Meet The Toweling Blazer: The Coolest Piece Of Fashion You Will Ever Own – Forbes
It’s an old cliché that the best new ideas often spring to life from the simplest revelations.
While sitting around the pool sipping Mount Gay and sodas with his wife a few years back, web developer Marko Andrus had his own epiphany. Pondering how casual and informal pool attire had become, Andrus wondered to himself what the Great Gatsby might have worn poolside back in the Roaring 20s at one of his epic waterfront parties. In that instant, Andrus envisioned the “toweling blazer”, a formally-cut terry cloth jacket (for men, women and children) that’s not only functional after a dip in the pool, but superbly tailored like the ever-classic smoking jacket making it equally de rigueur at the bar or the clubhouse for a five-course dinner. Quite simply, it’s genius.
“After I came up with the idea of terry cloth, I went to my tailor on the Upper East Side and asked him to make me a blazer that I could wear once I got out of the pool,” Andrus recalls. “He laughed and told me that the concept already exists: it’s called a robe”.
Andrus wasn’t deterred. He had his tailor stitch up a half dozen prototypes to his design specifications for his wife and himself and a few other friends and family. It was on a trip to Italy’s Tuscan coast a few months later when Andrus realized that he might be on to something big.
“We were at one of the fanciest hotels I had ever been to in my life,” recalls Andrus. “My wife was wearing her sample by the pool when the hotel General Manager asked her where she got her jacket and she of course told him, ‘My husband makes them’. She came running down to the beach to find me to tell me the news. When the manager wanted to order them for his guests we knew we were onto something and we had to figure out who was going to produce them for us as soon as we got back to New York City”.
Nine months later, after perfecting his blazer’s fit and silhouette, Bask was officially in business. Andrus tells me, “We went to market in late July of 2015. At the time I had about 500 units. I did not expect to sell all of them, but then we watched them all disappear”.
The toweling blazers are currently produced in NYC—something Andrus is very proud of, but acknowledges isn’t easy especially since he is a fashion outsider. “People were literally laughing me out the door when I first approached them to make the toweling blazers for me since I didn’t go to the Fashion Institute of Technology. At one point I was using three different producers”, continues Andrus.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to shake things up especially in an industry that can be tough to break into. In fact Andrus’s prior professional experience was helpful in the launch of his start-up. States Andrus, “Running a web development shop for 12 years when it came to marketing I knew I had the tools to get the brand off of the ground through social media and SEO. What I didn’t have was knowledge of the wholesale fashion market, but I solved that issue”.
Little nods to Andrus’ original Gatsby inspiration are everywhere in his blazer’s details starting with the company’s logo. “My logo is one of the ways that my brand sticks it out. It’s classic yet playful and mischievous. Ripley, our martini-swilling monkey, was ripped right from the pages of The Great Gatsby. Another fun detail is that I number all of the blazers on the label. At first I thought it would just be a gimmick for my friends—but people are now proud of the earlier small batch runs”, shares Andrus.
Now that Bask has momentum, I was curious what if any new designs we can expect to see. Andrus tells me, “I have two news styles for women that should be available to purchase by Christmas. One will be a longer double-breasted blazer that will fall mid-thigh and address the coverage of the bum. It will not be as tapered as the blazer but more of a structured shift. The second style will be a plush knit terry dress that will wash beautifully and have snaps along the sides for easy take off—we are calling it a ‘tear-away dress’. We will also be offering new standard sizes for men including 38-46 with special orders for up to size 54 in men while we will be offering standard sizes 0-16 for women”.
The best part of starting Bask, Andrus tells me, is, “Seeing my toweling blazer worn all over the world via social media and how people wear the jacket differently”.
The Great Gatsby would be proud.