WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — If music stars can wear their hearts on their sleeves, why not the rest of us?
Hanna Schmieder, president of Lyric Culture, a new jeans and sportswear line with the lyrics of classic rock songs screen-printed on the fabric, aims to answer that question. The collection is set to make its debut in the spring.
"Music is a universal language, and lyrics are a lifestyle," said Schmieder, whose album, "Wound & Hypnotized," is also due out in the spring.
Schmieder has been writing song lyrics on her jeans for years. She never considered going into the fashion business until her producer, Jack Douglas, saw her wearing a pair of jeans she had emblazoned with the words to Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry." He spoke about the concept with fashionable rocker friends such as Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, who encouraged Schmieder to start the line.
To secure the rights to songs by The Beatles, America and David Bowie, among others whose lyrics she admires, Schmieder acted as an artist first and a businesswoman second. "I approached the record labels as a musician wanting to do something special on a premium level, not another merchandiser looking to make a buck off a concert T-shirt," she said.
The result is a line of embellished jeans, T-shirts, denim and leather jackets, shorts, skirts and belts that will retail between $80 and $800. Jewelry and bags, designed by an in-house team of 10, are also in the works. Schmieder plans to launch the line in specialty retailers such as Fred Segal, Scoop and H Lorenzo, as well as Saks Fifth Avenue, and then branch out into other major department stores.
"Due to our significant licenses and truly innovative product, we've been receiving an incredible amount of interest in our line. We project moving between 40 and 50,000 units in our first year, with significant growth in our second and third years," said Ronny J. Halperin, chief executive officer.
The product landed in the spotlight when Brooke Burke wore a leather skirt and bustier decorated with The Beatles' "Let It Be" on an August episode of CBS TV's "Rock Star Supernova," and Kelly Clarkson sported an "American Pie" T-shirt to sing the national anthem at the opening of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at the California Speedway in Fontana in September.The fine-gauge T-shirts sport artsy graphics that incorporate words and several of them also are printed on the inside.
Entering the competitive premium denim market without design experience was a challenge. "I had a little advantage because I am the target customer for my jeans," she said.
During the research and development process, Schmieder and her girlfriends — actresses, models and musicians — tried on their jeans alongside the competition to ensure a proper fit. She then screen-printed lyrics down the sides, and embellished some with Swarovski crystals, satin ribbon or snakeskin.
Schmieder, whose father was a violinist and conductor and whose mother was a music festival producer, grew up around violin masters such as Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin and Jascha Heifetz and spent her childhood performing in operettas and musicals. Still, she was reluctant to get into the music business.
"It's not a kind business ... So much is marketing, so I decided to learn that side," she said. Her years as a public relations and marketing executive taught her to find alternative revenue streams for creativity, which has come full circle in Lyric Culture.
She encourages musicians to drop by her Sunset Strip headquarters, a house blocks from clubs such as The Viper Room and The Roxy, to participate in the design process. The band America recently handwrote the lyrics to "Horse With No Name," which were later printed onto a jacket and skirt. Schmieder sees it as the ultimate melding of art and fashion: "Artists collaborate and they get a royalty from every unit, so everybody wins."
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast