NEW YORK — Does the world need another brand of hip-hop apparel?
Put that question to David Mays, chief executive officer and co-founder of The Source Enterprises Inc., and the word up is a resounding yes. That is, if the styles are coming from a group that’s an integral part of hip-hop culture. Naturally, Mays said The Source fits that bill.
Indeed, The Source, a 15-year-old title that tags itself as “The Magazine of Hip-Hop Music, Culture and Politics,” is banking on what it believes is its aura of authenticity among hip-hop youths — and the relatively high price of many hip-hop lines currently on offer — to make a success of The Source apparel for juniors, young men and children.
The fashion launch, planned for next spring, is aimed at midtier department and specialty stores, such as J.C. Penney, Sears, Mervyn’s and Modells, with retail prices ranging from $20 for tops to $65 for sweatsuits. The idea is to undercut the raft of existing hip-hop labels, like Sean Jean, Phat Farm, Eve’s Fetish and Eminem’s upcoming Shady and sell The Source apparel in more moderately priced stores than the labels that have preceded it.
The apparel collection, sourced in China, comprises casual sportswear, activewear, loungewear, underwear, outerwear, accessories and hats.
The magazine’s brand extension into hip-hop fashion is just one of the planks of The Source’s platform to build a media-based entertainment and merchandise empire on a business model similar to the one that once was so successful for Martha Stewart. Also in the offing, Mays revealed Friday, are:
A range of The Source DVDs, slated to bow in November.
The expansion of a group of 40 radio stations currently carrying content from The Source to between 100 and 200 stations, during the next six-to-nine months.
The development of partnerships between cable TV channels and The Source whereby the TV channels carry daily and weekly programming provided by the magazine.
Also bringing exposure to the media brand’s franchise is “The Source Hip-Hop Music Awards,” scheduled to be taped Oct. 13 in South Beach and to air Nov. 11 at 8:00 p.m. on BET.The Source does intend to stray from its proletarian premise, however. It has plans to offer a group of items, like T-shirts and hoodies, billed as Source Authentics, with retail tags of about $250. Those items will include an Authentic Record Label series that pays homage to some of the genre’s early successes, such as the Sugar Hill Gang and Run DMC, and a Fallen Legend series that features those who have passed on, like Jam Master Jay and Notorious BIG. Information about the careers of these artists will be carried on the apparel’s hang tags.
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