Browse all

The stoy of Jeff Hamilton, the favourite designer of NBA stars

The father of the most funky leather jacket of the world

The stoy of Jeff Hamilton, the favourite designer of NBA stars The father of the most funky leather jacket of the world

Michael Jordan is said to have been in the Bulls locker room demanding a jacket after winning Game 6 of the 1998 finals against Utah. Leather, by Jeff Hamilton. He came in person and said "she's always been here." Not everyone could have such a private relationship with MJ, yet, this designer took precedence over dozens of journalists and sponsors. Grown as a jeans designer, Jeff Hamilton is author of garments for sportsmen, comedians, singers, and even politicians, from the 1980s until today. He lives and has his atelier in Paris, but his story - which in the field of fashion has become known above all for basketball - is practically a globe. 

He was born in Morocco, studied and worked in France, and during the 1980s began to make the shore with the United States. Because there, thanks to a commercial intuition - and his experience in the denim industry - he manages to enter the world of American sport and, above all, within the greats of the NBA. The legacy of that relationship with Jordan, Magic Johnson and the Dream Team of Barcelona '92 are jackets of more than 3.000 o 4.000 €, proposed by Converse recently with a dedicated collection - Converse x Jeff Hamilton - and that have entered the world of high fashion and the iconography of American basketball.

Hamilton's career in the leather world began, as in a relay, the moment the denim career ended. In fact, was his company, Hamilton Inc., chosen by Guess?'s Marciano brothers for the design and production of men's garments: sales rose from $2.5 million to $27 million, but marciano didn't like the style of pants and the relationship ended - was there a lawsuit, and Hamilton, on Linkedin, still reaffirms his position as founder of Guess? in 1983. From there, as he explained in an interview with the American magazine Metcha, began his relationship with basketball. 


After Guess, I started making leather jackets, from one thing to another, and I started drawing for some NBA players. Very quickly I got involved with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan and other big names who really helped me penetrate the basketball industry further. I started making custom pieces, commercial jackets and finally making jackets like the one I wear, similar to some of my championship jackets for Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. 


His first client in the basketball world was Reggie Theus, then a sacramento guard. Leather jackets in the 1980s were a very common item and the garments produced by Hamilton had carved out their own niche. His alternative, experimental line, perfect for the funky and colorful style of the late 1980s and with the highest quality leathers became news in the locker rooms of the big basketball teams. After the first public appearances of jackets thanks to basketball players, fashion noticed those products that became, with the beginning of the Nineties, a sporting aesthetic phenomenon. Hamilton had become so popular and intrusive in the world of basketball that even, at the end of the last race of the Finals, he entered the locker room of the winning team to give his jackets in person. 


Jordan was just one of many basketball players who valued him. For example, USA Today Sports reports, the American basketball league commissioned Hamilton to design jackets for the winners of the various All Star Game categories of the 1996/97 season. The designer came from a crucial period in which he had accompanied the Dream Team to Barcelona (and each of the 12 American athletes left him an autographed jersey) and also had designed jackets tailored to Madonna and Michael Jackson (for the Super Bowl). Hamilton's products have been worn not only by sportsmen, but also by great artists both in the past and today. 


Jeff Hamilton's jackets today were worn by ASAP Rocky, Drake, Snoop Dogg, The Weekend, 2 Chainz. In 2001, he recounted meeting a young Lebron James, a high school talent from Fishing Irving, Akron, and swapping his playing jersey for one of his leather jackets. Today, after exactly 20 years, it is difficult to understand which of the two products can have the greatest value.