Licensing Expo -What’s New for 2015
Feisty feathered females, forest dwelling blue creatures, a funky monkey, and super powered girls made appearances in Las Vegas from June 17-19 at the 34th annual Licensing Expo, the largest licensing industry gathering. Character and entertainment brands dominated almost 500 exhibitors there to showcase their up and coming properties for 2015 and beyond.
Many successful brands have been re-packaged, allowing licensed partners to update their product lines and for retail buyers to freshen their kid’s apparel offerings. “We are always excited to learn about new (theatrical) releases planned for the coming years and this show didn’t disappoint us. Successful character brands are keeping up with current trends in the market by using fresh marketing approaches and updated artwork,” says Susan Peia, VP of Licensing at Bentex Group, Inc.
This includes Universal’s Minions, a spin off from Despicable Me, in theaters summer 2015 and Fast and Furious 7, coming April 2015. Sony Pictures will re-introduce the Smurfs next summer and has lined up more than a dozen accessory and apparel partners. Other upcoming spring movies include Nickelodeon’s Sponge Bob. Nickelodeon’s Dora and Friends, a TV spinoff of Dora the Explorer, is aimed at older children. Disney Consumer Products shared their upcoming properties off site. Offerings include Big Hero 6, inspired by the Marvel comic book to be released late 2014. Next spring, a live action version of Cinderella will be in theaters, starring Cate Blanchett and Lily James of Downtown Abby fame. Lion Guard, a new show spawned by the Lion King franchise, will come to life Fall 15 as an animated TV movie and series on Disney Channel and Disney Jr. A raft of licensees from tee shirts to bedspreads is in the works.
From a fashion angle, Nicole Ritchie, founder of House of Harlow 1960, a contemporary lifestyle brand and a keynote speaker at the Expo, discussed her plans for infant/toddler and girls’ apparel, with input from her daughter, the brand’s namesake. Adventure Time, from Cartoon Network brand is keeping the brand fresh by creating a Spring 15 style guide with design concepts for kids ages 6-11 and tweens/teens, inspired by contemporary artists Roy Lichtenstein and Jackson Pollock. For the pre-school set, Saban’s Julius Jr. added sportswear from Freeze and Parigi and Komar Kids for sleepwear.
Other emerging brands include Freemantle and DHX’s Ella the Elephant, airing on Disney Channel and Disney Jr. and Kate and Mim Mim, on air in the UK and Canada. Rovio’s wildly successful Angry Birds has introduced Angry Bird Stella and female friends to star in a new game this fall and a series on Toons TV. Watch for these spirited characters to appear on girl’s tees and sportswear. More girl power will arrive with the re-launch of Cartoon Network’s Powder Puff Girls. The brand was re-introduced as a January 2014 TV special and has a 2016 series in the works.
Click here to see the article in Earnshaw’s Magazine