Interview with Chief Creative Officer Chris Rosaasen
November 21, 2015
By Greg Monteforte, Style Insider, PGATOUR.COM
- TravisMathew ambassadors (clockwise, from left) Andrew Putnam, Max Homa, Andres Gonzales, Matt Jones, Charley Hoffman, Mardy Fish, and Patrick Cantlay. (Photos courtesy of TravisMathew)
With a casual SoCal vibe and clothing that effortlessly transitions from the course to daily life, TravisMathew has established itself as one of the coolest apparel brands in the game. Our Style Insider caught up with the man behind TravisMathew, Chief Creative Officer Chris Rosaasen, to talk about the evolution of the brand, Keegan Bradley’s Jordan shoes, and how we are all working for the weekend.
Style Insider: How has the TravisMathew brand evolved since the first collection shipped in 2008?
Chris Rosaasen: We're trying to evolve with the times, with how the world is changing. We are also getting better fabrications. Every year we do a global sourcing trip where our manufacturers pitch us on the latest and greatest innovations. These innovations have really helped us to evolve our product.
SI: We saw mostly cotton blends from TravisMathew initially, but recently you have incorporated more performance fabrics into your collections.
CR: We did blends in the beginning because they still looked casual. You can wear them on and off the golf course. Now, our manufacturers have started making these performance blends that don't look super shiny and techy, but still perform great, so we've definitely started doing more with performance fabrics.
SI: The theme for your fall collection is ‘Working for the Weekend.’ What was the inspiration behind this?
CR: I try not to be too personal with every season, but this was definitely one that hit home. The inspiration was that on Mondays, we are all looking forward to Friday. I took that ‘Working for the Weekend’ inspiration and designed a collection where you could basically pack a bag for a long weekend, a golf trip or a surfing trip to Mexico. The idea is that you could pack the same bag with clothes from our Fall Collection and it would work for any of those trips.
SI: What are some of your favorite pieces from the fall collection?
CR: The Dragon Short (a technical hybrid short with a micro stripe design) and the Zinna Polo (a performance pima blend polo with a micro stripe design, shown above) are both really good.
We were able to be a bit more general this season as to what we're able to do with yarn dyes. We are able to do interlock yarn dyes now. We've traditionally done these out of Peru, and they had about an inch-and-a-half repeat (a repeat refers to the distance between the beginning of a particular pattern and the beginning of the next identical pattern). That was the maximum we could do. We started working with a new factory that has new machinery. It allows us to do much larger repeats. Now, we get that really nice hand from the interlock, and we're able to do it in these really cool repeats.
SI: You have a new line called Trademark. How is Trademark different from what we have seen from TravisMathew?
CR: Trademark is for the guy that has evolved a little bit. We cut it about a half size smaller than TravisMathew, so it's a slimmer fit. Now with that said, if you are a bigger guy, you're probably just going to go up another size in it. We are not trying to make it for the guy that is 6’2” and 150 pounds. It has just a slightly slimmer fit.
We're using more natural fibers, like 100% cotton. We're also doing our blends in it, as well. We decreased the length on the polos, too, so you can wear them untucked, which is nice. All of the Trademark pieces can be worn to play golf, but the inspiration leans more towards the casual aspect of things, rather than the golf aspect.
If you're going to go out on a Sunday or for your club championship, you're probably not going to pull Trademark out of the closet. You're going to pull TravisMathew. If you're going out in the afternoon with your buddies, or you're getting ready to go out that night, you're probably going to pull Trademark out of the closet.
SI: We've seen a lot of golf apparel brands get into athletic wear. Earlier this year TravisMathew launched its RED line. Talk a little bit about RED.
CR: RED has been my personal passion project. I was a competitive cyclist. I rode for the US National Team for many years before I got into the golf business. Exercise and working out has been a part of my life. With most athletic wear, you look like you're trying to be a professional athlete when you're wearing it. It's bright colors, and it's over the top. Then you have Lululemon. They make some great quality stuff, but it is something that my wife wears. I’ve never felt comfortable in it.
Our answer at TravisMathew is apparel that you can be casual in. You can be a guy that’s 25 to 60 years old, and not look like you're trying to be the professional athlete that you're not. The RED line is made out of fabrics that still perform great, but then you can also go to your kids’ soccer game, and go get coffee in it and still look casual. We've had good success with it so far.
SI: You have a strong stable of TOUR players with Keegan Bradley, Chris Kirk, Charley Hoffman, Matt Jones and Andres Gonzales to name a few. How do their personal styles mesh with the TravisMathew brand?
CR: We’ve been lucky enough that we've actually turned down a lot of top players because I haven't felt that they aesthetically fit in with the TravisMathew brand. We feel that every one of our players fit the Travis Mathew DNA.
Now with that said, each one of our guys has a totally different style to them. Keegan Bradley and Chris Kirk couldn't be more different. Chris Kirk is the laid back southern guy, and Keegan Bradley is this up-tempo big personality. Then you take that to an Andres Gonzales and a Charley Hoffman. All of those guys at the core have the same philosophy. They like having a good time. None of them take themselves too seriously, but they all care about how they look. That is a really nice combination that all of our guys have.
I definitely design pieces with different players in mind, though. In fact, Chris Kirk [wore] the Trademark line exclusively through the [FedExCup] Playoffs. He [was] our only guy wearing it, because he's way more understated and casual, and he likes things a little bit slimmer.
I take inspiration from all of them, and it's been fun having Keegan on board. He has his thing with his Jordan shoes, and likes wearing things a little bit louder. We've been trying to pair up some of the polos with the shoes, and we've been working with the guys at Nike to figure out what shoes he's going to be wearing, so that's been cool.