When a couple of beefy weight lifters named Bob Truax and Dan Stock and a pair of muscle-bound wrestlers known as the Road Warriors couldn't find pants that fit their built-up bodies, the St. Paul big guys didn't settle for off-the-rack blue jeans. They created their own comfortable, pajama-like pullons, had them manufactured in zebra stripes, reptile scales and other wild patterns, and called them Zubaz, street lingo for "in-your-face." Targeting hard-to-fit athletes, the four partners launched the loose-fitting clothing line at the Twin Cities Gym they own. Two years later, they've won over plenty of pro baseball and football players, as well as rockers as diverse as Billy Joel and Tone-Loc. Next year they expect to sell $100 million worth of Zubaz to men, women and tots. And wouldn't you know it, their new model is about as hard to fit as a hanger. She's red-hot Guess? girl Claudia Schiffer.
DONNIE THE RIPPER
One of the few (well, relatively few) male fans of the girl-melting New Kids on the Block is 22-year-old New Yorker Jordan McLeod. The Jamaican-born student was just another T-shirt designer until a New Kids' stylist spotted his smiley reggae faces in a Manhattan shop and grabbed some for Donnie Wahlberg to wear on tour when he sings his reggae number, "Stay with Me, Baby." Since Wahlberg rips the shirt off after each song and throws it into the audience, McLeod just received an order for 20 more (at $10 each)—not to mention high visibility and wide distribution for his cartoonish YEAH MON character. "The T-shirts have become my main source of income," says McLeod, who is studying to be a women's wear designer at the Fashion Institute of Technology. "I like New Kids on the Block. I love the commercial aspect."
Want to look like Marilyn Monroe? L.A. collector Dona Powell brings $50-and-up copies of MM's drop earrings, plus 109 more screen gems, to JC Penney and cable shopping channels this fall so anyone can glitter like the stars.
MO' BETTER THREADS
One of the stars of Mo' Better Blues doesn't even appear on the screen. He's up-and-coming New York City menswear designer Sabato Russo, whom the film's costume designer Ruth Carter discovered on a quest for "contemporary clothes with a '50s feeling." Sold on Russo's jazzed-up classics, as well as on his spicy shades of brown "that enhance black skin," Carter picked up a few dozen suits, overcoats and shirts from last fall's collection for stars Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Giancarlo Esposito and Wesley Snipes. "I was very thrilled," says the Italian-born Russo, who also won Lee as a client. The director, who donned a Russo tux for the Oscars, has hung on to his Blues wardrobe.