Designer Marc Ecko’s Rutgers clothing line pays tribute to his roots
For those who want to exhibit their Rutgers spirit and their fashion sense at the same time, clothing designer Marc Ecko has the answer.
The Rutgers alumnus has launched a special, limited edition collection that specifically pays homage to the Scarlet Knights. Ecko’s Rutgers-inspired clothing line, part of his Cut & Sew line, fuses past generations of collegiate wear with today’s edgy, hip-hop style.
The Rutgers collection was designed to speak to different audiences – “the skaters, jocks, punks, future CEOs, and everyone in between,” according David Smith, Ecko’s corporate communications manager.
“Marc designed the new line to pay homage to his New Jersey roots,’’ Smith said. “The designs reflect the cultural diversity that he found while he was a student at Rutgers.”
Ecko sent designers to the Rutgers archives to study photographs of students from the 1900s through the 1930s, according to Marybeth Schmutz, assistant director of Rutgers’ Trademark Licensing Program.
“They incorporated a lot of those old clothing designs in this new line,” Schmutz said. “For example, the Rutgers ‘R’ is a throwback to the 20s and 30s. It’s not the modern Rutgers ‘R’ logo.”
The retro designs are combined with more modern touches, such as a shirt that also features the hand sign for “Rock on.” The collection of T-shirts, hoodies, and jackets mainly use a palette of Rutgers scarlet, charcoal gray, black, and white – although one T-shirt is neon yellow with a design of a knight’s helmet overlaid by a skull and crossbones.
The clothing is available online, at Marc Ecko Cut & Sew stores at the Woodbridge Center mall, and the Rutgers University Bookstore. The line also will be sold overseas in Europe.
“Apparently American colleges are quite popular now in Europe, along with artists like Bruce Springsteen and shows like The Sopranos,’’ Schmutz said. “The clothing line will give Rutgers more exposure.”
Born Marc Milecofsky in East Brunswick, Ecko grew up in Lakewood and began his fashion career by airbrushing designs on his friends’ jackets in high school. He came to Rutgers to study pharmacology, but fashion remained his passion.
Ecko, who said he was encouraged by former Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy Dean John Colaizzi to pursue his passion, left Rutgers in the early 1990s to embark upon a fashion career, according to Smith. Ecko started a small T-shirt line, which eventually blossomed into Marc Eckō Enterprises. The company was founded in 1993 by Ecko, Seth Gerszberg, and Marci Tapper. The Marc Ecko Cut & Sew contemporary menswear line launched in the fall of 2004.
Marc Ecko Enterprises is now a full-scale global fashion and lifestyle company that reported international retail sales of approximately $1.5 billion in 2007. Current Marc Ecko Enterprise brands include: *eckō unltd., Marc Eckō Cut & Sew, Eckōred, Avirex, G-Unit, and Zoo York.