It was a beautiful Thursday afternoon in October and we were at Spring Studios in London. The studio, which has witnessed the birth of numerous fashion campaigns and magazine covers, was busy. Kate Moss was downstairs for a shoot and in another room, One Direction was being shot by photographer Darren Tieste for Penshoppe’s latest campaign.
Bernie Liu, CEO of Golden ABC, the company behind the brands Penshoppe, Oxygen, Forme, Memo, Regatta and Tyler, said, “One Direction is just about the hottest thing in music today. They’re breaking music records, they’re selling out world tours, they’re basically on top of the world. They also represent what the brand is all about—fun, fresh and hip. Their ability to connect to their fans in such a powerful yet personal way also allows the brand to speak to their very strong fan base as well. Their story can serve as inspiration to the youth—how being persistent in the face of adversity can still open other wonderful opportunities for you.”
Fans first got to know Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson as solo contestants in the seventh season of the hit British TV talent show “The X Factor.” They were put together in a group during the boot camp and they placed third in the competition in 2010 before they were signed by “X Factor” producer/judge Simon Cowell. Then, they proceeded to take over the world.
“Take over the world” isn’t an overstatement—these days, there really is no escaping One Direction.
Their first album, “Up All Night,” set world records and became the first debut album by a British group to enter the US Billboard 200 chart at number one. “Live While We’re Young,” the lead single from their second album “Take Me Home” (set for global release yesterday, Nov. 9) has become the fastest selling single by a British act in US charts. It sold 341,000 copies in one week.
Their song “What Makes You Beautiful” won “Best British Single” at this year’s BRIT Awards, beating Adele’s “Someone Like You.” They won three awards at the MTV Video Music Awards this year—Best New Artist, Best Pop Video and Most Share-Worthy Video. They performed at the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics. When the boys made an appearance at The Today Show at Rockefeller Plaza in New York, the police had to be called to control the huge crowd of screaming girls. Their latest book “One Direction: Dare To Dream: Life As One Direction” continues to be on The New York Times Best-Seller list. They sold out the Madison Square Garden in less than a minute, setting yet another record. We can go on and on.
They’re on TV, they’re on the radio, they’re in magazines, they’ve written books, they’re all over the Internet. Walk into any HMV store in London and you’ll find an entire wall of One Direction merchandise— from pens and notebooks to bags and bracelets. Here in the Philippines, their books, CDs and DVDs continues to fly off shelves.
Xandra Ramos-Padilla, National Book Store’s purchasing director for books, said, “We have sold more than a thousand different One Direction titles. ‘Dare to Dream’ was the number one title on our nonfiction list last July.”
“Both their debut album and DVD have gone platinum with sales of more than 15,000 each,” said Jeff Joson of Sony-Ivory Music.
But that Thursday in London, Liam, Harry, Niall, Zayn and Louis acted like regular teenage boys, seemingly unchanged by their superstardom.
Bernie said, “It was a fun shoot. It was nice to see them joking around and having fun like normal boys. We got some great photos from the shoot and we’re very excited to share them with their Filipino fans.”
As Penshoppe’s newest endorsers, the boys join the other big names in the clothing brand’s All Stars campaign— Hollywood star Zac Efron, Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester, The Vampire Diaries’ Ian Somerhalder and Thai model and actor Mario Maurer.
Just like One Direction, 2012 has been a fantastic year for Penshoppe. And they’re just getting started. Bernie said, “Penshoppe is expanding both domestically and internationally. We just opened our first Penshoppe store in Dubai a few weeks ago. It’s the first among many. We will be opening our first store in Indonesia by the end of the year. And of course, we are always committed to the promise of delivering sophisticated, fresh fashion to our customers and fans—fashion that is not only worthy of Filipino patronage but something that we can be truly proud of as a brand from the Philippines that international talents are also happy to wear.”
At the shoot, the boys of One Direction wore pieces from Penshoppe’s Holiday 2012 collection—soft tees and comfy jeans with blazers, cardigans, button-down shirts and the varsity jacket that became their favorite.
Niall was still wearing his red Henley Penshoppe tee when he hobbled over on crutches to where I was sitting. “I hurt my knee playing football,” he said, explaining his injury.
In front of us was a large coffee table covered by a sea of CDs, photos and other merchandise waiting to be autographed by the band. Soon, we were surrounded by the rest of the boys and they all got busy, Sharpies in hand, signing away as they chatted and joked with one another. It was clear that they had done this before—they had an unspoken system of making sure each CD sleeve and each picture got all five of their signatures. It was fascinating to watch—like an endless and speedy game of “1 2 3, pass!”
Niall said, “We’re just five lads doing what we love and just having a good time doing it.”
And their fans love them for it. That evening, as we left Spring Studios, the boys were stopped by excited fans who had been waiting outside.
Three days later, they raked in awards at the BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards 2012 (Best British Single, Best British Album, Best British Music Act). Two days later, the nominees for this year’s American Music Awards were announced—the boys were nominated for Favorite Album—Pop/Rock, Favorite Band, Duo or Group—Pop/Rock and Sprint New Artist of the Year. The results are still pending.