Runway MMC Realize The Newfound Importance Of Putting Merchandise First

Sep 19th, 2008 // 6 Comments

A few months ago, we looked at the crassly fabricated glitter-explosion of vapidity known as the Clique Girlz. They’ve been unsuccessful (so far) in their attempts to permeate the national consciousness, but if you thought that meant that we were hearing the death rattle of woefully misguided tweenpop, you were sadly wrong. Who could match such repulsive marketing? Who could stoop below it? Meet Runway MMC, a Southern California girl group with a fashion line. Oh, yeah, and they show up and lipsync at local events from time to time.


It’s not enough these days to be just another cute girl band. You have to have a little extra something to stand out from the rest.

Meet 16-year-old Melody Hernandez of Newport Beach, Calif., one-third of a new pop singing group called Runway MMC that includes Meghan Elisse and Chelsea Tavares, both of Los Angeles. In addition to a debut CD release in September, the trio has a clothing line in Wet Seal stores.

So you can buy the girls’ music, and if you like their clothes, you can buy what they’re wearing, too. Too bad J.Lo didn’t think of this years ago.

Time out. Before we even get to Runway MMC, I have a few words for Katherine Nguyen of the Orange County Register: you couldn’t even bother to Google J.Lo, Jennifer Lopez’s clothing line? Sure, she prefers to go by “Jennifer Lopez” now, but come on.

Each band member represents a different persona and style. Melody is the girly, flirty debutante – think clothing with lots of feminine detail like ruffles and dresses. Meghan is the edgy rocker – hence, you’ll find pleather jackets and shrunken vests in her part of the clothing line. And Chelsea is the sporty tomboy, with electric-blue skinny jeans and slinky metallic hoodie tops.

Runway MMC’s fall collection will be carried at some 200 Wet Seal locations across the country.

The idea to create a girl group with a clothing line came from Elisse’s mom, Lisa Mahowald, who owns an apparel manufacturing company.

You know Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad? I’m going to set it in the present-day pop landscape, with Lisa Mahowald as the Kurtz figure. Using your own daughter in a puppet girl group to boost business for your apparel manufacturing company? The horror!

And I do feel bad for today’s young tomboys. It must be hard to play sports and climb trees in skinny jeans and “slinky metallic hoodie tops.”

A full six paragraphs into the story, we get to the music:

On the music end, the girls are working with producers of artists like Kelly Clarkson, JoJo and Maya and choreographers for groups like Danity Kane. The girls describe their music as pop with an urban edge, with tracks like “Runway,” “Shop ‘Til You Drop” and a cover of “Kids in America.”

So far, the girls have performed at the Orange County (Calif.) Fair and Stonewood Mall in Downey, Calif., with plans for other mall gigs in the future. They recently attended the Teen Choice Awards and the ALMA Awards.

“I’m so excited about all of this,” said Melody, who is a junior at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. “I just can’t believe it’s all happening.”

I knew JoJo had a hand in this! She’s like the patron saint of super-sexualized teens. Get out, JoJo! Leave!

The article focuses on Melody (“the girly one”) and her struggle to have the body image issues of adults while still at a young age:

Still, even Melody has admitted to already feeling the pressure of maintaining a certain image in the entertainment industry. “Especially because we’re supposed to be modeling the clothes from our line, too,” said Melody. “I grew up as the sort of ugly duckling kid, the chubby girl.”

So she went to a nutritionist and “measured everything I ate,” using a kitchen scale to weigh out portions of chicken.

“I wanted to transform my body but do it the healthy way, through good eating habits and exercise,” said Melody.

But wait, don’t they also have something to do with music? Oh yeah, I forgot. Let’s take a gander at some of their YouTube offerings:

“Runway

Runway MMC dances awkwardly on a runway while lipsyncing over a rehash of the “SexyBack” beat. But wait! There’s more! At the end of the video there are short interviews with each of the girls. An excerpt from each:

Chelsea: We all have good voices and we blend good together, yet we’re different styles.

Melody: We each have our own individual styles, and we each have our own very unique voices, and it’s basically about bringing the diversity together.

Meghan: We all have different voices, different styles of singing, different clothing fashions, and we all get to put them together in one, big clothing fashion line, and when we all sing together our voices blend, but we have our own unique little styles.

And they all have the same favorite Spice Girl: Mel B!

God, who’s their PR coach? Karl Rove?

“Shop Till You Drop”

The shopping bag props! They’re like the Carrot Top of tween pop.

According to the bio on their official site they’re currently on the “independent label” b.i.y.a.y.c.d.a. Inc., which is, in fact, Lisa Mahowald’s clothing company. This group makes Clique Girlz look like Neil fucking Young, so profound is the dedication to empty consumerism. I find it highly unlikely that they’ll ever escape the runways of Orange County, but rest assured that if they do I’ll send up flares to signal a mass exodus from the country and onto a gigantic barge that I will have chartered for the purpose of circumnavigating the globe in search of a brighter future.

Teens find music and fashion to be a perfect fit [Kansas City Star]
Runway MMC [MySpace]
Runway MMC [Official Site]

  1. Lax Danja House

    Each band member represents a different persona and style. Melody is the girly, flirty debutante – think clothing with lots of feminine detail like ruffles and dresses. Meghan is the edgy rocker – hence, you’ll find pleather jackets and shrunken vests in her part of the clothing line. And Chelsea is the sporty tomboy, with electric-blue skinny jeans and slinky metallic hoodie tops.

    Wow, they’ve cornered all three demographics! How could this ever fail?

  2. Dan Gibson

    On a somewhat unrelated note, Melody’s father is kind of awesome:

  3. Kate Richardson

    @Dan Gibson: Yeah I considered going off on a Mariachi tangent but figured I’d give Maura a break, haha.

  4. ITMS

    I guess it makes sense that they have the same choreographers as Danity Kane, given that their dancing is just as awkward.

  5. Dan Gibson

    @Kate Richardson: Someday, if we can help it, this will be a Mariachi only music blog.

  6. D.R. Mosby

    So you can buy the girls’ music, and if you like their clothes, you can buy what they’re wearing, too. Too bad J.Lo didn’t think of this years ago.

    Time out. Before we even get to Runway MMC, I have a few words for Katherine Nguyen of the Orange County Register: you couldn’t even bother to Google J.Lo, Jennifer Lopez’s clothing line? Sure, she prefers to go by “Jennifer Lopez” now, but come on.

    Also, Jennifer Lopez had already achieved commercial success as an actor and singer before she made an attempt to parlay that success in the fashion world. I doubt Jennifer Lopez’s fashion line would have gotten a foothold in the marketplace had it not been an extension of her already established brand.

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