The Style Report

    Style Insider: Jerry Kelly interview

    Kelly's role as brand ambassador and beyond for Chase54

  • Jerry Kelly joined the Chase54 team in 2015. (Photos courtesy of Chase54)Jerry Kelly joined the Chase54 team in 2015. (Photos courtesy of Chase54)

Many PGA TOUR players sign new apparel deals at the beginning of the calendar year, but Jerry Kelly’s new partnership with Chase54 goes beyond being just a brand ambassador. The three-time PGA TOUR winner has ideas about how golf apparel should fit and perform, and in his role as a strategic advisor for the brand, Kelly will be personally involved in the design and construction of the pieces.

Our Style Insider talked with Jerry about his new role, his design philosophies and his favorite pieces in Chase54’s latest collection.

How did you get hooked up with Chase54? What attracted you to the brand?

Inga Hammond knew Lulu Faddis (Creative Director & Chief Designer for Chase54) and connected us. I knew Jason Kokrak was wearing Chase54 on TOUR last year and I liked the look of his clothes. I wasn’t necessarily looking to change apparel for 2015. If I did, I wanted to be involved beyond just wearing the clothes and a logo. Chase54 gave me that opportunity.

Your partnership with Chase54 goes beyond being an ambassador for the brand. You will also be a strategic advisor. What will this entail?

I’m going to be heavily involved in choosing fabrics, designs and the construction of the pieces. I will go to design meetings. I will work with Lulu to choose fabrics and to create designs that incorporate movement and enhance range of motion. I will also be invited to participate in strategy meetings with the executive team.

I’ve been out here (on TOUR) for a long time. I have a lot of ideas about how apparel should fit and perform at this stage of my career. I don’t want to be just a billboard. I want to be involved in the design. I want Chase54 to use me on a personal level by giving feedback about the apparel and helping to build the brand.

Chase54 is known for its innovative and eco-friendly fabrics. How will you influence the selection of fabrics?

One thing I’ve learned throughout my career is just because a fabric feels good, doesn’t mean that it is comfortable. There are a lot of technical fabrics on the market, but comfort goes beyond wicking sweat and keeping you dry. I want to dive into the kinds of design features that shirts should have. So many shirts don’t have playability features built into them. The technical aspect of the fabric and design needs to work for the player. It needs to be technically perfect.

So, does performance trump style? How does Chase54’s apparel fit your personal style?

Performance is important, but it needs to be done with style. My style is a combination of mid-western, preppy, modern and casual. I’ve changed over the years, though. I used to be more traditional, but I’m definitely more modern and casual these days.

Chase54 is perfect for my style. I want someone in the Midwest between the ages of 35 and 70, who is keeping in shape, to be comfortable and casual, but also to have a very clean look while wearing the apparel. It seems like other brands are either super fitted and tight or oversized and baggy. I want something in the middle.

What are a few of your favorite pieces from Chase54’s latest collection?

I’ve been wearing pieces from the fall collection and looking forward to the spring collection. I wear blue on Sundays and they have hit the color on the head. I’m really excited about the outerwear, too. It is fitted, yet it is easier to swing in. I like that it is tighter in the sleeves. There is no excess material. My son has been wearing one of the jackets as a winter coat in Wisconsin, so you know it is warm and it is has great range of motion.

How has the design and performance of golf apparel changed since you started your PGA TOUR career?

It really hasn’t. Fabrics have gone from polyester to cotton and back to polyester. It has all come full circle. Where we really need to improve golf apparel is through the design and construction to offer more playability.

What footwear will you be pairing your Chase54 threads with in 2015?

FootJoy. I’ve been with them a long time. The XPS base that they have is the most stable for me. Plus, with the customization they can do, I can always have shoes to match my Chase54 clothing.

Follow Jerry Kelly as he plays this week in the Valero Texas Open

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