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By Mehgan Belanger and Tammy Mastroberte
NEW YORK -- It was a heady mix of vibrant hues, flowing fabrics, celebrities and flash bulbs at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, held here Sept. 5-12, 2008. Fueling the show—which featured the latest in luxury fashions for spring 2009 displayed by world-renowned designers including Vera Wang, BCBGMaxazria, Reem Acra and others—was its 2008 Official Energy Drink, BAWLS Guarana.
"Where there is need for caffeine or energy, we want to be there" Sabrina Gonzales, spokeswoman for BAWLS, told CSNews Online. "There has been a demand [in the fashion industry]. It has become drawn to our product’s unique, refreshing taste, and beautiful glass packaging."
But why would an energy drink company—with a product category demographic leaning heavily to the male, blue collar, c-store shopping type—want to be involved in the fashion industry?
"Just because they aren’t convenience store shoppers doesn’t mean they don’t have a need for a refreshing, invigorating beverage," she added of the fashion industry personnel. "[Fashion] is an audience our market doesn’t reach out to that often, but they appreciate our design and taste. They don’t look to energy solely for function, they want to enjoy what they are drinking."
In the show’s main lobby, attendees’ thirsts were quenched with barrel coolers filled with a variety of BAWLS’ offerings, including Guarana, Cherry, Exxtra and its latest flavor, G33K B33R, a root beer flavored, caffeinated energy drink. The beverage was also present in all the VIP lounges, gift bags and partner shows backstage, fueling the models and staff who make Fashion Week come together. For those looking for something different, an open bar served BAWLS beverages in cocktails in the lobby.
This year, to correlate with the event, the beverage maker held the 2008 Ultimate Fashion Experience Contest, which awarded 18-year-old Clarissa Sutker from Wisconsin admission into some of the most popular, invite-only shows at Fashion Week in New York.
BAWLS began sponsoring fashion industry events in 2006, with swimwear shows in Miami. In 2007, it sponsored the Gen Art Fresh Faces Fashion, made up of five shows. This year, it was a sponsor of and offered its product at all five Fashion Week shows, held in Miami, New York and Los Angeles. The company focuses on emerging designers, and emerging and sustainable fashion, Gonzales said. In 2007, BAWLS sponsored the Portland Fashion Week, the first-ever sustainable fashion show where the clothing and the facility, including the runway, were made from eco-friendly, sustainable materials, she said.
Outside of the fashion industry, BAWLS is the Official Energy Drink of BMX racing, and also sponsors paintball and video game events.