People don’t need a five-iron to wear the line of jeans identical twins Chip and Pepper Foster have launched for fall.
The high-energy minds — and David Spade look-alikes — behind the sassy Golf Punk label and vintage-themed store on Melrose Avenue have joined the indigo blue sea of new denim makers with their women and men’s line, Chip and Pepper, hitting stores now.
Rigid denim with smooth washes and tints reflecting vintage styles is what jeans are all about for the Fosters, who thrive on the look of yesteryear. Even the two-sided hang tags feature an old black-and-white snapshot of the 3 1/2-year-olds with their dad and the saying, “It’s the real thing.”
“It’s hard to compete against the giants — Seven is owned by Koral and Paper [Denim & Cloth] is owned by Mudd. These are giant companies trying to be real, but we’re real,” said Pepper Foster, the 55-second older twin.
The duo hired Ben Tan, who handled jeans production at Juicy Couture, about four months ago. Still, Pepper described the scene at the company’s newly expanded 7,000-square-foot headquarters in Vernon, Calif., as “organized chaos” as unannounced visitors, mostly women, popped in intermittently with hugs and requests for the jeans.
Named for quintessential characters, the seven women’s contemporary styles ranging from ultralow-rise and up include the Sorority Girl, a five-pocket style in ringspun indigo denim with hand-sanded pockets, hems and slimmer fit; the Hasselhoff, a slash-pocket style with a sloppy fit, and Uncle Jesse, a washed-out denim with front slab pockets, back cargo pockets and button waist sans the loops.
The line’s details include rivets etched with “Lake of the Woods,” a cabin they visit in Canada, pockets lined with faded screen prints of a deer in headlights and back pocket zigzag stitching with the letters C and backward P.
With $70 to $75 wholesale prices, they’re courting a high-end consumer. Banking on their shtick and contacts made through the nine-year-old store, they skipped the sales-rep route and embarked on a road show in the last four months that netted them 40 specialty accounts, including Barneys New York, Scoop in New York, Fred Segal Fun in Santa Monica and Blue Bee in Santa Barbara. The Hatch showroom at the New Mart building in Los Angeles now carries the line.The product is only part of the appeal, said retailers.
“The jeans had a creative, inventive vibe with subtle tweaks…but mostly I like them and can see working with them into the future,” said Marty Bebout, co-owner of Blue Bee.
Bebout said it also doesn’t hurt that the owners initially plan to steer clear of major department stores, which the Fosters said is key to staying authentic.
“It’s crazy, “ said Pepper Foster of the growing department store jeans business. “Why are these guys selling to them? All the stores will look alike.”
For now, the Chip and Pepper line, which also includes bratty T-shirts with sayings such as “I’m so bad…I vacation in Detroit” and trucker hats, will focus on smaller retailers and should pull in $3 million in the first year, he said, provided they tighten the distribution policy.
“No more giveaways, we gotta make them pay for it,” Chip Foster said to his brother by day’s end.
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