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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | HEARD ON THE BEAT / RETAIL

Gucci Shades Make Statement for Dare-to-Be-Different Skaters

August 01, 2000|Leslie Earnest | Leslie Earnest covers retail businesses for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-7832 and at leslie.earnest@latimes.com

Nevermind sunglasses makers Oakley and Arnette, the top selling brand at one trendy apparel store is Gucci, according to Gil Gomez, general manager at the Closet in Costa Mesa.

"You have kids who buy a pair of skate shoes and buy a pair of Gucci shades," said Gomez, whose shop targets skateboarders and youth. "It's our No. 1-selling sunglass."

And they sell for $130 to $200.

Young--and apparently well-heeled--consumers are also slamming down $112 for pairs of Diesel brand jeans, he said.

"It's, like, a really tough denim," Gomez said. "It's sewn in a manner that will last years before tearing apart."

That should be comforting for parents who are footing the bill.

Of course, in some cases, these young people are spending their own money. And buying a high-end product is just one more way a young consumer can set himself--or herself--apart, said Frank Sinatra, owner of streetwear maker Stussy Inc. in Irvine.

"By buying a pair of Gucci glasses, he's telling his friends he's not afraid to spend some money," Sinatra said. "You're flaunting the fact that you're not afraid to pick a brand that's different."

But buying Gucci sunglasses doesn't mean skateboarders are likely to start snapping up Gucci loafers. "That doesn't fit with [their] lifestyle," Sinatra said.

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