When the Brooklyn Nets went shopping for fresh talent to improve on last year’s 20-62 record, they searched far and wide for their new stars, including D’Angelo Russell and Allen Crabbe. But when it came to relaunching the team’s line of apparel and bling, the team did just the opposite, finding inspiration in five local brands, most of them based in Brooklyn.
As the team’s 2017-18 season starts tonight, the Nets will be marketing a whole new merchandise line called Brooklyn Cool, which includes hats, shirts, classic jackets, athleisure wear, jewelry and more. “Brand Brooklyn is about more than basketball,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, the Nets parent company, in announcing the new collection. “By partnering with local designers with a finger on the pulse of the borough’s style, we can further integrate the Nets into the lives of our fans.”
The local-apparel inspiration started with the company outfitting local boxing hero Danny Jacobs, not just for the ring but “also for having a merchandise collection that would tie back from a retail perspective,” said Tyrel Kirkham, v.p. of global merchandising for BS&E. The company turned to Antler & Woods, a Boerum Hill-based apparel company that mixes city and country culture. As Kirkham told The Bridge: “Antler & Woods was great, and when we first had the initial discussion as it relates to bringing Brooklyn Cool onboard and launching it in conjunction with the Nets, they were the first partner that we thought of, based on success we had on the boxing side.”
When it came to curating and marketing the overall collection, BS&E turned to Curiology, an “experience design” firm, and Rank + Rally, which handles merchandising for sports teams. “I myself live in Brooklyn and am in tune with fashion,” said Kirkham, “and we were thinking about the right alignment and the right product mix too. We didn’t want it to be all about menswear. There needs to be a jewelry piece, a collectible element. We wanted to represent a lot of different categories within fashion and merchandising.”
When fans attend the team’s home opener at Barclays Center on Friday, they’ll see the new merchandise on display at the recently redesigned Swag Shop, as well as online at NetsStore.com. A look at the five local brands partnering with the Nets:
With a retail store situated just four blocks from the Nets arena at 374 Atlantic Ave., the company’s co-founder Michael Dinzebach told The Bridge that he was excited about the opportunity to keep things in the neighborhood. Antler & Woods describes its brand as “taxis and taxidermy,” or in other words, “where country roads and street culture collide.” Dinzebach is a native of St. Louis, while his co-founder Caitlin Quinn grew up in Boerum Hill. For this specific collaboration, Dinzebach said that the brand was given four colors to work with and provided the Nets with an extensive line. “We want to design things that people in 20 years will want to wear,” he said. “Things that don’t look dated and things that will last. We’re drawing inspiration from people in Brooklyn and what they wear. It’s fun to see things come together.”
The Williamsburg-based company was started in 2008 by three friends from New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. The brand’s headquarters, at 90 Wythe Ave., contains both a store and an event space featuring performances by DJs. The store provides a large selection of menswear, some unisex apparel, and a variety of home goods and vintage products.
IGWT, which stands for In God We Trust, is the clothing, jewelry, and interior-design firm launched in 2004 by Shana Tabor. A New Hampshire native, Tabor creates collections that blend the influence of her New England upbringing with an irreverent sensibility. When it came to designing for the Nets, she told The Bridge in an email, “We wanted to keep our IGWT style through the collection, which has always encompassed simple, wearable/usable design with humor. The aim was to redesign certain IGWT pieces that have always been a staple part of our collections and give them a theme that collates to the project and represents Brooklyn and The Nets, in a fun way.” IGWT has stores in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Portland, Ore. A new women’s apparel line called Beth, after Tabor’s middle name, will consist of simple, ready-to-wear basics.
Pintrill, which has a store at 231 Grand St. in Williamsburg, is all about collectible pins. The three-year-old company “creates pin designs that are inspired by popular culture icons and sayings–anything ranging from emoji designs, popular sayings, fun memes, and more,” the result being “wearable iconography that captures the zeitgeist of our time.” Pintrill will create unique designs for the Nets, as it has with many other brands ranging from movie series (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) to bands (The Chainsmokers) to clothing lines (Levi’s). Of seasonal interest: the company’s array of “creepy” pins.
The lifestyle brand with roots in hip-hop culture has shops on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and in Rockville Center on Long Island. The firm designs sneakers, sportswear and other lifestyle garb for major brands like Puma and other activewear companies. Collaborating on special projects with fashion brands, the company aims for “a next-level scope of creativity, trend-savvy and storytelling,” according to its website.