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How Eric Emanuel Became a Powerhouse Fashion Brand

Eric Emanuel

Eric Emanuel is a fashion brand currently trending in high society, but with humble beginnings. The brand bears the name of the entrepreneur who started his current fashion empire by making custom jerseys. He followed his instincts, did what he loved and as a result, he's reached pinnacles of success in the fashion industry, whether it was his intention or not. Here is how Eric Emanuel became a powerhouse fashion brand.

Who is Eric Emanuel and what is his business?

Movie Cultists describes Eric Emanuel as a humble entrepreneur with a passion for jerseys. He lives in New York City in the Garment District, where he works at a manufacturing plant where the products bearing his label are produced. His life centers around the city and his work. He began his career as a professional designer in Syracuse, New York, as an unknown. Before achieving fame and success in the fashion world, he hand-produced jerseys with customizations that made them unique in the market. He attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, earning a marketing degree, but he didn't have much experience with men's fashion wear. He's largely self-taught. He added luxury touches to jerseys, transforming them into designer clothes.

Focus on sports-themed streetwear

Emanuel's first projects were sports-themed, reworking existing jerseys from his dormitory room at FIT. He started the business while still in college with help from friends. He made business connections over time, and hustled to promote the products, according to Complex. He built a group of returning customers over time and earned a reputation as a jersey customizer. Eric's fans include Young Thug, Travis Scott, Wiz Khalifa, and several others. Eric set his sights high and aimed for the luxury streetwear market, which he effectively broke into. He's a master at his craft, fortunate enough to gain the attention of notable clients. Emanuel bought vintage jerseys from auction sites which he customized. He reconstructed the jerseys and set up a few pop-up shops in New York. He forged a relationship with Mitchell & Ness and runs some of his products through the establishment. He travels to various states to source the luxury materials used in his revamps of the jerseys. Eric is picky about the materials he selects for custom jerseys. He prefers python skin because it comes in large sizes, which are easier to work with. Each custom jersey takes between a day to a week to complete. He maintains the authenticity of the product, preferring to work with organic materials. Eric started his business by doing all the work himself. When demand started to rise, he hired a team to help him assemble the jerseys, when he could no longer keep up with the demand himself. He works with a team of three including himself. On a typical day, he starts with a check-in at the factory, then works with clients, checks on store accounts, and other business-related to the company.

Eric Emanuel expanded the product line

Emanuel branched out into new territory. His custom jerseys were a big hit with celebrity personalities, but he realized it was time to add more products to his business. He collaborated with several name-brand sneaker companies. According to Grailed, he formed a partnership with Reebok working with Allen Iverson. The collaboration helped to add more diversity to the choices available for the brand lineup. The Allen Iverson X Reebok Classic X Eric Emanuel, adding yet another dimension to the streetwear line he built. This was a big move for Eric's brand because it expanded the depth of his collection and helped customers to find more accessories to complement the jerseys. Eric has accomplished several sneaker collaborations with major name brands.

Adding a new flagship product

Although Eric Emanuel built his brand around custom jerseys, he found a new and exciting addition to the product line that would become his biggest selling item. He designed a simple mesh basketball short that would become one of the best-selling items in his empire, that would rise to the status of iconic. Basketball shorts have become a specialty within the Eric Emanuel brand. He turned his focus from the jerseys to the basketball shorts which are now the flagship product for the brand. It's where the focus of the brand has turned. The Eric Emanuel brand underwent a major shift that has stuck. His goal was to create a streetwear brand, and the shorts were the next logical move to complete the ensembles. Eric realized that not everyone would wear the jerseys and he wanted to deliver a more universal product. He was even asked to produce a line of fitted hats, further broadening the accessory line.

Eric Emanuel partners with New Era

New Era requested that Eric Emanuel produce a line of hats, made of wax canvas. The initial product design he introduced didn't impress them because of their simplicity, but they marketed them. It took a week for the hats to sell out, proving that his eye for fashion and knowledge of customer preferences was spot-on. Eric Emanuel has a knack for sensing what his clients are looking for and delivering. His collaboration secured a place for Eric Emanuel branded products at the New Era flagship store on Fourth Street. The fitted hats were a success that wouldn't have been realized had Emanuel not pushed for giving them a try. This is the kind of businessman that he is. When he has a good feeling about a design with the potential to trend with celebs and others who enjoy luxury products, he pushes to get the products in front of consumers to see how they are in the market. His hunches are generally right. Eric knows what his customers are looking for, and in his experience, luxury can be simple and effective. You don't always need bells and whistles to sell a quality product to the public.

