CHICAGO — Amid teams of screaming tweens and teens, Fall Out Boy bassist and clothing designer Pete Wentz unveiled his first Clandestine Industries storefront in his hometown here on Saturday.
Wentz, who grew up in the North Shore suburb of Wilmette, said the Windy City was a natural choice for the 450-square-foot store. The shop carries his line of unisex T-shirts and hoodies, limited edition Nike athletic shoes with Clandestine's bat logo, as well as items reminiscent of Wentz's youth, including Count Chocula and Franken Berry cereal figures, a Ms. Pac-Man arcade game and a minifridge filled with cans of Orange and Grape Crush.
That's because fans seem to want a piece of Wentz, be it his clothing or a can of Crush, so much so that the rocker, who is linked with singer Ashlee Simpson, sets the trends for both his male and female fans.
"If he doesn't wear an item, it doesn't do well," said Rebecca Cairns, director of operations for Clandestine Industries, adding female fans don't always want different colors or more feminine pieces. "They didn't want the girls' version," Cairns said. "They want what Pete's wearing. I know it sounds weird, but he is setting the whole style trend on his own."
In turn, selections at the store include a white T-shirt with a butler drinking a martini with smaller, slimmer-cut styles for girls, retailing for $30, a similarly-sized kelly green and white "Team Warhol" jersey for $35, and some limited edition shirts available only in-store, such as a kelly green T-shirt stating "They're dropping like..." with a picture of a fly on the back for $50.
Overall, price points range from $20 for a Clandestine logo necklace to a $300 pair of limited edition purple and black Nikes. Clothing ranges from $30 T-shirts to a $95 turquoise, pink and yellow hoodie with pictures of jets, diamond rings and yachts with "Every Lil' Thing Your Heart Desires" embroidered on the hood. The guy's version in royal blue sold out, Cairns noted.
On this day, Wentz wore a white T-shirt from his line with the repetitive words "Live, Eat, Sleep, Party, Die" forming the shirt's overall pattern. "I don't wear the brand all the time, and I don't force the brand on my friends," said Wentz, who claims he was a Nautica shirt-wearing nerd in high school.But now Wentz, who recently designed a collection for DKNY Jeans, is serious about his fashion. "I come up with every idea," he said, adding he occasionally produces rough sketches, "and by rough sketch, I mean stick figures."
Wentz first started selling clothing online under the name Clandestine Industries in 2005. As sales doubled, discussion about opening a store began. Although Wentz said he had opportunities to launch locations in Los Angeles and London, he chose Newport Avenue in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood where the store is just east of Clark Street, close to both Wrigley Field and the popular concert venue Metro, often frequented by Wentz.
"Drunken Cubs fans may not find it," he said of the store, "but people going to the Metro will."
No plans are in the works for future locations. "We're rolling out slow," he said. "We don't want to become Planet Hollywood."
When asked if Wentz has plans to introduce a fragrance, he joked, "We're not quite there yet. We're working on getting my pheromones under control."
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