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Hip Hop Home: Haywin, FUBU ink deal

Marvin Lazaro -- Home Textiles Today, April 1, 2002

New York — In a unique example of next-generation licensing, Haywin Textile Products and hip-hop influenced sportswear/lifestyle brand FUBU have come together through a licensing agreement to create a line of bedding and bath products targeting the department store channel.

The Home Collection by FUBU will include a luxury line of shams, pillowcases, bedskirts, sheet sets, comforters, duvets, quilted blankets, chenille throws and decorative pillows. Complementing the bed ensembles will be a bath collection and a beach collection. For the bath, shower curtains, tumblers, and soap dishes will be offered, while the FUBU name will be seen on the beach with a line of beach towels featuring fiber-reactive prints, jacquard wovens and fashion colors.

"We think of ourselves as a lifestyle brand, and we saw there were gaps in the market," Daymond Johns, founder and president of FUBU, told Home Textiles Today. "There really weren't manufacturers out there that were making product we were attracted to. The colors weren't wet enough and rich enough, and there wasn't enough styling."

While the name FUBU may leave many non-apparel executives in corporate America scratching their heads, the brand is well known on the celebrity circuit as well as among teens and young adults in metropolitan areas. Launched in 1992 when Johns and co-founders Alexander Martin, Keith Perrin and Carol Brown decided to make tie-top hats, FUBU (For Us By Us) evolved into a seller of T-shirts, then shoes.

The licensing stable now includes sports/lifestyle apparel for men, women, boys and girls, intimate apparel, watches, a suit, shirt and tie collection, and FUBU Platinum apparel, which features Muhammad Ali as well as a collection of apparel featuring classic cartoon characters from "Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids."

In fall 2001, FUBU launched FUBU Entertainment and released its first album, entitled "The Goodlife," under the FUBU Records umbrella.

Johns said what initially will separate The Home Collection by FUBU will be its target audience and marketing style, in addition to the design of the products.

The line will be given "sexier appeal" and will feature a lot of the current popular colors, sharper colors and some authentic designs as well as different fabrics not currently offered.

"A good portion of the designs would be from elements, materials and coloring from our clothing," Johns said, adding that FUBU will be responsible for most of the design elements and also have final approval.

Johns also said the home line won't be geared toward men or women specifically, although the main age demographic will be from 18 to 35 years old. He also said there will be some items aimed at children and tweeners.

According to Maureen Granger, vp, merchandising for Haywin, the FUBU line will be sourced from a variety of countries overseas.

"It will be very diverse as far as fabrication," said Granger. "We'll go to the best places for the best product."

Although FUBU's main focus to this point has been fashion apparel, Johns sees the extension as natural.

"We go out and buy home furnishings. We already know fabrics and clothing textiles, and we already are purchasers of stuff for the home. It was really a pretty easy decision for us once we put it down on paper," Johns said.

The full launch of the FUBU line is planned for October 2002, but Granger said the seasonal items, some of the FUBU Platinum line and potentially some of the decorative pillows will be previewed during the upcoming April market. The line will appear in both the FUBU showroom located in the Empire State Building and Haywin's showroom at 261 5th Ave. Although price points have not been set, Haywin will be responsible for marketing the products.

Johns said it was too early to tell how much more of the home the FUBU name will cover.

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