From a single tee shirt in San Diego, to an international fashion and entertainment company, Fortune 421 sure has come a long way in a short six years. Pioneered by local visionary Jason Herrick, Fortune 421 is designed to represent the unique San Diego and Miami lifestyle, where the beach meets the city in style.
My guess is you’ve probably attended at least three of Fortune’s signature summer pool parties, and I bet you’ve seen industry locals rocking 421 branded shirts around town. If you’re lucky, you may have even escaped to Las Vegas or Miami to party with the Fortune crew in the midst of their rapid expansion. And now, just in time for summer, locals have a stylish new way to support this lifestyle brand: Fortune 421 Swimwear.
Far beyond a basic bikini top, Fortune 421 Swimwear boasts a variety of unique designs that reflect our iconic pool party culture. San Diego women are sure to love the bandeau tops and Brazilian bottoms in solid, stripe, and polka dot. This first Fortune 421 Swimwear line was designed by Jason Herrick’s girlfriend, Cristina Alanis, an emerging fashion designer who is inspired by such brands as L*Space, Vitamin A, and Vix. We first viewed the collection during the Fortune Six Year Anniversary Party at Stingaree, and we were instantly hooked. The haute bikinis will be available for purchase mid-June on fortune421.com, and Fortune will offer pre-sale orders during the Memorial Day Pool Party on May 29. Do you want to be the new Miss 421 Spokesmodel? Read on for details.
I sat down with Jason Herrick to discuss all the bikini basics of Fortune 421 Swimwear.
DiscoverSD: Fortune 421 is so much more than a promotion company. Please explain your vision for Fortune 421 Clothing and what this brand means to you.
Jason Herrick: Many people might not know this but Fortune 421 started out six years ago from a single t-shirt with the Fortune name on the front and the 421 logo on the back. At the time I created the branded shirt to represent my group of friends that worked in the nightlife industry either DJing, VIP hosting, bartending or cocktail waitressing. Since then we’ve expanded into a record label, artist-booking agency, charity organization and yes… an events production company throwing lots of fun parties to expose the brand all across the country. My vision for the clothing line is to have it continue to represent the nightlife and dance music culture while along the way giving back to the community through our clothing sales. The line itself has been predominantly men’s t-shirts but we envision this developing into a full collection of cut and sew garments such as tanks, polos, long sleeve wovens, sweatshirts, track jackets, shorts, pants, ties, suit jackets and denim. My drive and passion is to develop the clothing line into a global brand that represents the San Diego & Miami lifestyle where the beach meets the city!
DSD: We checked out the new bikinis on the Sting runway during the anniversary party and we were blown away! When and why did you decide to launch Fortune 421 Swimwear?
Jason: Two of the main things that Fortune is known for are our pool parties and that we are based out of sunny San Diego. We’ve had constant demand over the years from our supporters asking for bikinis so it just made sense to have swimwear as our next venture. Late last summer we decided it was time to step it up and produce our first collection so we have been working hard ever since to make that happen. The bikinis where developed through the winter in order to have samples done for WMC, Coachella and our 6 Year Anniversary events this spring. Production is being completed now and we will be officially launching to the public in mid June and have them ready to sell on our fortune421.com website.
DSD: Who designed the line, and what is the inspiration?
Jason: The swimwear line was designed and produced by my girlfriend Cristina Alanis. She has always been passionate about fashion but never imagined getting into the industry let alone creating swimwear. I’m beyond impressed with how well she did for her very first time. The line was inspired from all of our travels to places such as Miami, Las Vegas, Acapulco and Playa del Carmen, all of which share the same nightlife and pool party culture as our brand. We went for a timeless classic look that matches our clothing line so our fabrics include a combination of solids, stripes and polka dots with clean trim pieces. We wanted to stick with classic cuts such as triangle and bandeaus tops along with moderate and Brazilian bottoms so that it would be attractive to a wide audience.
DSD: What designer swimwear labels are most similar to your new line?
Jason: We would love to see Fortune 421 Swimwear next to brands such as Despi, L*Space, Luli Fama, Vitamin A and Vix. These brands do an excellent job of capturing the sophisticated international women that Fortune 421 would also appeal to. From the response we’ve already gotten, I think we have a real shot of making it happen!
DSD: What is your favorite Fortune bikini for a San Diego girl?
Jason: Our favorite suit for an San Diego girl would be from the 421 Karats collection. It's a white fabric with gold glitter pinstripe that's simple yet sexy and glamorous. This fabric comes in a triangle or bandeau top and a moderate or Brazilian scrunch bottom…any combination would be a perfect fit. The San Diego girl has evolved from a surf style to being more fashion forward and choosing a style that could look great on the runway as well as the beach.
