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Which Pole...Southpole!

by Sofroina Timmons

North Pole is overrated; Southpole is what's happening. In the last 20 years, street wear trends have been a thing for the inner city kids. Rappers from the past such as RUN DMC, Whodini, Young MC, YO-YO and let's not forget the high profile hairstyles from Salt-n-Pepa and MC Lyte blew up on the scene representing street wear. Since then, street wear has hit our neighborhoods by storm. Now instead of putting your street fashion together through Osmosis, Southpole has created a unique clothing line just for the hip-hopper in you!

Expect hoodies, printed tees and jeggings paired with trendy handbags and any seasonal shoe wear. I prefer to wear Southpole's neon ruche skinny jean with an OTK (over the knee boot).

Southpole is diverse and carries a wide variety of fashion for adults, young adults, juniors and kids. Southpole has also expanded its lines to infant and toddler apparel, footwear, loungewear, leather accessories, sunglasses and yes handbags too! I love it when a family can go out in style together.

Tell us about the genesis of the brand.
Southpole was founded in 1991 by two brothers, David and Kenny Khym, just as hip-hop was emerging into the mainstream. As this music style started to blow up people wanted to dress like the rappers they admired. Southpole was the first clothing company to take these looks and make them accessible. The Khym's could not keep enough bubble jackets, oversized tees and denim in stock!

Besides advertising in magazines like The Source and XXL, how does Southpole bring awareness to its collection?
Social networking has been huge for us over the past few months. Our Facebook page has grown tremendously over the past year. We do giveaways and our fans really seem to enjoy them! We have also conducted several campaigns on Brickfish, including a model contest, which turned out great results.

Tell us one thing that no one knows about the brand.
Some people are surprised to hear that Southpole is the 5th largest men's denim brand in the country!

What were the inspirations for fall 2010?
Fall 2010 is going to be huge for men. We have a great collegiate look - - varsity jackets, preppy cardigans and easy sweaters. The collection features standard Southpole pieces - - loose fit denim, button down shirts, but slightly reworked. The fall collection features more tailored silhouettes and details such as Lurex stitching and utility hardware. We are introducing our Slim Straight 8180 fit...a true testament to the changing fits in street wear.

Our fall juniors' collection is all about jeggings! They have been tremendously successful so far and we have been playing with washes and treatments...distressed details, color washes and prints - - plaids and even lace! Military-inspired pieces have also been a huge statement for us this season - - we have a pair of ruche skinny cargos that are unbelievable. Our juniors' outerwear is all about the biker jacket...fitted cuts, cropped length, and details like studs and perforation. Southpole graphic tees continue to be very popular and we also have a very cute range of knits in fun colors like berries and jades.

What do you think are the biggest trends right now?
For guys, utility is definitely huge. We love the work wear influence in menswear: a lot of our tops and even pants feature grommets, loops, and pockets. These details add a fun edge to our men's line. Street wear is also seeing a huge change on the level of cut. Our men's fits are definitely more streamlined! We have just introduced our 8180 Slim Straight denim fit for men…a departure from some of our more loose-fitting alternatives.

Do you feel the term urban can pigeonhole a brand and do you prefer the term street wear?
The term "urban '' does pigeonhole a brand. Street wear is a more accurate description of Southpole, because we do have an edge, but still cater to a variety of customers. People don't necessarily realize that we produce a huge collection each season, with great fashion-forward and trend-driven pieces. However, we are not going to hate on our so-called "urban '' customer. Urban for us means having a strong sense of personal style and working with what you've got. We love it. We think of it as a positive, but it is often used as a euphemism for being low-quality or off-trend. That is simply not the case.

Where can Southpole be purchased?
Southpole is available at national retailers such as JCPenney and Sears and in regional stores such as Dr. Jay's and Jimmy Jazz in New York. We are also available online through Amazon and Eastbay.

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