BBC Style Crusaders: Appaman – Street Cred Wear with the NYC Flair
The Story. One of the most impressive success stories in the kids’ fashion started in Side Polish diner on the East Side, where Harald and Lynn Husum were brainstorming business ideas. Living in post 9/11 NYC they wanted crisis -proof business. Babies and pets made it to the top of the list, - and luckily, babies won. Harald, talented graphic designer from Norway had always been into t-shirts. So, when the idea to create cool, tiny t-shirts based solely on what the parents loved came up, it felt right. Though this sounds quite “mainstream” now, nobody was doing it 7 years ago. Harald’s sense of style, his talent as a graphic designer, his fascination with the NYC cultural explosion and art scene found the perfect medium. Appaman line was born.
Armed with a pack of plain white onesies and an orange dye purchased at Rite Aid, Harald and Lynn made their first batch in their washing machine, ruining it and a few loads of their own clothes. Then they hit the road, knocking on the doors of the local boutiques (these first customers still remain with Appaman). With 10 accounts under their belt they decided to take on a trade show. They knew their numbers and what they needed to break even but they didn’t expect to break even by the trade show first afternoon! Angelina Jolie put the brand on the map, when her son Maddox was spotted wearing Appaman bulldog tee in 2006. Suddenly, overnight this tee became the most sought after commodity; children’s boutiques struggled with the barrage of telephone inquiries and orders; soon throngs of other celebrities followed and Appaman became unstoppable.
Harald Husum and Appaman - friends forever
The Inspiration. Harald is fascinated by the street art of NYC, classic American car culture and the Sopranos — they've done a vintage tracksuit inspired by the show in four colors. Graffiti art and Independent gallery shows provide Harald with endless inspiration sources. Ameripop iconic imagery is filtered through a prism of his unique Scandinavian perspective, creating vibrant and memorable graphics and garments. Living in NYC offers non- stop exposure to the unique cultural mix and endless venues for the creative process. This is how the Artist Capsule Collection was born. Harald met world-famous graffiti artist AVONE (pronounced A-V-1) in Brooklyn where he sells his art on the streets, and fascinated by his work commissioned him to create a boys collection with the distinctive street vibe. The collection was so successful that another crew of NYC graffiti artists SRC were commissioned for the Spring 2011 collection. This collection is selling to vendors faster than hotcakes and we only have to wait until February 2011 to lay our collective hands on these masterpieces. Amazing artists Rachel Salomon and Kayo Aiba contributed to the girls collections.
Style & Design Philosophy. Appaman’s philosophy could be summarized in a few words: classic body with a twist. The mission is simple: to make appealing art on the t- shirt canvas and comfortable clothing that has the ability to withstand the pressure to look chic at any age. It’s important to Appaman as a brand to always offer age appropriate garments with serious attention to detail. A significant portion of the design process is spent on small details that speak to the brand’s discerning customers: beautiful stitching, classic cuts, inspiration drawn from Harald and Lynn’s childhood, and the monkey of course!
Too busy to follow the trends in the beginning, the dynamic duo behind Appaman have become more strategic in their planning. They do consult trend forecasting but use it sparingly. One of the new trends, stretch denim has definitely gotten their creative juices flowing. "Denim is a great medium to work with since it's an iconic classic," Lynn and Harald say. "There are countless directions, in which stretch denim could be taken and developing this category has been a blast." They are not big fans of the bedazzled clothing. Sorry, rhinestones and the rock’ n’ roll tutus, but you are out. The same applies to the baseball and football paraphernalia. Harald didn't grow up playing American sports, so they don’t go there.
Fall/Winter 2010 Collection. In 2010 fall/winter collection Appaman honored the Norwegian Explorer Roald Amundsen with an exclusive Norwegian Explorer's Collection. This Collection, which is available now in stores, includes 10 pieces that draw on the Polar expedition. Two of the featured pieces are a Polar fleece and a Polar down jacket; both have great detail with patches that exhibit photos from the expedition.
Amundsen is a Norwegian hero and his accomplishments of being the first team to reach the South Pole have filled Norwegians with a great sense of pride. Harald has always been fascinated by explorers and having this opportunity to pay tribute to the 100 year anniversary of this expedition was thrilling.
Accommodating the Underserved. The passion for “accommodating the underserved” is an integral part of Appaman identity. Both, Lynn and Harald come from very philanthropic families and they made it their mission to give back as soon as they were able to. Appaman has an impressive charities roster: Baby Buggy, which provides hundreds of children in NYC with needed clothing throughout the year; long-time participation in NY Cares Coat Drive has developed into Appaman Annual Coat Drive; LYFE – program allowing teen parents to continue their education, while their babies are cared for in a safe and nurturing environment; and orphanages in China and Vietnam. “Life is cyclical”, Lynn and Harald say: “and it is important to give back when you have been given so much”.
Appaman’s 4C’s. Appaman is firmly based on 4C’s: communication, collaboration, credit and compassion. The constant communication makes every visitor a part of the Appaman family: introduction of new stuffers; acknowledgment of the employees’ contribution and their awesomeness; giving credits to regional reps, loyal clients, videos director, and photographer. Appaman’s team is truly amazing and its dedication to the brand’s success is legendary. Harald and Lynn are tremendously proud of the healthy environment they’ve managed to create and celebrate it whenever possible. They are well aware that they did not get to this point alone and acknowledging and showing appreciation for that is very important to them.
So, what’s the recipe of Appaman’ tremendous success? Equal parts of communication, collaboration, credit and compassion, infused with the fragrant spices of NYC street art; seasoned with the rich cultural mix and sprinkled with the unique Norwegian perspective. The remarkable taste of this dish is immediately recognizable, powerfully addictive and impossible to recreate. It just leaves us craving for more!
Appaman by numbers:
2. The Polar Jacket - favorite piece in the FW10 collection. Classic down bomber coat with a faux fur hood and Norwegian inspired patches.
3. The winning look, styled by Lynn and Harald using pieces from FW10 collection. The Appaman pieces are made to mix and match. The cargos are a great staple. The thermal hoodies go with everything in any boy’s closet and the DJ cap is a great accessory. The Appaman Jersey is always a best seller in any color and the sweatshirts are versatile and cozy for a great finish.
4. Appaman's favorite footwear. Harald is a passionate shoe aficionado who is on the first name basis with all Zappos CS reps. Converse and PF Flyer are his favorite footwear brands for boys.
We have an amazing giveaway, courtesy Appaman. 3 lucky winners will get Appaman Style TRIO: long sleeve tee (the style depends on the size requested), sleek backpack and hip scarf. Life couldn’t get any better
|Photo Credits: Neil Beckerman|
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