Boutiques That Dress To Impress

Are ad-agency boutiques giving up the ghost and turning into fashion boutiques?

StrawberryFrog is readying a print campaign to advertise a line of T-shirts branded with its name. Since opening in 1999, the Amsterdam- and New York-based independent has designed 30 shirts and given them away as freebies. People love them, and a select variety will soon be available for sale online and in stores in New York and San Francisco. “We’d rather they be like collectors items, so that every one we do is cool,” says partner Scott Goodson. Among the designs: Che Guevera and Mr. T, pictured as frogs.

The line may have some competition from Urban Advertising in New York, which cast a moment of clarity in cotton—a T-shirt that reads, “I’m being exploited by an ad agency”—and sent it off to media outlets and prospective clients. Originally designed for the shop’s many freelancers, the tee isn’t meant to be self-hating—just, as the agency’s tagline says, “Honest.” “We might start selling them,” admits agency president Bernard Urban.

Pioneers of the advertising/ fashion combo, Gyro Worldwide in Philadelphia has long operated two lines of clothing—Sailor Jerry, based on the legendary tattoo designs of bygone ink artist Norman Collins, and G*Mart. Neither promotes the agency.