What’s the word on the street? Well, designers are targeting tweens, lowering prices and seeking new ways to market themselves.
When Mike Mohney, the general manager of Lower Manhattan nightclub CBGB, saw an ad for Jaguar cars that featured a tattoo-covered, black leather-clad punk rocker, he realized society has changed significantly since the venue’s early days 30 years ago, when it hosted the likes of the Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie. "It was kind of weird to see punk rock being used as a marketing tool," he said.
Companies like CBGB, which is launching at The Edge a wholesale T-shirt line, and Tripp NYC, which has a clothing line inspired by its Lower East Side boutique Trash & Vaudeville, said a renewed interest in punk rock has given the streetwear and urbanwear markets a boost. Like all clothing manufacturers, they still have to employ savvy business strategies, such as shifting their demographic mix or livening up their marketing efforts.
SMELLS LIKE TWEEN SPIRIT: Tweens are discovering the cool looks donned during the Seventies by bands like the Ramones, and are bringing in a steady stream of new orders for streetwear companies that offer authentic looks. "We’ve definitely noticed there’s a 12- to 15-year-old market that seems to be really growing," said Ray Goodman, owner of Tripp NYC. "Kids are definitely growing up quicker and they’re starting to express themselves with what they wear at an early age." In response to this trend, Tripp NYC has started offering size 1 and XS to fit younger bodies.
And instead of Britney Spears, young women are taking fashion cues from stars like anti-chic rocker Avril Lavigne. Added Goodman, "[Lavigne] is also almost the opposite of Britney Spears, with more of a street type of look."
Goodman was recently posed with a challenge from his 12-year-old son: make some cool "bondage pants" loose enough to fit in with the skater crowd. Goodman and his designer wife, Daang Goodman, came through. The denim pants were a hit and now they account for about 50 percent of the company’s sales. The pants, which feature removable straps and silver grommets, wholesale for about $30. The lesson? It pays to listen to kids under 15 — a growing segment of the streetwear and urbanwear markets, Goodman said.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT: Many specialty stores are responding to tough times by cutting back on orders, observed Roberta Aley, owner of Newport Beach, Calif.-based vendor Punk Kitty. To compensate for the decline in orders, Punk Kitty is expanding its price point range in order to reel in customers who can’t resist the lure of trendy affordably priced items, usually accessories. At Punk Kitty, for example, small vinyl purses — which wholesale for $10 and are available at Hot Topic — are popular with buyers. "A lot of the girls are still shopping, but they don’t have a lot of money because of the economy," Aley said.
And on the East Coast, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Uzi is thankful to songstress Lavigne for making leather wrist cuffs popular. Uzi offers the edgy accessory for $4.50 wholesale per pair. "We’ve been able to move thousands of them because our price points are extremely low," said designer and owner Mari Gustafson.
SAVVY MARKETING: Creative marketing tactics are being employed by several firms to generate buzz about their lines and to support brand identity. Philadelphia-based G Mart, for example, cross-markets its Sailor Jerry Clothing line with Sailor Jerry rum. The rum and T-shirts are decorated with vintage tattoo designs created by Sailor Jerry, an artist who worked in Chinatown in San Francisco during the Twenties. G Mart will be pouring Sailor Jerry rum — and promoting its clothing lines — during a cocktail party Feb. 19 at the Peppermill Inn, a kitschy nightclub in Las Vegas. "We put marketing first," said G Mart owner Steven Grasse. "What’s the point of designing a line if no one has ever heard of it?"
CBGB will draw attention to its rock ’n’ roll T-shirt line at The Edge by broadcasting concert footage of the Ramones on a DVD player at its booth. At press time, CBGB was also looking into lining up a musical guest appearance. Once a gritty, Lower East Side hole-in-the-wall, CBGB now is courting buyers from retail giants such as Bloomingdale’s and Urban Outfitters, but is still trying to stay true to its roots. "The whole scene is kind of being rejuvenated," Mohney said. "We want anybody who loves music and loves the underground scene as much as we do."
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye