Years before private jets and helicopters circled like seagulls above the Hamptons and Ubers and Lyfts clogged Sunrise Highway, the Hampton Jitney was shuttling passengers to and from Manhattan. The bus service remains the preferred mode of transportation for many, with one million riders using it each year.
Now Lauren Moshi has teamed with the Hampton Jitney to give the company a fashion spin with some collaborative classic styles.
Moshi, an Otis College of Art and Design graduate, created her company in 2003 with her brother Michael Moshi, who serves as chief executive officer. The brother-and-sister team have joined forces with Andrew Lynch, whose family owns the bus service.
Moshi’s designs for consumers include references to 1974, the year that Jim Davidson started the business — to offset the oil crisis — with a van equipped with a bike rack to shuttle people between different Hamptons towns. After the founder became ill in the ’80s, the Lynches, who were distant cousins, bought the company in 1988.
The collaborative tank tops, T-shirts, tote bags, pullovers and zip-front hoodies are offered in the forest green and other key colors that the bus service uses for its branding. Moshi also designed a polo shirt that Jitney employees are wearing this summer. J. Crew suited up employees at one point but there has not been a partnership before like the one with Moshi, according to Lynch. Given the brand recognition for his company and the designer’s, Lynch said, “We thought it would be interesting to explore that to see if we could get some traction.”
The alliance could potentially continue with future projects including the Hampton Jitney’s 50th anniversary in 2024. Synonymous with summer and summer shares for many, the brand’s heritage has artistic accents. Over a cocktail one night, the artist Roy Lichtenstein drew a wave for his friend Davidson that became the Hampton Jitney’s logo. Lynch said, “It has not changed since it was designed. Both the font and the graphic have remained untouched. It was literally a back-of-the-napkin sketch. It was more of a friendly gesture. Over the years we’ve lost track of the original napkin, which we did have at one point.”
Before approaching The Jitney about teaming up, Moshi said she had been thinking, “‘What is summer and what does summer mean to you?’ The first thing that we think of is the Hamptons.”
The designer drew her version of a Jitney bus that is stamped on the back of a hoodie and on a generous-sized tote bag. As a fan of Lichtenstein, Moshi was keen to include the wave logo in the collaboration. The two family-owned businesses opted for a collaboration instead of a licensing deal, although Moshi has several with Blondie’s Debbie Harry, Elton John and Aerosmith, among others. Some of the campaign images for the designer’s Jitney capsule collection were shot on and around one of its buses.
Commuters and leisure travelers still comprise the Hampton Jitney’s base but post-COVID-19 the Friday-to-Sunday rush has stretched out into more balanced ridership during the course of the week, Lynch said. “The migration that occurred during COVID[-19] to areas like the Hamptons has become somewhat permanent for many people. It was reflected in the census numbers before COVID[-19] and certainly will have increased since then,” Lynch said. “We’ve seen the year-round ridership has improved year-over-year…With the balance that people can have in their lives by living in a beautiful area like the South Fork or the North Fork, I think we’re going to see some of those numbers stick.”
Moshi’s plans to visit the Hamptons this summer are in limbo due to an elbow injury that recently required radial head surgery. (Later this month or next month could be a possibility.) “If I get cleared, I would love to. I had a bad fall. But thank God it was my left arm. I’m totally fine,” she said.
In the meantime, gifting is planned for out-and-about Hamptonites like Kelly Ripa and Cristina Cuomo. Retail prices for the apparel range from $97 for the tank top to $198 for the zip-front hoodie. Hats will retail for $66 and tote bags are $88. Uncertain of sales projections, Moshi’s team is prepared to do another production run thanks to the company’s reliance on Los Angeles manufacturing. The assortment will be sold online and in Moshi’s flagship on North Robertson Boulevard not far from The Ivy. With distribution of her signature line in such stores as Revolve, Kitson and Harvey Nichols Hong Kong, as well as Hamptons’ retailers Blue One and Xanadu, the designer is counting on some of that brand recognition to help sales for the Jitney-inspired line.