Tuesday, September 2, 2008

To Bling or Not To Bling, That is the Question

Over the past six months the style of heavily embellishments on shirts has made real inroads into mainstream streetwear. Previously shiny rhinestones and eye catching bling were mostly popular in clothing lines that targeted the Hip Hop scene. As this cross over continues more clothing lines have had to come to terms with bling and decide whether to incorporate heavily embellished designs into their product offerings.

Over the past few months many lines started to add lots of brighter colors to their detailing. Mission Clothing, which we have carried for some time has always been on the forefront of edgy streetwear trends. For the last two years they have been more adventurous then most mainstream Premium Streetwear brands and have been using a lot of foiling to highlight designs and some stone studding. They have gone even brighter on some designs for the coming Spring line. A perfect example of this is their Frida shirt which pays tribute to the artwork style of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo - this shirt even changes color when worn outside, going from beige to blue. A smart clothing designer knows though that not every customer is adventurous enough for such super bright colors so Mission has continued to balance their offerings with other more subtle designs such as the Black Button Front shirt with a Winged Mermaid design. The design has slight touches of silver on the wing tips including small rhinestones but is still subtle in color so that it appeals even to guys who normally would not go for bling at all.

DOCTRINE and Rebel Spirit have both created strong reputations for themselves based on their unique embellishments. Both utilize lots of embroidery, metal studding, stone studding and color in their gorgeous designs. When meeting with the designers of both lines recently we saw styles continuing to become brighter and blingier for this coming Spring. We were pleased to see that both lines continued to include some pieces that had great embellishments yet were not quite as colorful which allows us to carry pieces that appeal to a wide range of customers. DOCTRINE'S Long Live Rock Shirt has lots of Gold and Red braided embroidery and detailing while their Sunset Strip shirt is subtle in color yet strong on design with it's pole dancers being made of Black Leather as it employs a tonal Black on Black look accented with metal studs. Rebel Spirit's Royal Knight Shirt has bright Red Foiled detailing and a bold design while their Royal King is a Black on White design that is strong yet not as colorful.

Jade Howe of Hause of Howe decided long ago that bling was not something that would be seen in the Howe line. Yet his edgy Rocker designs featuring strong graphics and clean lines make Hause of Howe appealing to even the guys that like the bling. We have many customers that purchase Howe items and also purchase pieces from our DOCTRINE, Rebel Spirit and Mission Clothing offerings.

While placing orders and checking out the new items at the recent Christian Audigier / Ed Hardy show in Las Vegas I was actually overwhelmed by the amount of bling and bright colors. I had to remind myself that I was seeing hundreds of items together which equaled sensory overload where the average consumer is likely to have only a few items this bright in their wardrobe at any given time balanced by other more subtle pieces.

So the question for the average consumer remains....to bling or not to bling or perhaps the question really should be "how colorful do you want your bling?". I think that we will continue to see heavy embellishments on clothing designs for a long time to come. I am happy to see though that most clothing designers are offering up choices so that customers can decide whether they want the really bright colors or something more subtle. Pieces can be blinged out in subtle color schemes that have just as much heavy detailing yet will continue to have universal appeal and can stay in the consumers wardrobe for years to come.

No comments: