site ships to customers in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, North America, South America and more than 30 countries including Brazil, Russia, India and China.