Lauded by hip-hop stars in the US, women’s urban brand Apple Bottoms is now shaking its booty in the UK.
You might have so far managed to escape Flo Rida’s summer hip-hop anthem Low, but the chances are it will catch up with you soon. With its choppy lyrics and hands-in-the-air video the track is annoyingly infectious, which is all the better for US women’s young fashion brand Apple Bottoms.
Low’s chorus is an ode to a dancefloor queen who, with her “Apple Bottom Jeans” and “boots with the fur” had “the whole club lookin’ at her”. The song has already notched up number ones in the US and all over Europe – here in the UK it took the number two position. Flo Rida is not alone in his penchant for Apple Bottoms’ jeans and their derrière-defining properties; others including Twista, Nate Dogg and even Eminem have all mentioned the brand in their lyrics.
It is no coincidence that Apple Bottoms has been name-checked by so many rappers. After all, the brand’s founder is Cornell Haynes Jr, better known as rap star Nelly. The sexy brand secured commercial success in the US after Oprah Winfrey, the high priestess of US daytime TV, included Apple Bottoms Jeans on the Oprah’s Favourite Things segment of the pre-Thanksgiving episode of her show. The episode draws sky-high viewer numbers, all tuning in to find out what’s on Oprah’s must-have pressie list.
Four years have passed since the brand’s US launch and Apple Bottoms hit the ground running in the UK when it was introduced by London distributor Icer Group, which also counts urban brands Akademiks, Live Mechanics and Coogi, as well as young fashion brand Blac Label Premium, among its offering.
“We control the distribution for Apple Bottoms everywhere in the world outside the US and Canada,” says Tony Pessock, director of sales and marketing for Icer. In the US the urban fashion market has developed so much that brands such as Sean John, Fubu, Rocawear and Akademiks are now part of the young fashion mainstream.
Launched at contemporary womenswear show Pure in London last season, the brand picked up 30 orders. “In the US Apple Bottoms is massive but our success at Pure had little to do with the brand; retailers here don’t know the brand. They bought it off the back of the product,” Pessock explains. In the UK the brand targets women’s boutiques with brand adjacencies such as Fornarina and Diesel. Pricing is competitive, with sequin-embellished T-shirts at £10, jeans averaging £22 and outerwear scaling up to £46, with Icer keeping extra stock for in-season top ups.
“Our target consumers know Apple Bottoms because they listen to the music and watch Oprah, but store owners don’t,” says Pessock. “I buy the US range. The last thing I want to do is dumb the brand down for the European market, because consumers know what’s happening in the States and they want that product.”
4: Number of years since the US launch of Apple Bottoms
4: Number of collections by the brand each year
120: Number of styles available per collection