The littlest Idols

On Tuesday, the seventh season of “American Idol” introduced viewers to another round of poorly dressed auditioners, who in usual form were clueless about their ability to carry a tune. In the future, however, at least half of that equation might change. Youngsters who hope one day to belt out a tune in front of Simon Cowell can dress the part with Lyrix, an “Idol"-based collection of T-shirts, tracksuits and denim designed for female fans ages 7 to 16.

The line is an extension of Lyric Culture, the contemporary adult brand that, unlike the usual breed of reproduced concert tees, made its reputation by incorporating song lyrics into the designs. An offshoot of Lyric Culture, the tween-focused Lyrix follows the same format but hopes to ride the coattails of the “Idol” phenom.

Lyrix’s tees feature hang tags that offer a quick study on the history of a shirt’s featured song, including a reference to the song’s moment on the “Idol” stage -- valuable for tots who might otherwise credit the Great American Songbook to Sierra or Sanjaya.

“Little girls hear ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’ and don’t know that it isn’t an ‘American Idol’ song,” says Lyric Culture president Hanna Rochelle Schmeider, referring to the Aretha Franklin classic that forged a new following once Katharine McPhee belted it during Season 5. “This can be an educational experience.”


Down the road, Schmeider hopes to collaborate with “Idol” stylist Miles Siggins so that someday a finalist could step out on to the stage in Lyrix-designed garb, a move that would certainly whet the appetite of young shoppers. With 10% of all “Idol” watchers in the highly impressionable age group of 6 to 14, that is almost a foregone conclusion.

“Clothing is a wonderful way to make music accessible,” Schmeider says. “Music is available at Starbucks. Why not consume it in different ways?”

Those hoping to consume Lyrix can hit Macy’s in early February -- just in time for “Idol’s” Top 24.


-- Erin Weinger