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Paul Frank, if you've not heard of him, is an American clothing designer, most famed for his T-shirts that came in every colour under the sun and featured a cartoon monkey called Julius. About 10 years ago numerous celebrities started wearing these Julius T shirts. Reading some trashy magazine, seeing a boy band member wearing one of these T shirts and thinking 'I want one!' is where I first discovered Paul Frank, and now I'm an addict.
The story goes that in 1995, in California, Paul Frank made a wallet from a piece of orange vinyl, it caught on and he started making many more accessories from this material and the rest, as they say is history. He now of course has branched out to all sorts of things. Womenswear, Menswear, a kids range called Small Paul, glasses, shoes.. I even saw a Paul Frank bike on the net the other day!
I have one of Paul Frank's signature vinyl bags and it's my pride and joy. Mine is blue, round and feature the iconic Julius the Monkey face. I've had it about four years now and it still looks as good as new. The best thing about him using this material is that is waterproof, very hard wearing and wipe down, so will last and last. Being so hardwearing and of course designer these things don't come cheap. I don't know how much my bag cost as it was present from my other half, but I know he got it from a cute rocky boutique in Kingston that didn't have prices on the things in the window!!
Paul Frank used to have a flagship store in London, which was like a little heaven for me, they sold everything Paul Frank from clothing and nightwear to watches and even beach towels. I bought a beach towel there on my one and only shopping visit. It cost £30 and again was excellent quality. Alas I stupidly took it to a festival a year later and it was stolen. (Little bit of advice, if you are doing any music festivals this summer, take only cheap nasty stuff with you so no one will want to nick it from your tent). The store has now closed down and the only way to buy Paul Frank now in the UK is certain little independent retailers or online.
I have seen a few surf shops in Cornwall who stock a lot of the Paul Frank beachwear, a great little store called DNA I visited in Oxford a few years back and bought a hoodie from also stock a wide range. It's just a case of keeping your eyes peeled. Hence now when I see something some where I have to have it!
Online the main place to order is at www.doublesixstore.com which is the main store that deliver in the UK. Also www.figleaves.com have recently started stocking Paul Frank underwear and swimwear. I have ordered from this company before and thoroughly recommend them, (Please read my review, sorry, shameless plug!)
The other online option of course is ebay, but beware of the enormous amount of fakes on here. There are many listings from Hong Kong, avoid these, almost sure to be fakes. Have a look at genuine Paul Frank merchandise and look closely at the shape of the characters images and then look closely at the pictures. A lot of the time the images won't look quite right, if the characters look any way out of proportion it's probably a fake. More likely to be real are the private sellers selling of their second hand Paul Frank. I bought a long sleeved Julius T shirt from an ebay store. It only cost me £7 so I should have known, but when it arrived, although the print was quite convincing, it was horrble thin material, cut really skimpily and had a nasty itchy plastic label. Needless to say holes developed down the seam after a few washes. All I can say is if it looks too good to be true it probably is.
I mention 'characters' because, apart from the most famous , Julius the Monkey, Paul Frank tees and accessories feature other characters in the 'Julius and Friends' series. Worry Bear, Scurvy the Skull and Crossbones and Clancy the Giraffe are also great character but more difficult to get hold of. The UK stockists seem to focus around Julius and while possible to order the full range from overseas sites the postage will set you back nearly the cost of the products in a lot of cases. Ebay is probably the best bet for anything other than Julius stuff.
Of course Paul Frank designs other Mens, Womens, and kids wear which doesn't come under the 'Julius and Friends' series. His style is very 'Little House on the Prarie at the moment, gingham and ruffles feature heavily. Of course, this is even harder to get hold of over here than all the 'Julius and Friends' stuff put together, but I don't mind as it's not so much to my taste.
The main Paul Frank website is great. (www.paulfrank.com) It features magazine style shots of the latest collections, cartoons of Julius and Friends as well as news, competitions and free download wallpapers. (My desktop is now a repeating Julius!) It's worth a look for fans, but as I say, you are best to order from the UK due to steep delivery and customs charges.
Overall, the brand is a favourite of mine. My bag of unknown price and £55 hoodie are still serving me well many years on and looking good as new. They still get many comments from anyone new who sees them. Although you pay a little bit more that you would on the high street, it's not just for the name but the quality that goes with that name. So many names don't justify they price tags with the quality the goods should be for the price. Paul Frank stuff does. So long as you by the genuine article. Avoid anything you see on a London market stall and be careful on ebay (why are they still letting all these fakes slip through the net?) but once you have your piece of PF, it will serve you well.
i own a variety of Paul Frank clothing, from PJ's, hoodies, bags and socks!
I have found them all very hardwearing and have washed them many many times and they are still in perfect condition.
Paul frank clothing is definitley unique and is something which is not the everyones taste- but i love it! MONKEYS ARE COOL!
The range can be expensive, but it is worth having one or two of these items as they are really good to wear.
Paul Frank is becoming more and more popular, and i have started to see more people proudly wearing the breand - especialy as it becomes more affordable. In particular i have seen an increase of people buying the Paul Frank hoodies, with the monkey face on!
These items are available from loads of stores in towns as well as online. you can often pick up a bargin on ebay, but be careful as many of these are fakes from singapore or china, but they look just as good but fall apart after a while!
A brand which is pricey but its a love/hate sort of thing!