Pret-a-Reporter

Kenan Thompson's New Clothing Line Is Not an 'SNL' Parody of Kickstarter Campaigns

Noam Galai/WireImage

Despite appearances.

With its cartoonish logo (a bug-eyed flying pig) and its uninspired tagline, "graphic apparel made to make you smile," Smile Parade seems, by all appearances, to be a joke. Or at least, a children's clothing line from the year 1986 which somehow time-traveled to the year 2017 with all its cheesy marketing materials in tow. 

But the lifestyle label, which produces hoodies, tees and hats (available as snapbacks and dad hats) emblazoned with cartoon animals wearing clothes, is very real and not the parody of Kickstarter campaigns we believed it to be upon first laying eyes on the images of a worm wearing a polo tee and curlers or a chameleon dressed as a Redcoat. 

 

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The brain behind Smile Parade is none other than Kenan Thompson of SNL and Good Burger fame, who, according to the brand's Kickstarter page, created the label "to showcase great artwork by young talents." The brand has raised $625 of the $25,000 goal since launching in mid-July. 

"A few of you may be wondering, what is the Smile Parade?" begins mind-reader Thompson on his Kickstarter video. "Well, it's a high-quality fashion and apparel brand featuring cool, unique characters."

He goes on, "I like comfy clothes and I like cool art so I got a buddy of mine, Michael Mosley, to design some cool characters. Michael is really good at drawing stuff and I like comfy clothes and it seemed like there was a perfect little storm brewing there." 

According to WWD, there is a charity component to Smile Parade, though Kickstarter doesn't allow brands to make mention of that on their pages. Thompson tells the trade that a portion of proceeds from Smile Parade will benefit My Stuff Bags Foundation, a non-profit that provides children entering shelters or foster care with toys, clothing, books and other necessities. All of the products will also be made in America, which contributes to the pricey $49 cost of the tees (hoodies will retail for $99).

While the intentions may be pure, the success of Smile Parade's uber cheery marketing material (a call to the company's phone number, 833-SMILE-11, is answered with a "Hellooooooo!" from what sounds like a caffeinated clown) remains to be seen. In the meantime, to stir up interest Smile Parade is hosting a contest where donors and regular folk alike can suggest names for the "Smile Parade Cast." Winners and chosen names for the flying pig and hoodie-wearing shark characters will be revealed in mid-August

Head to SmileParade.cool (yep) for more info.

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