Aaron Chang Fashion Show

To kick off its ASR presence, Aaron Chang invited San Diego retailers to his downtown San Diego photography studio, last Thursday night, for an intimate evening featuring three slide shows and a sneak peak at his company’s spring line.

“We wanted to do something for San Diego that really shows we’re involved,” says Chang. “This is our backyard.”

The night started off with cocktails and appetizers, giving retailers a chance to meet the Aaron Chang staff, as well as mingle with other area retailers.

Then Aaron Chang designers Jen Schuler and Brian Glass emceed the fashion show, which featured a handful of pieces from the spring line. Standouts included the Eros bikini, a staple for Aaron Chang that is now a reversible suit with prints on one side and solid colors on the other. On the men’s side, the Pin-up trunk — the brand’s number-one seller last year — is back with double-layer fabrication and pin-up girls sublimated on the inside layer. Marketing and Studio Manager Brenden Hayes says he expects bikinis and the Pin-up trunk to continue to do well.

Another addition to the Aaron Chang line is a series of T-shirts that feature photography from TransWorld SKATEboarding Photo Editor Grant Brittain. “This year we’re offering skate shirts to tap into another part of the market and to grow the brand,” says Chang.

The eight-piece skate-shirt line has been getting a lot of attention, even before the show. “Shops were writing orders without even seeing the shirts,” says Sales Manager Bob Tanner, who joined Aaron Chang a month ago from Emerald City surf/skate/snow shop in Mission Beach, California. “The reaction has been great.”

This spring’s line is 146 pieces strong, which is smaller than last year but more refined, says Hayes. Each garment is handmade, all done locally in San Diego. “It’s wearable art,” says Tanner.

For Chang, computer technology has been key to the development of the line. “It’s a new frontier,” he says. “Digital imagery has allowed us to create pieces that couldn’t have been done a few years ago. Your imagination is your limit.”

Your hard drive can be limiting, too. Chang says the Volcano shirt took up a 1.5-gig file. “I bought a new computer just for this project,” he says.

After the fashion show, Chang and Brittain shared their award-winning slide shows, which featured amazing shots of surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, and landscapes.