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I Wanna Be…

Jennifer Cattaui
Editor in Chief

Our licensing issue celebrates the emotional connection we have with pop culture icons—the characters, teams, bands, …

Jennifer Cattaui

Editor in Chief

Jennifer Cattaui

Our licensing issue celebrates the emotional connection we have with pop culture icons—the characters, teams, bands, movies, sugar cereals and even radio stations that we love to love. The creators of these items have rented the right to make products with images that are ripe for the retail environment.

Licensing has long been a strategy for storeowners who want to woo the young consumer, or lessen the brunt of economic woes with these “had me at hello” garments. But as we find in our feature “Lived and Loved,” the primary driver of the licensing craze these days may not be the child at all, but rather mom or dad in nostalgic mode. Adept at triggering emotions, these are the types of garments that inspire a Facebook fan to pass on to a friend, and exactly why social networks are poised to become a booming online markteplace, as we discuss in our feature, “Shopping Goes Social.”

There is no disputing the fun of licensed apparel when you flip to our fashion story “We Can Be Heroes.” The kids had a blast romping around Tuckahoe, NY, decked out with images that ran the gamut from Cookie Monster to Devo to NPR. They wore hand-crafted crowns of Crayolas, fished for yellow felt flounders, raced down hills in flouncy skirts and donned bug-eyed goggles beaming with superhero power.

This issue got me thinking about the power of building a brand, and imagining how it feels when that brand tips the scale in the public consciousness. In 1974, could Sanrio ever have forecast the power of its little mouthless kitty? Probably not. Now, some 30 years later, there’s not a day that passes without a new Hello Kitty license announcement. Would the Ramones have envisioned themselves on snaptees and diaper bags while stomping the stage at CBGB? Again, probably not, but alas, the punk band lives on today, hot off the shelf of a kids’ clothing boutique, riding in a price-is-no-object stroller—at last sedated.

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