Posted on February 25th, by HeatherZeller in BLOG, INTERVIEWS.


Sideline style has received a fashion overhaul in recent years, as team-themed items have transitioned from shabby to chic. Retailers continue to stock merchandise that fuses personal style and sports. This past NFL season saw high-end fashion house, Marchesa, team up with the league to develop a limited-edition range of team tees. Though, in general the “luxe sportswear” market is untapped, as it relates to fan apparel. Slater Zorn is the “first line of high-end clothing designed specifically to tap into the niche world of luxury ‘fan fashion.'” Under its mantra,“Where loyalty meets luxury,” the company offers a new approach to fan gear design with its high-quality, logo-less apparel.

The unisex brand features knitwear and accessories in carefully coordinated team hues. The range of separates includes sweaters, capes, tunics and cardigans. Scarves, socks, jewelry and caps are among the additional offerings. The clothes were developed to be long-lasting, so pieces are made with rich materials like Merino wool, cashmere and silk. Versatility is an important characteristic of the brand’s apparel. Fans can mix and match pieces to build the ultimate team wardrobe (as seen below). Items are available exclusively at SlaterZorn.com and prices range from $25 to $625.

(photo courtesy of Slater Zorn Blog)

A Glam Slam spoke with Slater Zorn founder, Beth Wittig, about entering the luxe sportswear market, the company’s focus on versatility, and the trend of fashionable female fan gear. Check it out:

Can you talk about your background and how the company came about? Is your brand born out of a love of fashion and sports?

This is my first foray into fashion as a business. I spent 12 years on Wall Street on a trading desk. Then I had children. I have two boys who were always immersed in sports. I came from a family that was very immersed in sports. I have an older brother and a husband who is a huge sports fan. I was a cheerleader, so sports has always been a big part of my life.

I went to a big school, I went to Penn State. My husband is a big University of Kansas fan and for a long time, we raised our kids there and went to most of the Kansas games. I went to so many games and I am a fashion fan. As I would get dressed for the games all the time I would think to myself, what am I going to wear? Usually for me it’s about a sweater and a pair of jeans and a blazer, but I would always be very mindful of who we were playing to make sure I was in the right colors. I thought for years it would be really great to have a line of clothes that I would like to have in my closet, that I’d wear either at a game or not at a game, at an alumni function, or just because I liked them.

Would you say the versatility of the apparel and accessories is one of the company’s greatest selling points?

Exactly. You want to able to wear it to the office, before a game, to a party. You want it to be a part of your wardrobe. You want it to serve many functions and you want it to last a long time too. If you look at sports and loyalty, there’s heritage and the passing down of an item. You go to the same school as your father and mother. We wanted to take on that being a part of a community feeling and hopefully the product will last as long as the affiliation does.

Slater Zorn’s pieces are pricier than other fan gear lines. Who would you say is your target demographic?

I would say that the demographic is probably a more established one given the nature of the quality of the goods. But there are things, there are Italian Resin Bangles that are $25. My best seller is probably the Lettuce Edge striped scarf and that is $85. So there are items that you can buy that are under $100. In terms of the larger items, yes they are more expensive. I don’t want to ever leave anyone out but at this point in time, I would say it’s probably an older demographic and more of an established alum but there are certainly things there that people can own. We’re trying to make sure it can be aspirational and we’re going to continue to add new things.

The sports fan spectrum spans a wide range of ages, loyalties and tastes. How do you ensure products would appeal across demographics? 

I was really mindful of the age of the fan. Given the price point a lot might be for older fans but there are many things on here, a lot of the clothes, that a younger person who chose to buy it can wear and an older person can too. Somebody can wear the cardigan without a shirt underneath it and somebody can cinch the cardigan with a belt and wear it with skinny jeans or boots. So there are a lot of different ways that you can do each item.

Depending on your age, you would do it a different way. I wanted to make sure that that was a possibility. Items are more on the conservative side, more classic, elegant and tailored, but there are definitely ways to do your own thing with it. And that was really the point, to mix and mingle and match and add to things. And the colors work together. That’s the other idea too, that you continue to build on this wardrobe so that over time you end up having a nice collection of things that all work together.

Slater Zorn offers a new approach to fan gear in the sense that designs are higher-quality and logo-less. Was that a conscious decision? Will you add logos to the gear down the road?

It was a decision to go logo-less initially because it increased the functionality of the items, but I would never say never. If we did do it [add logos] we would do it in our own way and in a very special way. There are always things that make sense and doing it in an upscale way, we might want to. Right now it’s really about not having the logos.

The NFL has ramped up women’s offerings and college apparel companies are doing the same. Do you see a consumer demand for apparel that’s stylish yet sporty? What is your take on the trend of fan gear becoming more fashion-forward?

I think it’s great. I think it’s absolutely necessary because as women, sometimes we’re mothers of sports figures. It doesn’t even have to be pro teams or college teams, it gets crazy at prep schools and high schools. Women are a big part of the fan base and many women love fashion. It’s just this natural combination of the two coming together. Clearly the NFL has seen it and people talk about it. I look at the plethora of people who are blogging and writing about it. I think it’s great, I think it will continue, it’s a multi billion dollar market, the sports apparel market. There’s just always more room for people doing great things. With athletes in fashion, there’s so much crossover in the world and there’s tons of opportunity.

With sporting events like March Madness coming up, fans will be stocking up on new team gear. What are some of your top picks from the brand? What are the most popular pieces?

Certainly the belts, the Needlepoint Belt, which we’ve done just in state. It’s just the colors and then the state profile without any words on it. We have about eleven different combinations so they’re a lot of fun and they really show who you are. I think the Lettuce Edge Scarf is a great one. You can use it as a belt, you can use it as an ascot, you can use it as a scarf, you can tie it around your head. It’s multifunctional and it feels really good, it’s a great weight. I think the jewelry is a lot of fun too because it’s elegant and it’s the classic resin link but done in team colors. That’s really a fun way to add some color to an outfit and have a great piece.

How would you characterize your gameday style?

Usually it’s a shirt and a cardigan, some jeans and usually my cowboy boots or another pair of boots. Or maybe a great over sized sweater and I’ll wear it with a belt. It’s usually a Slater Zorn sweater and jewelry and then my usual jeans, boots and Slater Zorn hand warmers if it’s cold.

Check out a sampling of Slater Zorn’s offerings:

Handkerchief Cardigan ($300)

Shaded Long Resin Link Necklace ($185)

Three Color Shaded Ombre Scarf ($168)

Geelong Zip Cape ($525)

Three Stripe Crew ($248)

Needlepoint And Leather Belt ($175)

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