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