WEBCAM TO CATWALK: Aiming to reach the fickle youth market, tattoo brand Ed Hardy, based in Los Angeles, is marrying the popularity of reality TV shows such as “Project Runway” and “America’s Next Top Model” with the power of the Internet in a five-week Web contest dubbed “The Catwalk.”

In partnership with Los Angeles tech company LiveDigital, Ed Hardy is kicking off a model search today with a nine-day open call during which aspiring catwalkers will submit 60-second videos describing their backgrounds and their best and worst physical features. The contest is open to LiveDigital users living in the U.S. who are at least 18 years old. LiveDigital users can visit and vote off their least favorite contestants.

The roster eventually will be whittled down to three candidates, who each upload an infomercial for Ed Hardy, design an outfit and explain the concept behind the brand. Picked by the LiveDigital community, the winner, male or female, will strut their stuff in a Sept. 3 fashion show in Las Vegas and could be considered for a future Ed Hardy ad campaign.

“It’s not just about looks necessarily in this competition,” said Sumant Sridharan, director of product management at LiveDigital, which had two million unique visitors in June.

It’s also about clothes. All entrants will receive a 20 percent discount on purchases made on the Ed Hardy Web site. The Ed Hardy model should be “fun and bright and [have] a lot of energy,” said Maya Krispin, Ed Hardy’s marketing manager, adding: “We also like to give people chances that are not necessarily agency models because we’re an everybody brand.”
Khanh T.L. Tran

FIT TO A TEE: Los Angeles-based 2 Love Inc., in partnership with Wish Licensing of Burbank, is producing its 2 Love junior T-shirt line as well as new tween and baby lines, priced at $12 to $24 wholesale, that will launch at Nordstrom in October and in other stores by November and in spring 2007.

The company, a licensee for retro cartoon characters Curious George, Babar and Rocky & Bullwinkle, is known for collaborating with celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Mischa Barton and Sharon Osbourne to design Ts for which a portion of proceeds goes to charities. Going forward, the company plans to focus on younger celebs like Kristin Cavallari of “Laguna Beach.”

This story first appeared in the July 12, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Based on initial excitement from our retailers, we believe this will be a very strong brand for us,” said Wish’s vice president of sales and licensing, Joel Barnett. Privately held 2 Love Inc. was previously owned by MS Apparel, a $20 million company that manufactures the contemporary lines Midi and Wednesday, as well as private label for Bebe, Anthropologie, Arden B. and Guess. Kristi Taylor Schwartz, 2 Love’s founder, is also a co-partner with Mandy Moore in Mblem LLC, which produces the contemporary T-shirt line Mblem by Mandy Moore.
Marcy Medina

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