Like many preppy brands, Boast is freshening up its image and relaunching to the market.
The brand was founded in Greenwich, Conn., in 1973 by tennis pro Bill St. John as an American answer to the European brands such as Izod and Fred Perry. It established itself as a line for rebels with its Japanese maple leaf logo, which looks similar to another popular leaf, and was worn by Ivy League tennis and squash players along with pro tennis players such as John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.
John Dowling purchased the company from St. John in 2010 and in 2012 brought on Ryan Babenzien as chief executive officer and recruited his brother Brendon Babenzien, who now owns Noah, as a consultant on the men’s wear, Andy Spade as a creative consultant and Minnie Mortimer as the women’s designer.
According to Boast’s current ceo, Teddy Bretschger, who, with a group of investors, acquired the brand from Dowling last October, the previous team did a great job of revitalizing the brand and putting Boast back at the forefront of sportswear on the court, but he’s looking to build on that heritage to create an all-encompassing lifestyle brand and make it relevant for a younger consumer.
He’s hoping to do this starting with a Kith pop-up at 337 Lafayette Street in New York, which opened on Aug. 27 in honor of the U.S. Open and will operate through Sept. 6.
“I just think that Ronnie is at the forefront of fashion and style,” Bretschger said. “He’s a total visionary and is able to present something that is preppy in a new and unique way that feels relevant to me.”
The pop-up is quirky with a ping-pong table, a few tennis stadium seats, an umpire’s chair and an oversize racket. The collection being featured at the pop-up, which is exclusive to Kith, includes a varsity jacket, T-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and baseball caps all bearing the Japanese maple leaf logo. The assortment retails from $45 for a T-shirt to $795 for a varsity jacket. Kith Treats will also sell a Game Set Matcha by Boast milkshake flavored with Mint Cookie Malted Milk Balls by Koppers Chocolate and matcha powder.
This launch aligns with the reintroduction of Boast’s e-commerce site and new brand visuals that were spearheaded by Guido Callarelli, who runs his own creative agency called Fam United and has previously worked with Kanye West, Nike, Supreme and Fear of God.
The relaunch falls in line with other heritage preppy brands such as Nautica, Ralph Lauren and Lacoste that have aligned with streetwear. Kith also just released images of its collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger, which will be available this fall.
“From a macro point of view, street culture is as big as its every been,” Bretschger said. “There is a big convergence of street and sport as you see collaborations with Virgil [Abloh] and Serena [Williams]. We are just beginning to see the pendulum swing.”
Bretschger said that during the Eighties, when weed was being demonized, the brand suffered due to the logo’s similarity to a cannabis leaf. Boast and went quiet but maintained its distribution with country clubs along with tennis, golf and racket clubs. Bretschger said they will keep those distribution channels and sell them a core collection that focuses on performance, but also create a lifestyle line to be distributed at target stores across the U.S.