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When Archie Comics enlisted Rachel Antonoff to help turn its beloved comic series Betty and Veronica into a fashion line, Antonoff had proof that she was the perfect designer for the job.
Not Antonoff’s portfolio, which is full of witty, feminine, and vintage-y looks that make her a great fit for the collab — but literal proof of her comic fandom.
“I still have a bunch of my Betty and Veronicas from when I was a kid,” she tells Racked, saying that she dug the comics out of her parents’ house. “The first time I went to the Archie offices to meet the team, I brought them with me.”
The Betty and Veronica by Rachel Antonoff collection will launch this fall online and via soon-to-be announced retailers, and it’s going to be a full-blown line, not just a one-off capsule. By spring, the collection will offer 80 pieces priced from $78 to $398 — all inspired from the comics’ archives and meant to evoke what Betty and Veronica might wear in 2016.
“We really wanted to find a balance between slapping their faces on shirts and then also just having clothes that feel like Betty and Veronica would like and would wear,” Antonoff says.
But true fans will definitely see the characters in the clothes. “All of the prints are very Betty and Veronica-centric,” she says. “I think each one is pretty recognizable. Even though we did a polka dot, but you look closely, you can see they're actually speech bubbles, not polka dots.”
Coincidentally, the characters’ 1950s’ era-style happens to be making a resurgence at the moment, from pins and patches to varsity jackets. “I think we sort of lucked out in terms of trend forecasting for now. Because things like patches and pins and all of that are technically on trend, and it feels so Betty and Veronica,” Antonoff says.
The line is part of a larger focus on the comic, timed to the 75th anniversary of Archie Comics. There’s a new reboot of the comic, Betty and Veronica #1, which just came out, and a fall debut of a CW show inspired by the characters called Riverdale (described by Antonoff as “Twin Peaks meets Pretty Little Liars”).
But for Antonoff, reading the original comic as a child might’ve been a big part of developing her own sense of style.
“I think in hindsight, that was the part that I was really obsessed with, sort of the same way you might watch Sex and the City more for Carrie's outfits than her puns,” she says. “I think Betty and Veronica were fashion icons in their own right. The illustrators were true designers. If you look back through the archives, the details of clothing and how it's specific to the decade they're in, it's actually astounding.”
Antonoff, who also just unveiled a plus-size collection with Gwynnie Bee, was so surprised when she first got an email from Archie Comics about a possible fashion partnership that she spilled her cup of diner coffee.
Fans of Betty and Veronica seemed just as excited when Antonoff posted news of the line on her Instagram, posting comments like “Yes yes yes yes yes!! dreams do come true” or “Two of my favorite things. Together” and tagging their friends.
“I'm so pleased about it. I was hoping it would strike the same chord with people as it did with me and be a coffee-spilling moment,” Antonoff says.
Since this is the designer known for wool sweaters and tees emblazoned with a female reproductive system graphic, this new line is going to be way more about female friendship than about fighting over some guy named Archie. She says:
One of the reasons I was really excited to do this was because when people think Betty and Veronica, they think Archie. One of their highlighted storylines was that they were two girls fighting over a boy. We were very excited to switch the focus to their friendship. There are actually so many examples when you go through the archives of how they were really supportive of one another, and there's just a lot more than them to Archie and we're excited to show that Betty and Veronica.