LESS IS MORE
REP ROSETTA ANDERSON’S SHOWROOM STUDIO 908 IS THRIVING ON A TRIO OF JUNIOR-PLEASING LINES.
Byline: Kavita Daswani
Poodle-printed pajamas, candy-colored T-shirts that bear the slogans “Love Me” or “Boys Suck”, and glazed, metal-studded jeans: if that sounds like a youthful, jazzy mix for a showroom, then Rosetta Anderson has done her job.
The independent sales representative reckons that after eight years of running her own showroom, she has finally hit her stride.
In that time, she has whittled down a constantly changing coterie of vendors from eight to a manageable three. She also changed the name of her business from The Rag Closet to Studio 908 after moving from the California Mart to suite 908 of the New Mart.
The exclusive West Coast distributor for hip young brands New Breed Girl, Spyk and Sweet Lounge, Anderson takes a hands-on approach, literally. Designers bring her ideas – extreme military, flashy rhinestone cowboy – and she informs them on what retail buyers want.
“I’m in front with the customer and I know what they want,” she said. “So to me, a rep’s responsibility is to keep the designer focused, to work closely with the design team.”
Anderson majored in fashion merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, then worked as a retail buyer and showroom assistant before opening her own business.
Quite a few of Anderson’s lines have won the exposure that’s the stuff of rep’s dreams. Members of girl group Destiny’s Child are often seen in New Breed Girl T-shirts, propelling thousands of young fans to the stores in search of the same look.
A Spyk design appeared in CosmoGirl as the cheaper option to the magazine’s pick for a must-have T-shirt (“Spyk” retails for $23; the fancier version came in at $128).
And Sweet Lounge, whose line extends from sorbet-colored duvets, throws and beaded pillows to pajamas and camisoles — just the thing for the fashion-forward junior-high slumber party circuit — is selling at Urban Outfitters and Alloy.
The three brands look particularly striking in Studio 908’s all-white-and-steel interior. There, buyers rifle through racks displaying grin-provoking T-shirts from New Breed Girl with slogans such as “I didn’t — I like him anyway” and “Better than a boy,” which retail stores like Hot Topic and Wet Seal from $16 to $25.
The designers at Spyk have translated the ongoing athletic-gear trend into pretty looks, including cropped sweat pants with short T-shirts, and screen-print tube tops.
Sweet Lounge, which is something of a niche category in itself, boasts currently hot items such as the “itty-bitty shorts” and handkerchief-sized T-shirts. Most popular are the drawstring cotton or flannel pajama pants in fun prints of poodles, money motifs and flowers.
New Breed Girl has a slightly more aggressive image, and part of its marketing is to sponsor extreme skating and surfing competitions for girls, while Spyk is angled toward a young, trendier customer “who changes her look depending on what Madonna or whoever is wearing at that time,” explained Anderson.
“The Spyk customer wants to rush out and get the latest, hottest item,” she added. “She’s not going to spend $70 on a shirt that won’t be in fashion in three months, or even three weeks.”
What drew Anderson to the lines was that they all seemed like fully functioning vehicles. “Every brand has to have a good designer, a good production manager to get the stuff made, a good salesperson to get it in the right places and the financial resources to get everything done.”