Thongs adorned with Seventies-inspired decals, T-shirts with abstract musical motifs and high-heeled white shoes embellished with safety pins — if there is one thing that unifies designers showing at streetwear show The Edge, it’s that they’re determined to be different.
Vendors said the key to grabbing the attention of finicky fashionistas is pushing the creative envelope. That could mean six-inch skinny heels from one company and shirts from another that feature collars anywhere but in the traditional place.
Here, the lowdown on what to expect:
“I don’t follow a lot of trends. Instead, I create them,” said Tai Park, president of Sync, a Chicago-based maker of men’s and women’s shirts and pants.
For next season, that includes placing shirt collars to one side and using hidden buttons — anything that will give the typical shirt an atypical edge.
“Normal shirts have center buttons, but mine are tilted to one side, perhaps on the side or on the shoulder instead,” said Park. “The look should still be clean and contemporary, but there should be these interesting and different details.”
The shirts, some in stretch fabrics, are offered in summertime colors, including pastel blues and pinks, as well as black and white. Wholesale prices begin at $32.
Ciomi McCabe knew she was onto something when she set up Block Headwear in New York in 2000 — and the company’s growth since then proves it.
Next season’s offerings tap into the sporty looks seen on international runways. “The line is very collegiate, very casual,” said McCabe. That means snug knit caps and others done in herringbone and plaid.
“We’re taking some classic patterns and reworking them,” she said of the caps, which are targeted at hipsters in their late teens and 20s. Fabrics used include cotton and acrylic, while some pieces feature earflaps and badges brandishing the company’s square logo and cubed patterns.
“They have a slight hippie feeling, as well,” said McCabe. “But the idea is to keep them basic, which headgear has to be in order to be worn.” Colors are rarely more adventurous than black, gray, navy, light blue and camel. “A customer is going to buy a hat to go with an outfit, not the other way around,” she said. Wholesale prices range from $9.25 to $24.
At High Fidelity Dis Co. in Philadelphia, the company’s music-inspired line includes printed images of big microphones, elderly harmonica players on fitted T-shirts and tank tops.
“That doesn’t mean it’s only for deejays or if you’re in a band,” said founder Bruce Reinfeld. “They are the kind of Ts that anyone can wear.”
The company’s T-shirts and tanks — which begin wholesaling at $11 — are either 100 percent cotton or a cotton-polyester blend, in an effort to “keep it really clean and tight,” Reinfeld said.
Godzilla and Jesus Christ are the iconic images on which Toronto-based OK47 is basing its new collection. Laura Sheyan, the company’s sales representative, said “images from the past that people can relate to” are integral to the line. Some images, however, including the headless businessman, spray bottles and drunken clowns, might not be so familiar.
“We like to take images and freak them out a little,” said Sheyan, referring to the images of scapes of industrial complexes with smoke rising from above them and supermarket aisles stocked with Pop Art-inspired cans.
“Nothing is plain, and everything is printed,” she said of the tops, which wholesale from $5 to $20.
Futuristic urban streetwear is the credo at Toronto-based JY Stijls, where owner Sonja Denelzen wants her customers to look sexy “without having to show all the parts of their bodies.”
Denelzen said the line’s pieces are “form-fitting and flattering, without being sleazy.” Dresses and pants wholesale from $30 to $50, and jackets $50 to $55.
She said the collection is “more on a streetwear level, with fabrics that are urban, like cotton and nylon.” Colors include several shades of blue — including slate and ocean — with the occasional bright color such as rose thrown in. Capris and jackets are cut lean, while some of the pants are “baggy, but not too baggy,” Denelzen said. Asymmetrical lines are also integral to the line, with hemlines on dresses stretching anywhere from the knee to the ankle.
Fifties-style enamel pins for the hair and sexy thongs are just some of the whimsical fare that Los Angeles-based Haute Stuff will be showing at The Edge.
Low-rise bikinis with Seventies-inspired decals in colors as bold as red or as low key as light blue will also be offered, as will embroidered patchwork hair accessories (French barrettes, headbands) and silver and gold chokers and bangles fashioned into Mod, sleek styles. Wholesale prices range from $7 to $30.
Forget those basic black shoes. For next season, Jeff Yeh, designer and director of Los Angeles-based NYLA Shoes, predicts that white is where it’s at. “It’s going to be big for spring,” said Yeh. “This will be the first year that a lot of people can and will be buying white shoes.”
He described the line as “funkier dress shoes,” where white is mixed with other colors, including black and red. Also, prints are a staple for the company, and this year, Yeh is taking the Chinese dragon and printing it onto footwear. Heels are precariously high — running at six to seven inches, while more basic streetwear versions come in one-half inch and higher.
“But nothing is chunky,” he said of the shoes, which wholesale from $24.50 and up. “Open-toed versions are always a big item, but we’ve noticed more and more people picking out closed-toe slip-ons and mules. Wedges are also doing well in casual collections, as are wooden heels.”