Downtown Locker Room, or DTLR, is bolstering its relationship with the urban customer through its first collaboration with a musical act.

This story first appeared in the December 8, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Last month, hip-hop duo Clipse created the “I’m Good” T-shirt exclusively for the 68-unit Baltimore-based retailer. “I’m Good” is the title of the artists’ first single from their upcoming album, “Til the Casket Drops,” which will be released Tuesday. It features Pharrell Williams, who was executive producer of the album. The T-shirt hit stores along with a Clipse custom mixtape, “The Best of the Clipse,” mixed by DJ Jay Claxton and DJ QuickSilva.

Shawn Caesar, president of Unruly Records, DTLR’s marketing and entertainment division, said the shirt, which sells for $24.99, has sold 255 units so far, exceeding expectations, and is expected to get another boost in business when the album comes out this week. The shirts are doing best in Baltimore and Virginia.

Caesar said this is not the first time DTLR has been approached about collaborating with a musical act, but until now “we’ve declined the other offers. But Sony [parent of Clipse’s record label, Columbia Records] took the time to sit with us, listen to our concerns and was very accommodating. We met the artists, got design input and quality assurances. All members joined forces to create a product the urban fashion customer would enjoy.”

Anthony Ellis, vice president of marketing for Sony Music, added: “We wanted to create a partnership with a lifestyle retailer that directly struck a chord with Clipse’s core fan base in an innovative way. T-shirts are a staple of the urban fashion lifestyle, so what better way to connect with fans than through this?” As a part of the collaboration, DTLR will sponsor visits by Clipse to Boys & Girls Clubs in DTLR markets as well as a promotional retail tour. Fans can purchase the mixtape and CD (after Tuesday’s release) in each market during an exclusive meet-and-greet at DTLR stores through this month.

Caesar said the company is open to adding more items from Clipse in the future. “There’s a lot more we can do with this,” he said. “We have to stay in front of our consumers and offer them something different.”

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