Início Tech Usher and Liberty Ross’ Skating Brand Flipper’s Dives Into Apparel

Usher and Liberty Ross’ Skating Brand Flipper’s Dives Into Apparel


Flipper’s World is bringing roller-skating culture to fashion.

The skating rink and lifestyle brand — revived by English model Liberty Ross and American entrepreneur Kevin Wall, in partnership with Usher — has named Eddie Bromberg as chief executive officer, WWD has learned exclusively.

Bromberg will oversee apparel and accessories, with plans to drop a full collection in spring of next year, though the brand will first be unveiled in limited releases between early fall and holiday this year. To date, Flipper’s releases have been merch; Bromberg plans to take the company in a new direction.

“Historically, Flipper’s — energizing community through many decades — has answered the call through a merchandising lens, specific to an event and venue,” Bromberg said on a recent call. “There has been some product that’s been made through the years. And even though there was legacy product made in the late ’70s and ’80s, we’re not moving into the fashion of making disco or retro-looking products. I needed to make sure that there is a distinction.”

Alongside Ross, he’s put together a design team who are working with collaborators on upcoming partnerships. “There are some big announcements coming with who and what we’re going to be putting out there,” he said, staying mum on details.

What we can expect is a price point between $40 and $200, from T-shirts and trousers to sporty jackets for both women (who make up about 60 percent of skaters, according to Bromberg) and men. There are two brand pillars, he explained. The first is “active,” looking to what the likes of Alo and Lululemon have done in the yoga space with activewear, and the second is “lifestyle,” aligning with youth culture à la Supreme and Palace graphically and through design.

“The one, I think, super important element of what we’re doing is that we’re not just putting our name or logo onto a garment,” Bromberg said. “We’re really mindful of the construction, the textiles that we use that when and if you do want to go skate, they will perform. They will have the appropriate padding in the right places. They may have a gusset in the pants, so they don’t split. They will have extra seam work where that’s reinforced.”

Flipper’s was established in 1975 in Hollywood by Liberty Ross’ father, British radio producer Ian Ross.

Neil Rasmus/BFA.com

There’s already interest from retailers, said Bromberg, but the brand will launch in direct-to-consumer e-commerce. “It’s taken 45 years to get here. We definitely don’t want to rush this,” he said.

The Los Angeles native has a history of connecting fashion with community, previously serving as chief operating officer of Fear of God and as an executive at Planet Blue, Cotton Citizen, Rock & Republic, Industry Rag and James Perse, among others. “For me, this is a really unique opportunity to go into an untapped space where it’s driven by community,” he added.

Eddie Bromberg

Flipper’s (first known as Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace) is rooted in community, established in 1975 in Hollywood by Ross’ father, British radio producer Ian Ross, before shutting doors on Halloween night six years later. Ross was 3 years old at the time.

“My dad had got really inspired by the Empire Rollerdrome in New York, and he felt like the music, the fashion, the culture was just so unbelievably electrifying. He thought rolling skating would save the world. I have to say, I believe the same today. It’s a unifying, joyful, positive sport that really brings people together on a floor of equality,” she told WWD last year when Flipper’s returned to L.A. during Grammys week for a one-night affair, with the help of husband Jimmy Iovine of Interscope Records (an advisor at Flipper’s with executive Don Thompson and board members Michael Rapino of Live Nation and Maverick Carter, the sports-marketing businessman). The night was held to honor rapper-producer Dr. Dre who received the Grammys’ Global Impact Award, bringing out cohost Usher, Paul McCartney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Busta Rhymes and Teyana Taylor.

Usher

Usher at the L.A. return of Flipper’s during Grammys week at the Hollywood Palladium in February 2023.

Christopher Polk

Events are essential to the Flipper’s experience; Ross reopened Flipper’s flagship in London and has been hosting pop-ups globally, including at Rockefeller Center in New York (in conjunction with a partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue). With her last apparel venture now behind her, Ross’ focus is on continuing to bring Flipper’s to communities around the world, while reflecting its culture through fashion.

“Style is so much part of skating. The better you dress, the better you skate,” she laughed, on the call with Bromberg. “Skating in itself is all about expression, and so, it’s just another layer to me that basically Flipper’s would be incomplete if we didn’t move toward style as well.”

Of bringing on Bromberg, she said: “He’s had, obviously, years of experience. I am looking forward daily to working with Eddie, to learn with him and evolve together and create something really powerful and individual. I think Flipper’s has such a unique role to play, really, in the fashion world, because we are one of one. It’s all about joy and freedom, and it’s all the things that the world needs today.…He’s also from L.A. There’s a certain esthetics to Flipper’s being born and bred in Hollywood that I feel like he can really bring out through products. He’s fantastic. I’m so excited to have him on board.”

As the two market the brand, they plan to tap into their existing community.

“I can tell you there are things happening in Europe this summer. You’ll likely see us there in sporting events, on certain athletes that are also skaters,” Bromberg said, adding, “When I look at the cross pollination of young skaters, older skaters, skaters that are doing extreme sports, they have millions of views on the things that they are doing, and they are already wearing Flipper’s merch that wasn’t really apparel. They are such fans of Flipper’s, being the one and only true legacy brand that is authentic in the space. They are thirsty for products that Flipper’s has historically put out.…I’m going to call them people of influence, not influencers, and we will be working with them in our development and our product integration, and through that process, it’s going to be through community.”



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