Local promoter hits the streets with new clothing label

James Hastings, Urbana resident and founder of Jimshoes Entertainment, poses in a shirt from his clothing line. Erica Magda

James Hastings, Urbana resident and founder of Jimshoes Entertainment, poses in a shirt from his clothing line. Erica Magda

By Jim Vorel

The music business lives and dies for what is trendy. What is cool at one point will almost certainly fall out of favor eventually. When we see the parachute pants of MC Hammer today, or the frozen, spiked crown of the white-blonde hair worn by Vanilla Ice in his heyday, one cannot help but realize just how quickly things can change. The difficult task of a music promoter, then, is to come up with a fashion that not only looks good, but will perpetuate popularity in the future.

James Hastings, an Urbana resident of seven years and a local music promoter, said he thinks he may have done this with his new “Jimshoes” clothing line. The variety of clothing offered in his line reflects the varied music groups Hastings’ “Jimshoes Entertainment” company manages. Hastings promotes artists like Champaign’s Twick G and central Kentucky’s southern metal rock band Full Nelson, among others.

Hastings has marketed his line through the artists he represents, as well as by advertisements in print publications. Recently, Jimshoes took to the airwaves as the company ran its first TV commercial. The commercial airs throughout central Illinois in Springfield, Decatur, Champaign-Urbana, Danville, Rantoul and Mahomet.

To accommodate different tastes and styles, Hasting’s line offers clothing like hooded sweatshirts, polo shirts, hats and unisex long- and short-sleeve T-shirts. Colors for the apparel range from blue and black, to white and gray, to brighter colors like pink and yellow. Merchandise available on Hasting’s Web site, www.jimshoes.com, ranges from $15-$20.

All of the clothing is stamped with the “Jimshoes” logo that depicts a large pair of tennis shoes, laces untied, and is of course a nod to their creator’s first name. Hastings said that he has been managing musical acts since 2003, but that he has always been interested in the idea of starting his own clothing line.

“I always wanted to get into fashion,” Hastings said. “I first started making clothing just for the artists that I represented, but their response was so positive I started to wonder if I could take the idea further.”

Energized, Hastings began to look for stores to distribute his clothing line. In addition to being sold on his Web site, Jimshoes brand products are sold by Mahri’s Fashion, 1101 N. Fairview Ave., Decatur, and at Urban Beauty Fashion, 1502 N. Cunningham Ave., Urbana. Jay Shin, the manager of Urban Beauty Fashion, said that he began stocking the Jimshoes clothing line less than two weeks ago, but that the response seems to be positive.

“I wanted to try out this line because it was something new and unique to the area,” said Shin. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the Jimshoes line clothing that (Hastings) is planning on releasing.” Shin added that a Jimshoes brand of jeans would be the item he would most like to see Hastings release.

Hastings does plan to expand both the amount of items in the Jimshoes clothing line and the overall availability of his products. He said that he would especially like to produce an actual Jimshoes “gym shoe,” and that he is working on designs.

“In the next three years my goals are to continue promoting the line and try and familiarize it in other Midwest cities,” Hastings said. “Of course, I’d also like to eventually attract the interest of a major designer to invest in Jimshoes Entertainment.”

Student responses to the line seem fairly positive.

“I’ve actually heard people talking about this line,” said Rebekah Childers, senior in Communications. “I think this line could be really successful if it’s marketed with popular artists. I know people who would buy it.”

As for Hastings, he would love to see popular artists wearing Jimshoes clothing all throughout the country.

“I’d like to see Jay-Z walking down the street wearing a Jimshoes T-shirt,” Hastings said. “When that happens, I’ll know I’ve made it big.”