Friday, September 29, 2006

A Cut Above the Rest...

One of our sales reps, a young gun named Mike Schnorr, showed me this picture from King, a high-tech urban magazine. They picture a pair of fatigues made by Antik Denim, a high-end jeans company. With some beautiful and elaborate Japanese-inspired embroidery, they sell for $3000!!! They have sold 2 pairs so far, both to singer Sean Paul (who, not coincidentally I pictured in an earlier blog from Tuesday, September 05, 2006, Camouflage as a Caribbean Costume).

Now look at the picture below it. Look familiar? That's right, they're the same exact pair of pants (thanks to our Graphic Artist, Chuck Lupo for the picture). Antik Denim has turned our $39.99 retail pants into something that costs more than a 1997 Honda Accord. Does it bother us? Of course not! In fact, we're flattered.

What does this mean to our dealers and consumers? It means that they're getting one helluva deal on a great pair of military fatigues. Antik Denim is NOT going to put $2950 worth of embroidery on just any pair of pants. After all, these aren't just clothes, they're a work of art!

Speaking of art, there was a great article in the Chicago Sun-Times last week about the latest military fashion trends. It quotes Sandra Michaels Adams, who teaches clothing history and the role of dress in society at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She says some very interesting things like, "Camouflage has clearly become part of the 20th and 21st century fashion vocabulary," she says. "We selectively and collectively use these elements in new ways. They go out of the closet; they go back in. I do see them wearing military-style jackets -- olive drab, khaki. We're seeing a return to these colors. "

Later in the article, Roy Behrens, (no relation to Rothco buyer Diane Behrens) author of False Colors: Art, Design and Modern Camouflage says of the camouflage fashion trend, "it's really been going on for a long time but it's built up slowly and there seems to be a crescendo right now." Now hearing about camo clothing from authors and educators is one thing, but check out what Laura McDowell, fashion spokeswoman for T.J. Maxx says about camo this fall, "it's a huge trend for kids. Boys love the baggy look. What's different this year is that we're seeing it in things other than pants and shorts. It's in bookbags, backpacks and workout wear. Younger girls are wearing camo Ts with pink and blue backgrounds, and McDowell says that older women often shop T.J. Maxx's junior department for these trendy looks."

Hmmm, camo and pink combinations for girls.... Who would have thought of that? Well, you know who. There's a picture on the right of our hottest tee for girls and women this season, our pink tee with Camo Army print.

There's a link below for the entire Chicago Sun-Times article, check it out, it's an interesting read. By the way, you'll note that they quote an "Army Navy retailer" in the article. This is the retail location for one of the suppliers in our industry. Unlike that supplier, Rothco doesn't do retail. We don't compete with our partners, we support them. And then write to our partners in our blog.,CST-FTR-camo26.article

John Ottaviano