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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.

http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/fashion/72269,CST-FTR-camo26.article


John Ottaviano

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Start Spreading the News...

In the space of just four days, two news organizations ran features highlighting miltary fashion. This one on the left was in the New York Post, one of America's largest papers, touting the hipness of camouflage and military clothing in all of it's various facets. Notice that two Rothco products are prominently featured, our Vintage Blazer and our new Desert Camo Tank. Thanks to Soldiercity for the placement and the copy of the article.

The second article was run by the news agency Reuters that focuses on financial and corporate news. It discusses the relationship between world events and the current military fashion trend. I'm no political analyst, but it is surely more than coincidental that there is a great demand for military fashion at the same time as we are in our most serious conflict since the Vietnam War. Now that I think about, the '60s were a strong period for military clothing as well.

The article by Claudia Parsons speaks about what I call the 'CNN factor' where images appearing frequently on T.V. make them known commodities to the consumer market:
"With the United State engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, images of khaki-clad soldiers appear on television news daily.

"World events often times influence fashion, and that's why we're seeing accents of military," said Sherry Maysonave, an image consultant and author of "Casual Power." "These images have an effect on our psyche."

"Camouflage is huge even in children's and babies' wear, not just adult fashion," she added. "

You can read the whole article here: http://tinyurl.com/mx8l4

Reminds me of the old Talking Head's song, "Life During Wartime" where David Byrne confronts the paranoid early '80s with a song about about going underground. If the times seem a little scary to some people, then the best way to confront it is to be prepared and attack it straight on, outfitted for combat. As I've said in earlier blogs, the Rothco military clothing customer is a bit edgier and tougher than the average person and is looking for clothing to make that same statement. In any case, it's selling for men, women, children and babies. As I type this, an e-mail has just come across my desktop announcing the addition of new Infant Camouflage Crib Caps in Woodland & Baby Pink Camo (see picture). And it's appearing in newspapers all over the country.

You, too, can get that same kind of exposure, especially in less populated areas. Newspapers routinely list e-mail addresses of their correspondents, so look for the address of the style or feature writer for your local paper. You can look in the print edition or on their website. Send them some images of Rothco fashion from our website and let them know how popular they are in your store or just point them to this blog. Guide them towards the latest camo fashion items available in your store, right in their local area. It will be a good story for them and great publicity for your business.

Speaking of baby camo, we've been doing so well selling camouflage fashion clothing for men, women, kids and babies that we've added a new line of girls' camouflage clothing and it's done very nicely. After years of outifitting thousands of kids with smaller versions of our real military clothing, it's fun to be selling such fashionable clothing for girls, especially since I'm the father of three girls myself.

You can see our full line of girl's clothing at www.Rothco.com or go here:
Rothco Girls' Camo Clothing

I'll look for your store in the headlines.

John Ottaviano

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Camouflage in Clubland


Wanna party? Check out the flyer to the left for the MySpace Military Ball at Posh Ultralounge in Garden City, NY. It just happens to be one of the coolest clubs on Long Island, frequented by the young and beautiful saddled with too much disposable income, including some of the hottest players on the division winning New York Mets (rumor has it this is where Mets' catcher Paul Lo Duca got into a bit of hot water).

Interestingly, it combines two of the trends I've been writing about, camouflage clothing and blogging. If you check the fine print, you'll notice that all the young dogs and hotties are encouraged to wear their hottest camouflage outfits. Camouflage as clubwear, what a concept! Who would have thought of such a thing? Well, of course, Rothco would. We've been making sure young women and men look hot in their finest camo for years now and our women's offerings have just EXPLODED!! Our new 2007 catalog features no less than 12 pages of women's clothing and accessories. The hottest item so far is our Pink Tee w/Camo Army Print pictured below. Check out our full offerings at www.Rothco.com. If you don't already have our 2007 catalog, then e-mail us at bdus@rothco.com

If you're already carrying the latest Rothco fashion, why not contact one of the local clubs or promoters in your area about holding their own Miliatary Ball? Some promoters may only ask you to post notices and hand out flyers at the register to co-sponsor an event. You both have the same customers, you should work together to market each other's product. Club kids are great customers for military and camouflage apparel.

Did you also notice that this is a MySpace Military Ball? If you're not aware (and it's hard to not be) MySpace is the #1 social networking and blogging site in the world. After being a hot commodity for the under 30 crowd, it's now becoming a key marketing tool, especially for music and films. People like Somaya Reese have become huge celebrities using just MySpace as a marketing tool. According to DNR, MySpace will be offering a fashion channel next year and you can be sure Rothco will be all over THAT! As I've written before, blogging will be THE communication tool for business. To read more, see my e-zine article here.

Hopefully I'll see you at the Miltary Ball tonight. I'll be the one wearing the Rothco Vintage Paratrooper Fatigues. But I'm sure I won't be the only one.

John Ottaviano

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Camouflage as a Caribbean Costume

Camobloge took an extra day last week so we could report on the camoflauge scene from the biggest party in North America, the West Indian American Day Carnival which attracted 2 million people from all over the United States and the Carribean. Walking back to our car from the parade, my daughters counted 200 out-of-state license plates in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn where our car was parked (many thanks to the Maryland vehicle who was parked so close in front of us I had to 'nudge' him out of our way). This party is much larger even than New Orlean's Mardi Gras (click on the blogpost title to read a recent news report).

While camouflage is all the rage in mainstream America, there are some who have predicted its demise in the Urban market. As the attached pictures show, everyone from young girls to Caribbean pop star Sean Paul were wearing camouflage (he's the one in the aviator sunglasses). While it wasn't much of a surprise to see many of the masses on the parade route wearing military clothing, it was interesting to note that many of the participants in the parade were wearing camouflage as well.

The feedback we are getting from many urban clothing outlets is that some of the usual urban distribution channels have not shown confidence in the military trend for Fall 2006, but the urban customer is still very hot for this product. Fear not, oh urban retailers!! Rothco has excellent inventory in thousands of products for immediate delivery in sizes from 3 months to 8XL, including all those big sizes your urban customer demands. From tees to pants to outerwear, we have everything you will need this fall and winter selling season.

One of the most popular items on the street yesterday was a familar standard, the Camouflage Ranger Vest. With loads of pockets, a large game bag in back and authentic details like shell loops and a collar-hidden hood, this vest works as hard as it looks. Check it out here:

By the way, it's not too soon to plan to come to next year's Carnival. Labor Day is September, 3 2007. Go to http://www.wiadca.org/ for info. You'll notice that several marchers on their home page are wearing camouflage. See you next year.