JUNIOR BEAT

GIRLS RULE TIME: Girls Rule is gearing up for its 14th runway show, to be held Feb. 12 in the tents at Bryant Park during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.
The biannual show highlights up-and-coming firms specializing in the youth market. This year’s edition will showcase fall lines from Chicks Rule, Dollhouse, Guest List Wear, Rusty, Stephen Hardy for Squeeze and Planet Yumthing, the “do-it-yourself” apparel and lifestyle concept from show co-organizer Darren Greenblatt and his design partner, Ela Jaynes.
Hello Kitty, the cat character icon whose image is now on a wide variety of products, will provide accessories for the show, and Stephen Hardy has designed a denim outfit to be worn by a model dressed as the Hello Kitty character.
Pink, the musician who recently won the Billboard award for best new artist, will be featured on the runway, and the audience is expected to include Tracey Ullman, who is taping a special on shopping for VH-1. The Girls Rule show usually features a young star — recent celebrities who have participated in the show include singer Mandy Moore and actress Elizabeth Moss.
The sponsor for this edition are Teen magazine, Vans and Paul Mitchell Hair Products.
Greenblatt, who founded the show with partner Oliver Dow in 1994, also recently filmed a pilot television show around his Planet Yumthing concept for the Fox Family channel.
Other streetwear and youth companies showing at the tents this year include Ecko Red, a division of Ecko Unlimited and Private Circle, a young contemporary firm making its debut at 7th on Sixth.

BLUR LAUNCH: Blur has come into view. The Los Angeles-based junior label made its debut in New York during January market week featuring a variety of tops, including novelty-dyed knits and screen prints, bamboo-dyed looks and rock ‘n’ roll-inspired styles. The line wholesales for $6 to $16.
Blur is backed by Double Fault, a Los Angeles-based company that primarily produces dresses and junior apparel. The company is targeting department and specialty stores, said Felicia Arlin, the designer and merchandiser for the line.

BLANC ADD: Melissa Menard has joined Blanc Noir as vice president of sales and merchandising. She will be based in the company’s showroom at 1466 Broadway in New York.
Menard was most recently national sales manager at Baby Phat, and has also held executive positions at Liz Claiborne and Brooks Brothers.

NEW DIVISION: Topsville, a New York-based children’s apparel firm, recently launched a division called Smitten Kitten that targets the tween market.
The offerings will consist of dresses, related sportswear and separates, in sizes 4 to 16, and is slated to hit stores in fall. The line includes novelty fabrics and features styles such as shirtdresses, screen-printed T-shirts and rib knits, said Mark Pashkoff, who is heading sales for the division. Wholesale prices are about $8 to $15. The company is targeting department store distribution.
The company has brought on Pashkoff and Louis Eastlund to head the division. Pashkoff was formerly division head at Periscope Sportswear, and Eastlund, who is leading the merchandise and design team, was formerly design director at Anxiety.
“The teen market is very hot right now and not everyone is doing it,” Pashkoff said. “We are trying to get into it early.”

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