Fashion, goods unveiled at Sundance swag lounges

Danish skincare guru Ole Henriksen asked me what I thought of my first Sundance Film Festival experience.

“It’s like the Tribeca Film Festival and New York Fashion Week going on at the same time,” I replied, causing him to laugh in agreement.

Sneakers by AK Anne Klein Sport (top) and fluffy white boots by Tokidoki for Onitsuka Tiger (above) were unveiled during the Sundance Film Festival. Both will hit stores this spring.
photos by Yuan-Kwan Chan

Our conversation took place at the Hollywood Life House, one of the many temporary lounges and clubs dotting – and dominating – Main Street in Park City, Utah, the hub of Sundance activity.

“It turns into L.A.,” an employee at Roots on 408 Main St. said on the Festival’s first day as establishments like Main Street Pizza & Noodle slowly transformed into “The Film Lounge Media Center.”

Indeed, the scene puts L.A. Fashion Week to shame as Hollywood – and New York, and even Fort Wayne, Ind. – descends upon Park City during the first half of the Festival in what has become an annual tradition of unofficial, non-Sundance-affiliated venues providing a sense of exclusivity amongst an independent film-loving crowd. This is the event during which companies want to promote their new products for 2008, ranging from apparel to electronics to footwear. These same companies will gladly rent out shops and restaurants which welcome celebrities during the first half of the Festival for more than a short respite from the cold.

Some film purists scoff at the marketing blitz while others embrace the chaos. No matter where opinions reside, the suites create buzz in their own right. Here is a look at some of the more interesting goods in store for 2008, some currently available and others due to hit shelves this spring:

Accessories: Dillon Rogers specializes in leather bracelets, belts, key chains and even dog collars. A representative for the brand says that one potential customer actually asked him whether a dog collar that cheekily read “BITCH” was for a human or a canine. Perhaps it could be either, as Dillon Rogers encourages wearers to customize their own accessories with personal messages, colors, accents and so on. You can design your wares at the company’s Web site at

Body cleanser: The product is called Boob Lube and the company’s Web site domain is, but it’s not what you think. Founder Julia Fikse wanted to find a creative way to remind women about the dangers of breast cancer and to regularly undergo self-check exams. The labels on the Boob Lube soap, available in both liquid ($14.99) and bar ($19.99 for a 3-pack) versions, include exam instructions and monthly calendar checklists serving as reminders to administer said exams.

Boots: ASICS carries the very hip Japanese sports shoe brand Onitsuka Tiger. Simone Legno is the Italian artist behind the Japan-inspired label Tokidoki featuring cartoon images such as a smiling milk box playing soccer and an angel listening to an iPod. It seems inevitable, then, that the two sides would collaborate on a very cool pair of boots scheduled to hit stores this spring.

Display pieces: The classic doe-eyed children featured in the Precious Moments figurines have been around since the ‘70s, but the collectibles hit Sundance for just the first time this year. Creator Sam Butcher’s work is an extension of his deep Christian beliefs, and the heartwarming scenes depicted in his drawings come to life in the company’s products. Several winter-themed items were on display at the Fred Segal Beauty Lounge, most notably a snow globe doubling as a music box playing “Deck the Halls” ($25) and a figurine of a little pigtailed girl tying a scarf around a snowman while her tiny kitten looks on (“The Warmth of Christmas Comes from the Heart,” $55). Christmas may have already passed, but these items will embellish any shelf year-round. For more information, go to

Facial cleanser: St. Ives is upgrading its image in the spring with a series of cleansers and exfoliating scrubs as part of its new Elements line. The most intriguing of these products is the Protective Cleanser. It is named as such because the cleanser claims to leave behind SPF 10 UVA/UVB protection, even after the skin is rinsed with water.

Fitted t-shirts: The soft fitted Disney Vintage t-shirt line has “gone green,” a huge catch phrase at various lounges this year. Designer Jackie Brander juxtaposes classic images with environmental reminders, such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse in a car with the words, “Save gas…Carpool,” or the word “green” replacing the word “small” in the familiar “It’s a Small World” icon. Available at Kitson and other boutiques.

Long-sleeved thermal: We love the fact that new label yudu (pronounced you-do) was, like Meniscus, founded by Washingtonians. We also love the fact that yudu donates a percentage of its proceeds to a charity, which they switch out every 90 days (the first one happens to be the Sundance Institute). But what we love most of all about yudu is that their black, long-sleeved, 100% organic cotton thermal shirts ($58) are far more comfortable than the scratchy long johns of yesteryear. An added bonus? The tag attached to the shirt is actually a bag of flower seeds. For more information, go to

Walking shoes: AK Anne Klein Sport makes its debut this spring with three different types of footwear: ballet flats, flip-flops and, our favorite, the Denali sneaker. Fastened with Velcro, these comfortable lightweight shoes are perfect for traveling and equally so for running around town.