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Fitting the News--Such as It Is--to a T

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May 08, 1992|GAILE ROBINSON

Almost daily, a fresh assortment of T-shirts commemorating the L.A. riots turns up. Among the first was Fresh Jive's version--"No Justice No Peace"--in stores last Friday in Philadelphia, New York and L.A. It sold out the same day. Others are now selling on L.A. streets for about $5 to $15. The slogans range from righteous to ridiculous: "Visit L.A. It's a Riot," "My Mom Looted Fedco and All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt," "I Survived the L.A. Riots" and "Increase the Peace." A few have a dual purpose. If you buy a shirt at a Pacific Eyes & T's store, the price includes a donation to the Red Cross, says company president Dan Goodman.

* WINDOWS ON THE FUTURE: Nobody seemed to notice two weeks ago when owners of the Sporting Club fitness shop in West Hollywood filled display windows with familiar urban scenes--buildings covered in graffiti, broken windows and litter. But since last week's riot there have been complaints, says manager Lee Carstens. So store owners decided to "clean up" their act by putting shovels and brooms in the hands of the mannequins. Every day they remove a bit more of the display trash.

* TEAMING UP: At his Studio shop in Santa Monica, Tom Gillman had at least one good day recently. In fact, he was positively giddy. "It was the most rushing yardage in the history of retailing," he crowed. Pardon? Gillman was recalling a recent moment when football legends O. J. Simpson and Marcus Allen stopped by the store for a little team shopping. Simpson bought Clacton & Frinton rayon shirts, and Allen left with Sonia Rykiel's quilted vest in black nylon. Gillman, the retailer, is not likely to bandy about such stats lightly; he is the son of Sid Gillman, former San Diego Charger coach and member of the pro football Hall of Fame.

* RETAIL FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: Gitano's spokeswomen from last fall--Marilu Henner, Dixie Carter and Betty White (all well past thirtysomething)--are being retired to make room for "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Shannen Doherty, 21, VH-1 veejay Vanessa Williams, 29, and singer Marie Osmond, 32. According to a Gitano spokesperson, the idea was to "target the younger market, (but try) to make the whole campaign ageless."

* TOO CLOSE TO HOME: Earlier this spring there was a media flap about the Benetton magazine ad that featured an AIDS patient on his deathbed. It was one of a series that used unsettling pictures. At the time, Peter Fressola, a Benetton spokesman, defended the controversial images, saying, "They stand for universal themes rather than a single event." Released as part of the same campaign was an ad that showed a car torched by a firebomb. At the time it did not provoke an outcry in the U.S. Now the image looms from a billboard high above La Brea Boulevard. Nearby are the ashes of Samy's Camera shop.

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