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Robert Graham (fashion brand)

Robert Graham Designs
Company typePublic
IndustryFashion
FoundedNew York City, New York, United States (2001 (2001))
Founder
  • Graham Fowler
  • Robert Stock
Headquarters
New York City, New York
,
USA
Area served
  • North America
  • Europe
Key people
  • Andrew Berg (CEO)
ProductsClothing and Accessories
Brands
  • Robert Graham
  • Limited Edition
  • Modern Americana
OwnerCentric Brands
Websitewww.robertgraham.us

Robert Graham is a New York-based luxury men's fashion brand launched in 2001, taking its name from its co-founders, fashion designer Robert Stock and textile designer Graham Fowler. It is known for its use of complicated and colorful fabric patterns, including contrasting patterns inside the cuffs of its shirt sleeves.[1][2]

History

Robert Stock is a native of the Bronx whose interest in fashion was influenced by his father, a mechanic and gas station owner who liked to wear bright, colorful, patterned shirts.[3][4] He began his career working for small New York-based menswear designer Paul Ressler, but in 1970 created his own line called Country Britches.[5] While still working at a local men's store in the Bronx, he met fellow New York designer Ralph Lauren when Lauren entered the store as a tie salesman.[6] The two became friends and Stock sold his own company to collaborate with Lauren on his Chaps collection.[1][3][7] The two parted ways in 1975 for Stock to launch his own Country Roads line, for which he won a Coty Award for Best American Sportswear Designer and a Cutty Sark Award for Leading American Men's Wear Designer.[5][7] He then developed his Robert Stock Designs brand, growing internationally, until forming Robert Graham.[5]

The idea that would become Robert Graham came after meeting Graham Fowler, a French textile designer.[3] The two launched the label in 2001. Fowler left the following year to pursue other projects while Stock remained to serve as co-chairman and Chief Creative Officer.[4][7]

As of 2019 Robert Graham has 21 retail stores and 12 outlet stores, and is sold by independent boutiques as well as large department store chains like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sak's Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale's. It has a flagship store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.[8]

Design

Stock and Fowler intended to fill a menswear niche "that craved pops of color and interesting, conversation-provoking pieces," a style Stock would later call "American Eclectic."[7][9] By offering sizes up to 4XL, the brand has been able to expand upon that niche to customers not typically served by luxury fashion labels.[10]

In addition to bright colors and patterns, Robert Graham shirts use contrasting patterns and embroidery on inward-facing surfaces such as inside shirt cuffs, under collars, and along the button line.[11] Printed or embroidered on every garment is the company motto "Knowledge Wisdom Truth."[4] The unusual, frequently hidden details have become as closely identified with the brand as the outward patterns.[12] Though it began with and continues to focus on menswear, and men's shirts in particular, the brand has branched out to pants, shorts, sport coats, outerwear, neckwear, accessories, hats, shoes, and denim.[10][13] In 2005 the company began production of womenswear as well, using the same kinds of color, contrast, and detail-heavy aesthetics.[5][14]

In addition to its main line, the company has offered a number of sub-labels with slightly different aesthetics: the more elaborate, higher-end Limited Edition and Zen lines;[2][9] the more subtle, slim-cut X Collection;[10] a more casual line named after the very first Robert Graham collection, Freshly Laundered Shirt Co.;;[15] and more traditional patterns in the RG line.

All of the fabrics used in Robert Graham shirts are designed in-house and, according to Stock, the embroidery is done such that no two shirts are identical.[3] After discovering "collectors" among customers, the company began its Collector's Club promotion, rewarding those with more than 100 shirts by naming a shirt after them.[10] As of 2014, Robert Graham produces four menswear collections and one women's wear collection per year.[2][16]

In 2012 Stock designed a collection of Robert Graham sunglasses and prescription eyeglass frames for Revolution Eyewear[6][17][18] and in 2014 the company licensed its name to Batallure Beauty to develop a line of fragrances and personal care products.[12][16]

Popular culture

Detail of Townsend Bell's #24 Robert Graham sponsored car at the Indianapolis 500

American Idol judge Randy Jackson frequently wears Robert Graham shirts on the show[19] and the contrasting shirt cuffs have become closely identified with the character Cameron Tucker from the television show Modern Family.[20]