Eric Emanuel is not afraid to buck the tide

Part of his success is his willingness to go against the trends. He will buck the tides to promote products that are the opposite. A good example is the simple fitted hat line he designed. He introduced them at a time when dad hats were the most popular. He also moved forward against advisement from New Era. which kept on top of consumer trends. He partnered with New Era because it's a brand that his target audience prefers over many others. The styling is different from those which were then trending. He infused new life into the New Era product lines with his simple fitted hat. All parties involved learned there was room for change. Consumers welcomed the new elements. Eric Emanuel chooses the best companies with which to forge his partnerships. That's another secret to his success. Eric is picky about his partnerships. He weighs the effect each collaboration will have on the Eric Emanuel label.

Forging an authentic and unique brand

Eric Emanuel has a passion for sports-themed streetwear that started with his customized jerseys. It evolved into much more. He was aware of other luxury sportswear brands such as Don C, who opened the door for the market. Eric became inspired by Don C, but he didn't want to copy the brand or any others for that matter. His overarching goal was to provide something different in the luxury streetwear market. It's been on fire and trending for the past decade. Emanuel had to find his niche and carve it out for himself without copying anyone else.

When it comes to planning, Emanuel takes an approach off the beaten path. He doesn't analyze trends in the same way that many other fashion designers do. Eric is transparent about his lack of anticipation. He doesn't worry about the next step his brand will take. He's fortunate that by just doing what he feels good about and sticking with what he's passionate about at any given time, everything has fallen into place as though meant to be. You could call it luck, but we think it's much more. He is fashion savvy. His hunches are instinctual and accurate. He doesn't spend much time stressing about what is likely to become a trend. Eric goes with an idea, and so far, the strategy has worked for the Eric Emanuel brand. Emanuel wasn't put off by business taking a while to catch on. There were times when sales were slow, but they always picked up and took root.

The big break for the Eric Emanuel brand

Emanuel's custom jerseys helped him get a start in the fashion industry, but he's less passionate about them and now invested in basketball shorts. They retail for about $149 each, which is a hefty price for an item, but he's making bank on sales that have picked up and not slowed down. They've replaced the jerseys as stars of the stage. His rationale for choosing shorts as the new flagship product is that it's an article of clothing everyone wears, even above jerseys. He based his theory on the fact that he and many of the people he knows wears basketball shorts at least once a week, if not more. It's a product that has a solid market. He did notice a missing feature that most luxury brands didn't offer. Emanuel didn't find many simple designs in trending brands. Most of them featured heavy shorts that were heavily laden with unnecessary features. He came up with the idea to fashion a traditional, simple design. Eric Emanuel doesn't feel the need to make things complicated. In his mind, the simpler, the better. His mesh shorts are also light. They're comfortable to wear and come in various styles. The products range from simple solid colors to more bold psychedelic and floral prints. The selection is diverse. It gives consumers an assortment of choices.

How big is the Eric Emanuel brand?

Every Friday afternoon, the Eric-Emanuel streetwear brand makes a new drop of products. They're so popular that the inventory sells out the same day they're made available for purchase. Some have declared them to be the best shorts on the market. Bowties and bones classifies the Eric Emanuel brand as a "Luxe sportswear line." In addition to partnering with Reebok, Emanuel has also formed partnerships with Adidas sneakers. He's particular about the quality of the product though. It's not enough to simply have a brand name attached. The product must have outstanding features that make them memorable, such as the plush and cushiony materials for the Reebok's Answer V sneaker with patented technology. The Eric Emanuel brand offers sports-uniform apparel, and it's what's currently trending in New York City.

Final thoughts

The Eric Emanuel fashion brand has become a powerhouse brand in the New York City area. It's a designer brand of streetwear with a sports theme, that all started with a few hand-customized vintage jerseys. Emanuel painstakingly built the brand up from humble beginnings, creating luxury custom jerseys one at a time with his own hands. What started as a small business has grown into one of the hottest selling labels on the east coast. Emanuel is an entrepreneur who goes with his gut when adding a new product or design to the label, and it's worked out. He's intuitive and seems to consistently guess what his high-end clientele is looking for in new fashion trends. He formed multiple partnerships with other big labels, bucking trends at times, to present his ideas and hunches, which turned out to be just what the public was looking for. The Eric Emanuel label is a trend-setter in the streetwear industry. This is how the Eric Emanuel fashion brand established itself as a luxury streetwear label.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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