One of the more frustrating Internet endeavors involves trying to find a specific vintage Starter jacket. While throwback jerseys and snapback hats are abundant, the once-ubiquitous Starter jackets have been out of production since the 90's. You have to hit the jackpot on eBay to find one that meets acceptable standards of quality, size, and design without being prohibitively expensive. Mercifully, that's all about to change, and the man responsible is no less than former Giants and Browns linebacker, original Starter endorsee, and current president of the apparel company G-III, Carl Banks.
As ESPN's Darren Rovell reported in February, G-III is working with Iconix, which purchased Starter from Nike in 2007, to relaunch the satin Starter jackets. The $150 coats will be released in a manner that sneakerheads know all too well: quickstrikes. "We like the idea of limited-edition drops," Banks said at the time. "If we do this right, we could have something that would be as special as sneaker drops; that can generate a kind of excitement that doesn't currently exist in apparel."
(One such drop actually occurred at this week's MLB FanFest, for which 300 of these satin All-Star jackets were produced:
A similar collectors' item is planned for the Super Bowl.)
In a recent phone interview, Banks elaborated on the rollout. Current plans have NFL and MLB satin jackets launching at Sports Authority in September, while NBA satin jackets will hit Foot Locker later that month. "Our Foot Locker program is all about limited releases," says Banks. "There won't be a complete rollout of anything at any one time. It will be spread throughout the year."
In the meantime, the iconic Breakaway jackets (half-zip hooded pullovers with a pocket in front) for the other leagues will also be re-introduced; they will retail for $160 and begin arriving on shelves in November. Eventually, unique colorways—differing color schemes for each team—will appear in boutique retailers. There haven't been any developments with NHL jackets just quite yet, but Starter reps hope to offer them by next spring.
Arguably the most compelling aspect of the relaunch is that it brings the Starter aesthetic to recently-birthed (or re-branded) teams, such as the Brooklyn Nets and OKC Thunder. "That’s the fun part of it," Banks says. "It breathes life into markets that didn’t have Starter jackets at the time they were originally made. Even though they’re new teams, we wanted to make sure that the designs were consistent with the DNA of the Starter jacket."
These are some of the "new" designs:
Now all that remains for Banks to do is convince his former coach, Bill Belichick, to reassume his role as model, and the resurrection of Starter will truly be complete. Give it everything you've got, Carl.
Following contributing writer Ryan Glasspiegel on Twitter wouldn't be the worst idea you had today.