Race car driver Townsend Bell was noted for wearing a Robert Graham polka dotted fedora at the 2013 Indianapolis 500. For the 2014 race, Bell brought the company on as a primary sponsor of his KV Racing Technology Number 6 car. Both the exterior and, unusually, the interior of the car display characteristic colors, patterns, and logos. Bell's racing crew uniforms and firesuit were likewise custom designs.[21][22][23][24] Robert Graham also sponsored Bell's subsequent Number 24 and Number 29 cars, which raced in the 2015 and 2016 Indianapolis 500s, respectively.[25] According to Stock, the company has an interest in motorsports predating sponsorship of Bell, due to a noted overlap in customers and a suggestion by Bill Sweedler, a race car driver and financial manager whose firm, Tengram Capital Partners, owns a majority interest in the company.[26]

References

  1. ^ a b "Fashion Trends & Tips - Robert Stock Designer Profile". Style Chicago. June 2014. Archived from the original on 14 September 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Kissel, William (4 October 2011). "Robert Graham's Shirt Story". Robb Report. Archived from the original on 18 June 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Pugh, Clifford (6 July 2012). "Robert Graham founder unleashes every man's inner peacock with colorful clothing". Culturemap Houston. Archived from the original on 22 March 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Robert Graham". Beck on Melrose. 31 March 2011. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d DeCarlo, Lauren (24 November 2004). "Robert Graham's Softer Side". Women's Wear Daily. Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  6. ^ a b Benz, Breanna (September 2013). "Here Comes the Robert Graham Revolution". 20/20 magazine. Archived from the original on 10 September 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d "Robert Stock biography". Robert Graham official website. Archived from the original on 21 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Store Locator". Robertgraham.us. Archived from the original on 16 October 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  9. ^ a b Bass, Debra (10 July 2007). "Check out these not-so-secret gems in upscale menswear". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. HighBeam. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d Quinanilla, Michael (19 February 2014). "Wild style Robert Graham shirts become collectibles". My San Antonio. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  11. ^ Bailey, Ellen Askin; Gellers, Stan; Nygaard, Sandra; Palmieri, Jean E. (25 July 2005). "Retailers at the collective; the hunt for the next big thing; specialty stores seek alternatives for multicolored stripes in woven shirts, add soft blazers to mix". Daily News Record. HighBeam. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  12. ^ a b Johnson, Jill (January–February 2014). "The Robert Graham Effect: Fashion's contrarian has fun breaking fashion rules". Westport Magazine. Moffly Publications. Archived from the original on 8 April 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  13. ^ "Robert Graham Brings Their American Eclectic Style to the World of Denim". China Weekly News. 2 August 2011. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  14. ^ Gillett, Caperton (25 May 2005). "Contrasting Styke; With Showy Linings as Its Signature, Robert Graham Launches at Americasmart". Women's Wear Daily. Archived from the original on 18 November 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  15. ^ Harper, Marques G. (11 August 2010). "Robert Graham has become a staple in the city's night life scene". Statesman. Archived from the original on 29 April 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  16. ^ a b "Robert Graham Enters Licensing Pact with Batallure Beauty". Entertainment Close-up. 14 March 2014. Archived from the original on 15 April 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Revolution: Robert Graham RX". 2020 Magazine. September 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  18. ^ "Revolution: Robert Graham Sunglasses". 20/20 Magazine. October 2013. Archived from the original on 26 January 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  19. ^ Patteson, Jean (7 June 2006). "Fashion Q&A". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  20. ^ Prince, Lilly (17 February 2014). "How Robert Graham Colorized Menswear". Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Robert Graham brings bold fashion to Indianapolis". Associated Press. 9 May 2014. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  22. ^ DiZinno, Tony (19 May 2014). "Indy 500 Highlights: How Townsend Bell puts a deal together". MotorSportsTalk. NBC Sports. Archived from the original on 24 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  23. ^ Estrada, Chris (14 April 2014). "NBCSN's own Townsend Bell joins KV Racing for Indy 500". MotorSportsTalk. NBC Sports. Archived from the original on 20 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  24. ^ "KV Racing Technology Unveils Robert Graham Designed Livery for Townsend Bell Indy 500 Entry". PaddockTalk. 10 May 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  25. ^ Clash, Jim (21 May 2015). "Townsend Bell's 'Robert Graham Special' Is Coolest Car At Indy 500. But Can It Win?". Forbes. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  26. ^ Clash, Jim (25 May 2016). "Robert Graham Shirts: Where Indy 500 Speed And California Pizza Meet". Forbes. Archived from the original on 17 January 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
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Robert Graham (fashion brand)
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