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Look sir, droids...

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Look sir, droids...

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Date: May 08, 2012 04:52AM

These ARE the togs you're looking for: Star Wars alliance gives local swimwear company new hope

By Paddy Hintz
The Courier-Mail
May 08, 2012 12:00AM
Aussie firm signs a clothing deal with Lucasfilm
Stems from a lawsuit to have $90 swimsuits stopped

BRISBANE fashion label Black Milk Clothing has turned a "cease and desist" letter from Star Wars creator George Lucas into a business opportunity potentially worth millions.

The fledgling label began operating out of the kitchen of owner and designer James Lillis less than three years ago. Now it has signed a deal with Lucasfilm to produce Star Wars images on its clothing range.

The internet-only business already employs about 70 people in Brisbane and Melbourne, thanks to their initial business naivety of illegally producing Star Wars products. "It really was just a hobby business when we first made those swimsuits, " Black Milk marketing manager Cameron Parker said.

"It was all about turning geek culture sexy."

When production of the $90 swimsuits stopped, the Artoo and Threepio suits soon became collectors' items, fetching about $600 each on eBay.

Soon the label was attracting an international cult following, and the owners quickly saw that what had started as a legal wrangle could become a business opportunity if Lucasfilm would agree to license the images.

When announcement of the agreement was made, 25,000 people were talking about the news via the brand's Facebook page, which has about 141,000 "likes".

At least 20 international Facebook groups around the world are now dedicated to Black Milk.

"This announcement has been the holy grail for a lot of these girls because only a few of the designs were made originally," Mr Parker said.

Once formal design approval has been given, production of the swimsuits in Brisbane and Melbourne will begin.

Mr Parker said the new swimsuit would cost more than the originals because of licence fees. The company wants to keep production in Australia.