Andre 3000 Benjamin has a new job.
After a relatively busy 2016 — he appeared on songs with Travis Scott, Frank Ocean, Solange and Kanye West — the artist and Outkast member will now work with Tretorn, the 126-year-old Swedish footwear and outerwear brand that was purchased by Authentic Brands Group last year.
According to Nick Woodhouse, ABG’s president and chief marketing officer, Tretorn was looking for an influencer of sorts and reached out to Benjamin, who just happened to be a fan of the tennis sneaker.
“It was very serendipitous,” Woodhouse said. “We wanted to work with Andre because he resonates with all ages and he’s an OG. He’s not a flavor of the month. There are a lot of terrific, young influencers out there, but Andre is established. These young kids are reaching out to him to collaborate. That’s why we did this.”
The stylish rapper, who is 41 years old, will appear in Tretorn’s global brand campaign for fall, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its classic Nylite sneaker, and design a capsule collection of footwear for 2018. Woodhouse said Benjamin will work directly with Marc Fisher, who holds the Tretorn footwear license, to update its traditional styles and create new silhouettes. For now he’s just signed to work on footwear, but helping Tretorn with apparel could happen down the line.
“He came to the meeting with sketches of shoes,” Woodhouse said. “He has a very clear point of view on style, the way he dresses and the way he carries himself.”
This isn’t Benjamin’s first fashion pursuit. Outkast had a short-lived clothing line, and in 2008, Benjamin introduced his own men’s wear collection named Benjamin Bixby. He also appeared in Gillette commercials in 2012.
Tretorn, which was sold by Puma last year to ABG, is in the midst of a revamp. Woodhouse previously told WWD that Tretorn is hoping to tap into the sneaker craze with more fashion-forward designs but remain true to the brand’s heritage as a tennis sneaker. The brand is also hoping to grow out its apparel offering and expand distribution.
“Sneakers are so hot right now and the minimal look is hot, which is what Tretorn is about,” Woodhouse said. “We are making sure that the name of Tretorn gets out there in the sphere of the youth, and the idea with Andre is to make the brand more famous than what it is so the Millennial customer can understand it.”