Renowned artists such as Vera Neumann and Andy Warhol are re-emerging from the arts scene of the '60s and '70s. Their creative vision continues to inspire marketers and brings an artistic and creative edge to today's retail assortments. Fashion industry veteran Susan Seid brings the iconic "Vera" brand back to retail through new fashion agreements (see "Vintage Vera"). After a series of buyouts, several management mishaps, and Vera's death in 1993, her vast archive of contemporary artwork ended up in a storage facility. Seid, who purchased the collection in 2005, reintroduces the brand through licensing. After securing apparel and accessory licenses, Seid aims to extend the brand into the home, sleepwear, swimwear, handbag, and fragrance categories.
The late Andy Warhol also continues to make his mark on the retail world. The Gershwin Hotel and VH1 teamed up to present "Factory Craze—A Week of Warhol," which debuted in Manhattan last month. Held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Warhol's passing, the event featured a fashion show in which models paraded down the runways in Warhol Factory X Levi's super premium denim. The assortment incorporates the look, feel, and artwork of the "Factory" era and was created to pay homage to the iconography of both the Levi's brand and the avant-garde artist's lifestyle and career.
Warhol and Vera are long remembered for their vision and pursuit of success. Like many of today's artists whose creative vision may be a bit ahead of its time, both artists faced and overcame challenges. This brings to mind the handful of tattoo and graffiti artists of today's generation who finally are gaining ground at retail. Responding to trends more quickly, today's retailers are realizing the potential of the distinctive youth, street, or "alt" culture. Inside, you'll learn about several artists who are announcing licensing agreement and retails programs ("Alternative Art").
The upcoming SURTEX show, which will be held May 20 to 22 at New York City's Jacob Javits Convention Center, will debut the next wave of artists who will make their mark within licensing. Turn to "Trends with a Twist" for Associate Editor Alyson Grala's sneak preview of the trends that will continue to drive the art business. As retail consolidation continues to increase, licensing may offer the key to differentiation.
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Regina Molaro Senior Associate Editor