Milk Studios in Hollywood was in full 1980s mode Thursday night, complete with an arcade full of video games in one corner, the Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs on stage and a cadre of roller-skating models wheeling about in cat-print sweatshirts and tees, all in celebration of a five-way collaboration among the Rodarte label, artist Mari Eastman, Mastercard, Fred Segal and the art-meets-fashion platform Made (the last of which organized fashion shows in downtown L.A. in the summers of 2016 and 2017).
“It’s our version of a teenager’s bedroom from the ‘80s,” said Rodarte’s Kate Mulleavy, gesturing toward a candy-colored bedroom that dominated one side of the room, complete with lava lamps, throw pillows and ‘80s-era posters of Madonna and Prince. She added that Hoff’s presence at the event had its roots in her own teenage years. “The first mix tape I ever had included the Bangles, Bananarama and Kim Wilde.”
Despite the blast-from-the-past inspiration and a spun-sugar-sweet capsule collection that emblazons Rodarte’s “Radarte” T-shirts ($150) and sweatshirts ($280) with Eastman’s depictions of kittens and butterflies, the evening — and the multilayered partnership that gave rise to it — was all about the future.
One of those future-looking elements comes by way of the QR codes on each hangtag that, when scanned, reveals additional information about the garment at various steps in the production process (which, in this case, includes being made in Los Angeles).
This bit of technological wizardy was brought to the table by Mastercard and demonstrates how the fashion industry might be able to address increasing consumer demand for supply-chain transparency.
The five-piece Made X Rodarte capsule, which is available exclusively at Fred Segal Sunset (as well as through the retailer’s website) through Aug. 14, is also part of bricks-and-mortar retail’s efforts to move beyond the look and feel of traditional shopping.
“This is about marrying [the] digital [experience] to the retail experience in the minute,” said Fred Segal president John Frierson, who was on hand at the Thursday-night event. “That’s what retail is all about.”
Fred Segal is no stranger to experimenting with interactive retail technology; in April, a collaboration with Beams Couture and plastic-bag maker Ziploc used the Google Translate app on a smartphone — and Japanese-language posters scattered around Los Angeles — to unlock early access to some pieces.
Likewise, Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy are enthusiastic serial collaborators, having partnered with the likes of size-inclusive label Universal Standard, Mattel (to dress Barbie), Coach and the Los Angeles Philharmonic (creating costumes for Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”).