Fans of the “Twilight” franchise are choosing sides between vampires and werewolves, and they’re wearing their affiliation on their sleeves — and across their chests, wallets and backpacks.
“The Twilight Saga: New Moon” premieres today, and various brick-and-mortar and online retailers are capitalizing on the series’ popularity.
From screened T-shirts to charm bracelets to purses to makeup (Nordstrom’s products have names such as Mortal Glow blush and Just Bitten lipstick), stores are responding to the “Twilight” craze with gear that allows “Twihards” to broadcast their love of Stephenie Meyer’s books and pay homage to their favorite characters.
Jacob Black plays a larger role in “New Moon,” the series’ second film. His relationship with childhood friend Bella Swan deepens after Edward Cullen, the vampire she loves, leaves his home in Forks to avoid putting her in danger. But Bella comes to learn that Jacob isn’t the boy next door; he’s a shape-shifter who can turn into a wolf.
The clothing and accessories give fans an opportunity to weigh in on whom Bella should be with. There are logos for Team Edward and those that proclaim support for Jacob. In some cases, that creates a friendly rivalry among friends and even families.
Nicole Pulicella, a 15-year-old sophomore at King’s Way Christian High School, got hooked on the “Twilight” series when her best friend and east Vancouver neighbor, Taylor Dennis, turned her on to the novels.
The books aren’t enough, though. The girls needed posters and apparel with images of the movie stars.
“I loved Edward so much, so I had to have clothes,” Nicole said. “I think he’s so cute.”
She has an “I (Heart) Edward” T-shirt from Spencer’s, an “I run with vamps” shirt from Hot Topic and a baby-blue Team Edward top from Nordstrom’s BP. department. One wall in her bedroom is covered with pictures of the hunky “vegetarian vampire.”
Taylor, a 15-year-old sophomore at Mountain View High School, has aligned herself with Jacob, proclaiming her preference with a forest-green Team Jacob T-shirt from Nordstrom and another one she got at Borders when the first “Twilight” film was released.
“I guess that he’s more dependable than Edward,” Taylor said of the shape-shifter.
Nicole’s younger sister, 8-year-old Payton, agrees with Taylor that Jacob is the superior love interest for Bella.
“I like dogs, so I like werewolves,” said the King’s Way Christian Elementary School third-grader, who has Nordstrom’s wine-colored Team Jacob T-shirt. “(Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob) is cute, and I’ve seen a couple movies that he’s in before, and I really like him.”
Those sentiments aren’t shared by a group of Washougal High School “Twilight” fans.
One of senior Bethani Higdon’s favorite aspects of the series is its unexpected portrayal of the Cullens, who are vampires, as protectors of humans. Bethani is happy to show her support for Edward and his clan with T-shirts ordered from cafepress.com bearing sayings such as “I (Heart) Boys Who Sparkle!” (Meyer’s vampires sparkle in the sunlight).
“I’m obsessed with ‘Twilight,’ and I think it’s really cool having people know you’re a fan by what you’re wearing,” said Bethani, 17. “I’m proud to be a fan.”
It’s hard to say definitively how big a fashion retail trend “Twilight” is, as stores such as Nordstrom and Hot Topic declined to be interviewed. A Nordstrom spokeswoman said they were too busy with sales to discuss the “Twilight” merchandise beyond prepared statements, and it’s Hot Topic’s corporate policy not to speak about specific products, stores and sales performance, a marketing manager said.
Anecdotally, however, “Twilight” gear, both mass-produced and handmade, seems to have taken hold in Clark County.
In advance of the premiere, Bethani’s classmate Andrea McClanahan and friends planned to make shirts to prove their devotion to the series. Andrea, 17, wanted to take a black shirt, rip it up a bit for that “rocker look,” add glitter “for the sparkling vampire thing” and emblazon it with Team Edward.
“I prefer Edward. I think he’s a better match for Bella. He makes her feel complete, where she gets more of a friendship vibe off Jacob.”
Andrea’s boyfriend’s sister, Jacquie LeSieur, concurs.
“No one is on Team Jacob,” the 20-year-old Clark College senior from Washougal said of her group of friends. “We just don’t like Jacob. Edward’s nicer looking, he’s a vampire. Jacob’s just not.”
LeSieur was making a shirt as well, and said she and Andrea would wear them to a midnight “New Moon” showing at Cinetopia in Vancouver today.
Wearing “Twilight” gear helps enhance the overall movie-going experience, Andrea said.
“When you get really excited about something, (dressing in themed clothes) shows your support for it and helps you get into the spirit of the whole experience,” she said.
Mary Ann Albright: firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-735-4507.