Aspen Times Weekly: Belly Up branches out into fashion
The Goldberg brothers unfolded and laid an assortment of T-shirts and hoodies onto a couch in the office above Belly Up Aspen on a recent afternoon.
“This is the Belly Up Collection,” David Goldberg said proudly, stepping back.
He and his brother Danny, who manage the downtown music club founded by their father, are branching out into fashion and this summer launched the first season of their new clothing line.
They’re aiming to bring the perfectionism, taste and meticulousness that has made Belly Up a nationally renowned music club — it landed on Rolling Stone’s Best Clubs in America list in 2013 — to the fashion world.
After a soft launch of online sales in July, they started selling the pieces in the music club in August. The Goldbergs expect to increase the reach of the brand as they release their second season this winter and in the years to come.
“We love breaking a band and then doing it bigger and better the next time,” Danny Goldberg said. “We want to do the same thing with the clothing line. This is just the beginning.”
The brothers previously branched out into artist management and have shepherded the rise of Austin-based rock duo Black Pistol Fire. Fashion might seem a bigger stretch, but the Goldbergs see it as a natural next step in the music and nightlife business.
The first season is all streetwear — T-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, baseball caps and the like, most of them black — that’s stylish enough to wear for a night out. The designs are built around the club’s “B” music note logo, which appears in white and blue, in camouflage and in a smoke ring coming out of a model’s mouth on one graphic T-shirt. Prices range from $20 for a tank top to $55 for a hoodie.
The brothers tinkered with the idea for two years before this summer’s soft launch, talking out ideas with Belly Up graphic designer India Anderson and the artist Scrojo, who makes the club’s custom concert posters. They imagine that, as the Collection brand grows, people might happen upon the music club in Aspen and ask, “Belly Up Collection has a music club?”
The designs riff off of the familiar logo of Belly Up Aspen and its sister club in Solana Beach, California. But the Goldbergs are quick to differentiate between Belly Up Collection pieces and the popular merchandise that’s long been sold in the music club.
“It is not merch,” David Goldberg said. “We still have Belly Up merch but this is a totally separate deal.”
The main difference is that the fashion pieces don’t say “Belly Up” or “Aspen” on them — they don’t look like vacation souvenirs or concert shirts. Instead, they make use of the “B” logo and subtle allusions to the club: its GPS coordinates run down the sleeves of a long-sleeve “T-shirt, the washing instructions include a directive to “enjoy live music.”
While the logo is the same as the merchandise, the pieces are unique enough that if you wear it to a concert, you’re not going to look like staff or security personnel.
“We don’t want someone to ask you where the bathroom is if you’re wearing it in the club,” Danny Goldberg said.
For now, the collection is only on sale at Belly Up Aspen and online at www.bellyupcollection.com. But the Goldbergs envision that as they grow the brand, it’ll start landing in boutiques and third-party stores.
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