NEW YORK — Live Mechanics has found a new home under the umbrella of Jack Saadia’s Fashion Exchange LLC, a New York City–based company that also owns Fried Denim and Crest Jeans. Live Mechanics split from its former licensee, Check Group LLC, in October, after nearly two years of partnership.
“My vision and dream for Live Mechanics was not in tune with Check Group’s vision and dream,” said Osa Odiase, who founded the streetwear label in 2000. “Now I can dictate the pace of the brand and make sure it is what I want it to be.”
In recent seasons, Live Mechanics has exploded at streetwear retailers as an alternative to the mainstay hip-hop apparel brands that have lost the young man’s attention. With its uplifting messages and trend-right street aesthetic, the brand has made fans of celebrities and average teens alike.
But with that rapid growth, explained Odiase, has come compromise of the brand, thanks to a ballooning distribution. As a result, Live Mechanics’ first order of business under Fashion Exchange will be to rein in its retail account base, which includes more than 250 stores in the U.S. Odiase plans to significantly pull back on Live Mechanics’ department store allocation and reestablish the brand at specialty boutiques like Up Against The Wall and Vinnie’s Styles in Brooklyn—retailers that signed on with Live Mechanics in its early years.
“Department stores haven’t represented the line very well,” explained Odiase. “Merchandisers would ask us to redesign the line, like make a T-shirt to match a pair of jeans. We were making stuff that wasn’t from the heart.”
Odiase believes that his new licensing partnership with Saadia, called Cornerstone LLC, will enable him greater creative control over his product. Live Mechanics’ fall ’08 line—the first to be produced by Fashion Exchange—will bear marks of a more upscale product, including “heavily designed” fashion pieces, at correspondingly upscale prices.
(The label’s spring ’08 line, which was sold sparingly in anticipation of Live Mechanics’ Check Group breakup, will be produced by Odiase and, he said, “shipped on time.”)
In addition, Fashion Exchange is encouraging Odiase to explore additional categories for Live Mechanics, including a women’s wear counterpart, accessories, footwear and limited-edition runs for Live Mechanics’ men’s line. Odiase is wasting little time taking advantage of his new owner’s many manufacturing partners and will launch belts, caps and wristwatches at MAGIC in February. The company will also debut a capsule women’s collection at the show, called Lively by Live Mechanics.
Those categories, along with international expansion, will enable the brand to make up for lost department store sales, said Odiase. And in accordance with Economics 101, as Live Mechanics’ supply decreases, demand should increase. “We’ve created a hunger in the market for Live Mechanics,” explained Odiase, himself a trained economist. “It’s a very strategic growth plan.”
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
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