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LOS ANGELES — Jennifer Lopez’s latest fashion venture fits her to a T.
This story first appeared in the August 10, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Teeology.com, the brainchild of ShoeDazzle founders MJ Eng and Brian Lee and apparel manufacturers Erica Zohar and Jeff Marine, launched this month as an online destination for premium basic T-shirts and curated graphic Ts for men and women.
Lopez, both a principal in the company and a curator, is among several who choose designs from an international community of artists, which are then voted on by site members in order to go into production.
Priced from $20 for basics and $29 for limited-edition printed styles, the line aims to offer premium quality and styling for a fraction of competitors’ prices.
“The idea started when we realized more and more customers have become increasingly spoiled with private sale discounts online,” said Eng. “We know the markups. So rather than building a brand around cost structures, price points and overhanging inventory that you have to liquidate, why not have a lean model and offer good prices right off the bat?”
Eng said he approached Lopez because of her passion for fashion and her obvious fan appeal.
“Anything creative always piques my interest,” said Lopez. “This is a different type of online experience where you get to be involved in which designs get made. And it gives us a beeline to what people really like.”
While Lopez is more well-known for her glamorous red-carpet gowns and flamboyant performance costumes, she also loves her T-shirts.
“I live in T-shirts when I’m not doing the red carpet. I love the sexy, casual feel and the way a good T-shirt makes you feel cool. It’s like you’re not trying too hard,” she said.
While the basics collection, comprising fashion bodies in neutral and seasonal colors, is always available, new graphic T themes will go up two to four times a week with four styles in each theme. Unlike sites such as Threadless.com, the designs up for vote will be more fashion-forward rather than logo-based, with all-over printing, foil treatments and embellishments.
“The one common denominator in fashion is jeans and T-shirts,” said Zohar, who has manufactured private label Ts for Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. “But the pricing was getting out of hand because there are a lot of mouths to feed at a company. We already know the secret sauce, so we eliminate the middle man and go right to the consumer.”
The curation panel includes Lopez, trend forecaster Jane Buckingham, film producer Suzanne Todd, Hudson Jeans’ Peter Kim and Lucky magazine editor Marlien Rentmeester.
Membership registration on the site is free, and standard shipping is $4.95 for a single item or free with two or more items.
While Eng declined to give first-year sales projections, he said he hopes that membership follows the same trajectory as ShoeDazzle, which has grown to 10 million members in three years.