Spend enough hours walking through MAGIC, and almost all of the fashion starts to blend together. Even the patterns that resemble the aftermath of Jackson Pollock getting sick on sangria and Skittles.
If you want your product to stand out — really stand out — it helps to follow that old business maxim: Find a need and fill it.
It’s just as true of trucker hats for babies as it is of butt-shaping underpants for men.
Fan of fans
Timothy Cochran always believed in the power of a folding fan. His supervisor, not so much.
“Actually, I worked for a porn company, and my boss at the time told me that fans weren’t masculine,” he says. “So I told him that he was crazy and started a company that is now internationally selling fans.”
Cochran, the CEO and brand manager of Daftboy, markets 150 styles of fans emblazoned with popular sayings from “That’s so fetch” and “Bye Felicia” to the all-purpose “Yasss” and “Meh.” Owners can wield them like a real-world emojis, dishing out their chosen expression with a resounding “THWAPP!”
And those fans have fans, Cochran says. “We actually have a following called Dafties. They are all about it. (On vacation) they’ll bring 20 of them because they need one for each day, for each outfit, for all of that.”
A perfect match
Like most menswear brands, Verse 9 sells a variety of ties and socks. The difference? The company is marketing its tie-and-sock packages that don’t just go together, they’re splashed with the same colorful prints. Basically a simpler, classier version of Garanimals for adults, they’re suitable for any guy who wants to try something different but simply can’t be left to his own devices.
Colombia-based Leonisa has spent the past few decades manufacturing shapewear for women. Its biggest growth market? Shapewear for men. And not just the types of compression garments you would see at the gym.
Some of the company’s best sellers are underpants that will either lift and shape a guy’s glutes or, with the help of removable memory foam pads, give a fella’s backside the appearance of having a little more bounce for the ounce.
Other briefs come with high-waisted stomach shapers to hold in bellies or an optional front pouch that doesn’t provide additional padding, it just takes what’s there and makes it more presentable.
“The dynamics of the category has grown tremendously and changed for everybody,” says Octavio Quintana, vice president of Leonisa’s North American division. “Now it’s not so-called metrosexuals. Now it’s everybody. The millennials. They want to look perfect.”
You’re stuck in a corporate, 9-5 job. How’s your inner street artist supposed to shine through? With Van Heusen’s Keith Haring collab. Bold suits in solid pink and blue are accented with elements of Haring’s iconic works, while ties and dress shirts salute his graffiti- and chalk-outline-inspired style. The collection is one of the most eye-catching looks at a trade show built on them.
There’s a hat for that
Trucker hats. They’re not just for dirtballs anymore.
Kyla Dahrling, founder and CEO of Tiny Trucker Co., was looking for sun protection for her daughter but couldn’t find anything cute, sales director Megan Klepacki says. From that product deficit, a female-owned-and-operated business was born — as was its line of trucker hats for children as young as 6 months. “That’s kind of what sets us apart from a lot of other hat companies,” Klepacki says. “We have that true baby fit.”
The surf-inspired hats feature slogans such as “Summer Lovin’” and the rainbow-infused “Take It Easy.” Other matching lines are designed for various ages and each member of the family. “Our big thing is baby-mama sets,” Klepacki says.
That’s a set for a baby and her mama. Not a set for someone’s baby mama.
There’s surely a different company for that.