Original Jams is poised for a colorful comeback next spring.
The iconic surf brand, which reached its peak in the Eighties, has been revived by new investors, who have given a fresh spin to the line famous for its vivid floral prints. Under the aegis of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Bedrock Creative Office, Original Jams will be back in stores for spring 2014 with a full lineup of men’s and women’s swimwear and casual sportswear — all inspired by those Hawaiian prints.
“This brand is so rich in history. It’s one of those brands that really helps define the history of American apparel,” said Maurizio Donadi, cofounder and chief creative officer of Bedrock Creative Office.
The spring assortments include men’s swim trunks in patchwork, cargo and drawstring styles, with women’s swimwear to be added in 2015. Men’s and women’s sportswear offerings include madras shirts, military-style jackets, terry cloth sweatshirts, chino pants and T-shirts with hand-drawn graphics. The brand’s signature prints are used as accents on many pieces, such as on the back of a shirt collar or the inside pocket of a jacket. Denim pieces are patched with the printed surf fabric.
Most of the fabrics in the line are cotton, with some linen and voile pieces in the mix, all of which is washed down for a lived-in feel and soft hand. Fits are true to size, steering away from the baggy look of earlier Original Jams styles, but not hewing too closely to the skinny-fit territory of some premium brands today.
The line is priced at the entry level of the premium zone, with men’s swim trunks retailing from $98 to $135, sweatshirts from $110 to $120, pants from $135 to $165 and jackets from $225 to $275.
Original Jams was founded by the late David Rochlen, a onetime analyst for Rand Corp. and an avid surfer, in Honolulu in 1964. The first pair of trunks were, in fact, created by Rochlen’s wife, Keanuenue, from a pair of cutoff pajamas at the couple’s kitchen table — hence the name, Jams, which stems from “pajamas.”
After riding a wave of popularity through the late Eighties, the brand was shuttered in 1988 and has remained largely dormant since. Last September, Rochlen’s son, Pua, sold an 80 percent stake in Original Jams to Bedrock Manufacturing Corp., the Texas-based investment and brand management vehicle for Tom Kartsotis, the founder and former chairman of watch giant Fossil Corp. Bedrock Creative Office, which is overseeing the relaunch, is a partnership between Bedrock Manufacturing and Donadi, previously a senior executive at Levi’s.
Bedrock Manufacturing earlier this year launched the Shinola brand of American-made watches. The firm also owns Filson, has a controlling stake in Mollusk Surf Shop and has minority investments in Steven Alan, Clare Vivier and Marissa Webb.
Retailers got their first peek at the revamped Original Jams at the Bread & Butter show in Berlin earlier this month. The brand is targeting specialty retailers this first season and Donadi is aiming to be in 150 to 200 accounts in the spring.
“We generated a lot of interest at Bread & Butter — we probably have over 500 inquiries from stores — but we haven’t finalized any orders yet,” he noted. “We’ll be doing that this month and in Las Vegas at the Liberty show in August.”
Donadi expects men’s sales to slightly outpace women’s, at least in the first few seasons.
The originaljams.com e-commerce site will launch early next year. The company plans to open a freestanding store in Venice Beach or Santa Monica in the spring and is considering real estate options now.
The military-inspired elements in the designs complement the floral prints in an unexpected, but historic, way. “A lot of surfers in Hawaii and California in the Sixties were stationed at military bases on the Pacific. They would wear a lot of military gear and jackets casually, after they surfed,” explained Donadi. “So we went and looked at vintage surplus and military pieces and we added pockets with the same prints as the surfwear.”
Original Jams is separate and distinct from Jams World, a casual lifestyle brand that was started by Rochlen in the Eighties as an offshoot of Original Jams. Jams World, which is now headed by Pua Rochlen, targets a less trendy, more mature customer with its printed resortwear than Original Jams.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye