Fruit of the Loom launched in 1851, out of a textile mill in Rhode Island. More than a century later, the brand’s underpants are on store shelves (and people’s behinds) around the world. Now Fruit of the Loom wants to exploit that brand recognition to increase sales with a new capsule collection of dresses, blouses, button-down shirts, and fancy sweatshirts.
To bring the collection to life, Fruit of the Loom recruited German fashion designer Dorothee Loermann to channel a ’90s aesthetic. “There’s a lot of positive memories and great nostalgia associated with brands that were popular in the ’90s in Europe,” Loermann says. “Fruit of the Loom was one of them. Customers remember the superior quality of their Fruit of the Loom soft T-shirts and sweatshirts.”
Loermann, who formerly ran the womenswear side of niche clothing line Surface to Air, used those soft T-shirts and sweatshirts as her jumping off point.
“We wanted to create the range around a more modern approach to these garments, combining our history with new technology,” she tells Co.Design. “We want to offer a complete look for men and women, so we completed these pieces with dresses, shirts, and bottoms. We had lot of freedom as sweatshirts can be easily worn with more chic and classy items (such as a blazer) or with very feminine pieces (such as skirts or floaty dresses).”
The timing couldn’t be better, as fashion has returned to a slouchy ’90s aesthetic. Designers like Alexander Wang practically normalized the $90 tee, and other designers have been releasing chic, well-cut athletic wear that’s designed to be worn anywhere but the gym.
Loermann pulled inspiration from decades-old material found at the Fruit of the Loom headquarters in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Photos, patterns, preserved garments, and old advertisements helped her figure out how to create a line that felt rooted in the company’s history. On the older products, “we studied staple length of yarns and finishing processes…and worked on special stitching and reinforcement to create long-lasting styles,” she says, adding that these garments are meant to be bought and worn for several seasons. The lookbook is filled with solid colors and basic silhouettes. Nothing is too trendy, which makes it difficult to dispose of later.
The Seek No Further popup shops (designed by Universal Design Studio) are open in London and Berlin, and showcasing 17 pieces each for men and women. Future seasons are being developed in London. Prices range from about $70 to $415.