Andre 3000 Benjamin, the New Face and Creative Director of Tretorn, Swedish Footwear Brand

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I first met Andre 3000 a couple years ago when I was surveying shoes for an upcoming photoshoot. It was July 2015 at Walters Shoe Store in Downtown Atlanta, I had just returned from New York's Inaugural Men's Fashion Week. In my calm excitement I found myself motioning him to come over to where my assistant and I were standing. He smiled, said what's up and asked my opinion on a couple pairs of shoes he was considering. I chillfully gave my input and continued my shopping until he and I naturally settled in the same spot again. This time we unexpectedly talked for nearly an hour.
 
I told him about my recent  adventures at New York Fashion Week and at the Trade Shows that followed, he kindly inquired about my experience. We discussed Greg LaurenKanye West, my dog, and of course Benjamin Bixby. I expressed my sincere interest in working with him, and how I loved his debut fashion line. I knew it's short life was merely a victim of the economy, but I also knew the state of menswear was great now (I had done the research) and his line would be a surefire success, if he wanted it to be. Andre gave a me a mini on the spot interview, asking about my education and The Urban Gent."You went to Georgia Tech?! Smart and creative. Yea, my team will definitely love you… [if we relaunch Benjamin Bixby] we're gonna put you to work". He smiled, got my card, and well…. I haven't heard from him yet about partnering on a new Bixby collection, lol… but there's still hope right?! riiight??
 
Once I discovered Andre "3000" Benjamin was named the new Creative Director of Tretorn, an 1891 born Swedish shoe brand, I knew my dreams of being Co-Creative Director of Benjamin Bixby had to be put on the shelf for just a little longer. 

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Tretorn’s Fall Winter campaign is finally here and features Andre in modern form. I must admit the styling is thoughtful, humming  of Motherland influences in each look — patterns, hats, harem pants. I love the cleans lines, and nothing is out of place– socks, cuffs, and single-buttoned up jackets. His signature jumpsuit in a Malian mudcloth print sets the tone for it all.  Lucky for Tretorn, Andre has been a fan of the brand since he was a youngin, "My first pair of Tretorns were in middle school, and since then the Nylite has always held a space in my closet. With this collaboration, I got to go into Tretorn’s closet and play. The capsule collection translates my daydream sketches to the real world.” 

scroll right to see more of Tretorn's collection
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Bjorn Borg, Swedish tennis player during the US open in Forrest Hills, New York on Sept. 2, 1977. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff) 

Bjorn Borg, Swedish tennis player during the US open in Forrest Hills, New York on Sept. 2, 1977 

Worn by tennis stars like Bjorn Borg, Tretorn had a sudden rise in popularity after making a debut at Wimbledon in 1976. Your parents or grandparents might have a vintage pair hanging around somewhere. At a modest price point of $70 — a pair of Tretorn’s in your closet is a must for the next couple seasons. And being that we’re back in the 70s now, in terms of style, the timing is quite serendipitous for the brand. Their outwear might be on the list of must-haves too. I for one always like a nice rain coat, I have a two – a more classic Burberry trench style and a yellow London Fog. Both are vintage and in good condition, but the yellow one is a bit thin, so I maybe I'll consider the red Tretorn jacket, if it feels right. 
 
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Nick Woodhouse, chief marketing officer and president of Tretorn’s parent company Authentic Brands Group (Frye, Hickey Freeman, and more), had loads of awesome things to say about his companies partnership with Andre, “He’s not a flavor of the month. There are a lot of terrific, young influencers out there, but Andre is established. These young kids are reaching out to him to collaborate. That’s why we did this.” “We wanted to work with Andre because he resonates with all ages and he’s an OG." Did this dude say OG? Haha, ahhh people are hilar, but I couldn’t agree more. Most artist and celebrities are driven by money and fame, even, and sometimes especially, as they get older. Everyone that knows or have met Andre go on and on about how cool, chill, and humble he is. My experience with the fellow ATLien is no different. He’s not out here flexing and flashing, he’s mostly under the radar so of course our ear’s perk up and our eye’s focus when his name is mentioned.

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Andre sketching for Tretorn
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The 126-year-old Swedish footwear and outerwear brand, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its classic Nylite sneaker, and design a capsule collection of footwear for 2018. Woodhouse states that Benjamin will work directly with Marc Fisher, who holds the Tretorn footwear license, to update its traditional styles and create new silhouettes. (That should be fun). For now he’s just signed to work on footwear, but helping Tretorn with apparel could happen down the line. Tretorn executives are on a mission to reach millennials, their CMO states “Sneakers are so hot right now and the minimal look is hot, which is what Tretorn is about. We are making sure that the name of Tretorn gets out there in the sphere of the youth, and the idea with Andre is to make the brand more famous than what it is so the Millennial customer can understand it.”
 
 
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sources: Tretorn, footwearnews .com, highsnobiety. com, wwd. com

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