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Starter’s Super Bowl collection is just one piece of its new vision

“We want to stay true to the DNA of who we are, but we look for smart ways to stay relevant,” Carl Banks told Retail Brew.
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Starter

· 3 min read

Outside of the game itself, the big spectacle at the Super Bowl is thought to be the commercials, but throughout the week leading up to the big game, there are actually a number of opportunities for brands to showcase the best they have to offer.

One of those brands is Starter, which is releasing a limited-edition collection for the Super Bowl and will have a presence at a number of activations in Las Vegas, including a pop-up experience store at Mandalay Bay from Feb. 7 though Feb. 10.

  • Starter isn’t a stranger to the Super Bowl, but the big event is just an example of the brand’s evolution in the 21st century, which is being spearheaded by Carl Banks, former New York Giants linebacker and president of G-iii Sports.
  • The two-time Super Bowl champion explained that Starter’s legacy hinges on how it stays relevant in spaces that go beyond sports.
  • During Super Bowl week, Starter is also hosting a Pride event in partnership with the NFL and GLAAD, and a store takeover of Lids the Saturday before the game.

“As all things evolve—people’s sizes [and] style—we want to stay true to the DNA of who we are, but we look for smart ways to stay relevant,” Banks told Retail Brew. “We don’t have to reach because of the legacy of Starter and its roots in sport, fashion, and pop culture.”

Stitch it up: Arguably, Starter’s most iconic product is its satin jacket. The true power behind the jacket and much of Starter’s catalog is the vintage feel, which is an aesthetic many brands including Levi’s and Birkenstock, are tapping into. Banks said Starter has the luxury of a 70-year library of silhouettes, fabrics, and techniques that can be incorporated for new designs.

  • For the Super Bowl collection, Banks said the company wanted to push the envelope with designs—which meant integrating design patterns that heavily incorporate Las Vegas and tested the limits of the NFL’s style guide.
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“Things that weren’t on the style guide that NFL initially rejected, we fought [for] because we’re like, ‘This is elevated. This is Starter. This is branded,’” Banks said. “If you are a brand like Gucci, they will want their DNA to be part of collaboration.”

The big picture: Outside of the NFL, Starter has licensing agreements with the NBA, MLB, and NHL, but Banks told Fox Business last year that the USFL, Arena Football, and college sports could be spaces the brand expands into.

  • When it comes to current and future collaborations, Banks believes Starter’s strength will be bringing innovation in the design of its pieces and leaning into what made Starter a storied brand to begin with.

“I cannot out-technical Nike. They’re a technology company. They put technology in everything,” he said. “But what I can do is continue to innovate in style that is indigenous to our DNA…We want to make sure that there is something elevated about what we put in our products so that when [customers arrive home, it’s a conversation piece.

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.