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2008 News Releases

National TV show features clothing designed by Longwood alumnus

July 24, 2008

Longwood alumnus Karl Boehm in one of his company's jackets that was featured recently on a national TV show. Longwood alumnus Karl Boehm in one of his company's jackets that was featured recently on a national TV show.

A recent episode of one of television’s highest rated shows had a Longwood University connection.

The 12 dancers who did the opening number on the Fox network’s reality dance show “So You Think You Can Dance” that aired July 10 were wearing outfits by a company started by Karl Boehm, a 2002 Longwood graduate. Boehm, who lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Van Nuys, Calif., is the founder and communications director of TransThread, which markets “retro-futuristic” track jackets that light up.

“On the show they built the choreography around the jackets, which are geared to performers,” said Boehm. “TransThread is the only brand of clothing with electro-thread, fiber optic technology integrated into the garments that glow neon to accentuate a performance. From the beginning it has been our vision to serve as a bridge between the music, the performance and the audience.”

How did this come about? “The show’s stylist saw me wearing one of the jackets at an electro-music concert in May, and she literally grabbed me and asked me where I got the jacket,” Boehm said. “When I told her that I design them, she told me she wanted to use the jackets on her show at Fox. The executive producer was impressed by the jackets, and it took on a life of its own.

“The whole experience has been positive. We received great brand recognition on TV’s fourth highest rated show that week, from Entertainment Weekly. I got to meet a lot of amazing people, was interviewed for Fox’s blog, and there’s talk of designing track suits for the ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ national tour.”

TransThread, which was in development for more than three years and was officially launched in March 2008, is one of two companies that Boehm runs. He is senior strategist for a communications agency, Spiral-B Communications, that deals with event planning and marketing strategy. “Both companies serve as platforms for creativity and innovation,” he said.

A Northern Virginia native who majored in marketing and minored in physics, Boehm (pronounced Bome) started a club for innovators that won best new organization at Longwood and a related two-credit course that earned him the Joan of Arc Award for Leadership. “I was always into inventing and innovation as a discipline. When I was a kid, I would have my mom write letters to Matel with new toy ideas,” he said with a laugh.

After graduating, he returned to Northern Virginia and started a marketing consultancy. “It was my way of inventing for clients, while I worked on my own projects after hours. I’ve never been much for sleep anyway.” Boehm moved to southern California in June 2005. “I moved the sales branch of a real estate directory company I built with one of my clients. We had a lot of customers in California, and I saw the potential for a lot of inventive opportunities there as well.”