DSD: Tell us about this hot Fortune 421 Swimwear photo shoot!
Jason: Every year in March our company heads to South Beach Miami for the Winter Music Conference and as the line started being developed we though that it would be really amazing to capture our new bikinis in a photo shoot while we were out there. After a couple months of searching we were fortunate enough to find the best photographer, model and makeup/hair artist all in the Miami area. Considering this was the first shoot we've ever done outside of San Diego, and that the suits were overnighted to us just in time, we are really proud of how everything turned out. We did the shoot at one of Miami's most historic hotels, the Clevelander, located on right on the infamous Ocean Avenue. It was a perfect location since we had 360-degree views of South Beach from the rooftop and the beach is right across the street. It was a little crazy pulling it off in the middle of Miami Music Week but it only added to the energy of our shoot. The photos captured exactly what we wanted in order to begin our marketing campaign and we feel blessed to have had such great people come together to make it all happen!
DSD: Swimwear isn’t all that we saw on the runway. What are your favorite new Fortune 421 clothing items for summer?
Jason: Yes, we also had some of our new Fortune 421 Clothing designs on the catwalk and are really excited to introduce some new categories later this summer. At our 6 Year we unveiled our Anniversary shirt, which has a gold foil seal on white crew neck, which is perfect for summer time! Also a new hand stitched piece was introduced that Mama J worked hard on. It was a black crew neck with camouflage fabric of our Fortune Army design, which is inspired by a military style badge but has our 421 logo inside of it. Coming up later this summer we are looking forward to unveiling our first men’s tank tops and boardshorts at the Elevation Pool Party fashion show. They were originally to be introduced alongside the swimwear line, but we’ve had our plate full already this year so they are just now starting to get developed. Also, keep an eye out for an exclusive DiscoverSD x Fortune421 Collaboration to hit the streets this summer!
DSD: What Fortune 421 events can we look forward to this summer in San Diego, and across the globe?
Jason: Wow!!! I can’t believe its summer time already…this is crazy! But yes we have some great events planned for this summer and we can’t wait to kick things off in a couple weeks! This year we are excited to be moving our entire 2011 Pool Party Series over to the Ivy Rooftop at Andaz Hotel. Our Memorial Day (5/29), 4th of July (7/3), Elevation (8/14) and Labor Day (9/4) will all be happening from 12noon-8pm and then we’ll head to Side Bar for the official after parties. Besides our infamous pool parties we’ll be hosting LED Wavehouse Sundaze with after parties at Thrusters every Sunday and then keeping our other events rocking at Side Bar on Thursdays and Voyeur on Fridays.
As for our events around the country we are looking forward to another big Vegas trip July 24-26 for my birthday. We are also going to be expanding the brand into the Chicago and Austin markets this summer so we can’t wait for that. Also, we’ve been getting more involved in the Hollywood area at Playhouse for Monday Night Social. Our next show there is on June 13 so if you’re looking to take a quick trip out of town to party with the Fortune Family then be sure to hit us up. You can see our entire schedule at 421events.com and sign up for guest list or get tickets.
DSD: You’re always up to something … what else is new this year?
Jason: One thing that we’re really excited for which is coming up right now is our Miss 421 Spokesmodel search. We are looking for the perfect girl to represent our swimwear line all this summer and she’ll win a trip to Vegas, a 3 month contract and a 3 month iTAN membership among other prizes. We’ve put together an interactive event series where the contestants will come to Side Bar on our Thursday nights to test their skills, and over 3 weeks we’ll narrow them down to one winner! Girls can sign up for the search at facebook.com/fortune421.
For the end of 2011 we are really looking forward to expanding the men’s clothing collection to long sleeve wovens, and possibly even denim, which would be just in time for Christmas. For 2012 we are working on putting together our first Fortune 421 Fashion Tour where we’ll partner up with the a popular hotel chain and crisscross the country hitting all of our markets with runway fashion shows and our talented DJs. We are also looking to expand our brand internationally in 2012 with a couple big trips to Play del Carmen for the BPM Festival in January, as well as making our first trip to Spain in June to hit up the Sonar Music Festival in Barcelona, and of course Ibiza for a few days.
Get the Look: The new Fortune 421 Swimwear collection will be available for public purchase mid-June on fortune421.com, and Fortune will hook a few lucky locals up with exclusive pre-sale orders during their Memorial Day Pool Party at Ivy Rooftop at the Andaz Hotel on May 29.
Discover more pool parties and events on our San Diego entertainment calendar.