Gangnam Style costume

Gangnam Style costume (October 11, 2012)

Adam Hodge of Highland Park first saw "Gangnam Style" shortly after it went viral, and what he loved the most wasn't the whirlwind dancing, the plethora of girls or gratuitous waves of shaving cream. It was the wonder rendered by all of those elements together.

"It was the cheese, the corniness," said Hodge, 27, who is the president and founder of Spiral Designs. "The moment I saw the video, I knew I wanted to be him for Halloween."

His ambitions were dashed, when, after a costume conversation with his friends, he discovered the "Gangam" get-up was nowhere to be found online.

Hodge used to work in consulting for Cisco, but recently started Spiral Designs, which manufactures different consumer good. He applied the same entrepreneurial spirit to his costume search.

"I couldn't buy it anywhere," he said. "Not eBay, not Amazon. So it went from wanting to wear it on my own to seeing a market for it."

Seeing an opportunity, he said he decided to make something of it   that something being an entire line of "Gangnam Style" costumes. Hodge ventured to local textile companies, choosing fabric, patterns and source materials for the costume, and even approaching local manufacturers for production. However, Halloween was approaching too quickly.

"With the timelines it became a little too much risk, so I partnered up with someone," he said.

Hodge finally discovered some companies already in the business of making similar "Gangnam Style" costumes and was able to create partnerships that allowed him to assist on the distribution end. That's when Hodge called on a mutual friend to set him up with Tyler Herman, an account exectutive at Chicago-based deal site YouSwoop.

"One day when I was going into the gym, I got an email from my buddy. He said he had a friend trying to do this costume," said Herman, 22, of Lincoln Park. "I shot up out of my chair, like, 'holy smokes, this is awesome,' because it said in the email that no one else is really selling this."

Hodge said he was excited to hear from YouSwoop right away, and the comapny's size and local reach made the process more efficient.

"My first conversation with them was last week," he said. "These timelines have been absurd."

Wednesday morning the first available Gangnam costume went live on YouSwoop, bearing a price tag of $39 for the blue tuxedo jacket and bow tie and a guarantee to arrive before the holiday.

The limited-time sale ends Friday, and even thought Hodge still plans to go Gangnam for Halloween, he's ready for the costume-creating to be over.

"I have done nothing but eat, breathe and sleep this for the last 30 days. I put my business on hold to figure it out," he said. "But it has been an amazing learning experience."

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