Monkey business has actually been pretty good business for renowned artist Paul Frank.
His colorful and easily recognizable primate character Julius the Monkey, which has been emblazoned on all sorts of fashion accessories since his creation in the mid-’90s, is back and will be featured on an all-new line of stylish items.
“I think people just love monkeys in general,” said Frank, an Orange County native who has teamed up with Southern California-based pop-culture and apparel company Loungefly for a new line of gear featuring the smiling monkey and some of his friends.
“Show me someone who doesn’t like monkeys,” Frank added. “I don’t think you can.”
Frank, who began his career in 1995 in Huntington Beach sewing custom wallets before creating Julius & Friends, a cast of colorful happy characters who live in a place named Planned Pines, will be on hand to meet fans at at Sugar n’ Spice, the frozen banana stand on Balboa Island in Newport Beach as the new Loungefly collaboration launches on Saturday, Feb. 11. The products will also be available at loungefly.com.
Fans can take photos with the artist and buy the new collection of items, which include a mini backpack ($80), crossbody bag ($60) and a zip-around wallet ($40). The mini backpack features Julius’ large face on the front and a rich, red inner lining with a pattern that also includes his smiling face. Pair that with the wallet and the crossbody bag that is decked out with Frank’s other characters and you’re all set for a walk down Planned Pines.
Those that show up to the live event will also get a complimentary Sugar n’ Spice frozen banana that day.
“I think for us, for the Paul Frank brand of Julius and the other characters, people just relate to the simplicity and the colorful accessories that we put Julius on. It’s relatable and I don’t know what it is exactly, it just feels nice. It makes people happy,” Frank said.
Frank’s playful character blew up in the mid-’90s and early ’00s with Julius appearing on stickers, shirts, shoes and all sorts of other random accessories. Loungefly is known for its backpacks, wallets, totes and other apparel and collectibles on which it has teamed up with companies to create fandom-inspired fashion gear including collections celebrating Hello Kitty, Harry Potter, Pokémon, Marvel and Star Wars.
This partnership, Frank adds, is a good fit for his characters.
“Way back in the late-’90s we started out around the same time as Loungefly,” Frank said. “We make things that are part of pop-culture. They do other fun things with other brands … and a lot of those customers are the Paul Frank customers too, so it’s natural that it would be a good fit with each other.”
When: 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11
Where: Sugar ‘n Spice, 310 Marine Ave., Balboa Island, Newport Beach
Tickets: Free admission; Get more information at loungefly.com.