With a couple of notable exceptions from the video game and automotive realms, the majority of exhibitors at this year’s MAGIC International Convention followed the tried-and-true licensing model of hitching a ride on new screened entertainment.
Armed with a plan to release a new classic monster-based pic each year, Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is hoping to transfer the success of the studio’s monster-themed togs for adults into lines that will appeal to kids. ‘It’s something we’ve been working on for a while,’ says Caroline Foreman, senior manager of apparel for the division. ‘We have always had very strong business for our classic Universal monster movies.’ However, the Consumer Products Group wanted to expand its collection beyond adult collectibles and Halloween promotions, says Foreman.
The new Monsterwear concept features classic Universal monsters such as Creature From the Black Lagoon, the Mummy and Wolfman engaging in extreme sports like surfing and skateboarding. The apparel line features kids T-shirts and sweatshirts by New York-based Freeze, boys and girls underwear by Fruit of the Loom and kids T-shirts and fleece by L.A.’s Giant. The division is still searching out licensees for the fashion coordinates and footwear areas.
Foreman says Universal’s plan was to launch a major push at MAGIC to secure more licensees for the Monsterwear initiative, which she sees as a year-round property. ‘Kids love monsters. We came up with the Monsterwear concept that takes these monsters that everyone knows and puts them in a modern kid-type setting.’
Promos for the Monsterwear products will increase for Halloween 2000, and merchandise is expected to launch in spring 2000 at
Universal’s monster mania will also play out in new licensed apparel for the upcoming sequel to The Mummy, which is slated for a 2001 release, and for a new untitled CGI monster pic that’s set to hit in fall 2000.
The studio hopes to spawn similar apparel licensing fervors for upcoming films like Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. Universal Consumer Products is also on the lookout for a master apparel partner for Rocky and Bullwinkle, which comes out in summer 2000.
In other MAGIC news, Eidos Interactive granted licensing rights to Today’s Trendz for a new line of junior, youth and adult unisex T-shirts based on Tomb Raider star Lara Croft. The shirts launched this fall and are available in game, comic book, video, specialty gift and general merchandise stores.
Games are not the only thing providing the impulse for apparel and accessories at MAGIC. The Jeep brand will appear in spring 2000 as part of a Jeep and Jeep Kids clothing line by New York-based Anywear Apparel, to be carried at Dilliard’s, Nordstrom and several other upscale department stores in the U.S. only. The Jeep Kids brand will be aimed at boys sizes four to seven, while the Jeep brand will be aimed at sizes eight to 18. The clothing is inspired by the ruggedness of the vehicle, with special features such as rubber and metal accessories made from the same materials used in the Jeep vehicle.
New York’s Cakewalk Apparel is also producing innovative girls clothing lines based on the classic film The Wizard of Oz. Targeting girls ages two to 12, Cakewalk has designed two different styles of Wizard of Oz clothing. Inspired by the character of Dorothy, the first line is based on colors like Ruby Red and Yellow Brick Road Yellow. The collection contains details like a check-patterend shirt made up of thousands of ruby slippers. The second line, inspired by Glinda the Good Witch, uses pastel colors and soft fabrics. Launches are set for spring and summer 2000, and the lines are being produced in conjunction with Warner Bros. Consumer Products.