Toons Get Trendy

Fash­ion brand Hype of­fered a high-end col­lec­tion of items in­spired by SpongeBob SquarePants

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

Fash­ion high on the agenda at Brand Li­cens­ing Europe as an­i­ma­tion-in­spired cou­ture is pay­ing off for li­cen­sors and re­tail­ers of all shapes and sizes. By Karen Yoss­man.

ly saw a rip­ple ef­fect from our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Moschino,” Kingston says.

Sim­i­larly, last year, the Ital­ian fash­ion house col­lab­o­rated with Car­toon Net­work on a Pow­er­puff Girls line that in­cluded $550 sweaters and $450 purses. Six months later, Hot Topic re­leased a sim­i­lar se­lec­tion of prod­ucts fea­tur­ing Blos­som, Bub­bles and But­ter­cup at a frac­tion of the price.

For the de­sign­ers, work­ing with glob­ally rec­og­nized char­ac­ters such as SpongeBob, Looney Toons or Dis­ney Princesses rep­re­sents an op­por­tu­nity to reach new au­di­ences. “These (char­ac­ters) are sort of keys into get­ting an im­me­di­ate re­sponse out of peo­ple be­cause they’re icons, so they’re sort of em­bed­ded in the pub­lic con­scious­ness,” says Bri­tish de­signer Philip Col­bert, whose indie brand Rod­nik has just launched a Mickey Mouse-in­spired col­lec­tion. Mean­while, for be­he­moths such as Dis­ney, it’s an op­por­tu­nity to col­lab­o­rate with a hip, young brand that “can re-en­gage the as­sets with a con­tem­po­rary au­di­ence,” says Col­bert.

And there are other, more prac­ti­cal, rea­sons why li­cens­ing an­i­mated char­ac­ters can be es­pe­cially lu­cra­tive. “A stu­dio can li­cense an an­i­mated char­ac­ter with­out hav­ing to worry about like­ness rights,” says Jeff Trexler, an at­tor­ney and as­so­ciate di­rec­tor at the Fash­ion Law In­sti­tute. “An an­i­mated char­ac­ter also tends not to sum­mon as­so­ci­a­tions out­side the char­ac­ter it­self —ac­tors play mul­ti­ple roles and have their own per­sonal brands.”

But ul­ti­mately, per­haps the most sim­ply rea­son that an­i­ma­tion and fash­ion go so nat­u­rally to­gether is be­cause an­i­ma­tors and de­sign­ers are driven by the same cre­ative im­pulse. “These char­ac­ters also rep­re­sent a fun and a fan­tasy world which in my mind is very much what the spirit of cre­ativ­ity and art is,” says Col­bert. “I think the car­toon-fash­ion tie-up is a quite nat­u­ral, fun, pop kind of vibe.” [

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