It’s not unusual for enigmatic actor Bill Murray to take part in charity golf tournaments like last weekend’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Murray has a long-time relationship with the links; fans will remember his iconic role in 1980’s Caddyshack, though many may not be aware that, before his acting career took off, he actually worked as a caddy in Illinois.
What was unusual though was Murray’s choice of clothing for the tournament.
Taking to the tee in vibrant bell-bottoms, the likes of which have rarely been spotted in public since the disco era, Murray guaranteed himself the spotlight amidst a crowd of celebrities and golfing professionals.
Unlike his previous fashion statements, however – he’s previously been seen in a kimono and tartan plaid overalls – there was a particular point to Murray’s outfit.
In 2016, Murray and his five brothers founded William Murray Golfing, a sportswear line offering stylish, yet slightly irreverent clothes for the golfer who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Murray has long expressed a desire for the brand to produce some bolder pieces, but concerns that they would not sell particularly well have kept them from moving ahead.
That’s why the brand is now collaborating with R&D platform Betabrand.
Betabrand provide designers the ability to gauge interest in concepts by allowing a 1 million+ fashion-forward userbase to vote on their favourite designs. If a product receives enough votes, it is added to the crowdfunding section of the site. Once enough customers pre-purchase the item in a certain period of time – in this case, 100 people in 30 days – it is put into production.
The first item on offer? The Lucy the Caboosie bell-bottoms, of course!
Proving the most popular out of five options in the voting phase, the print is a reference to Murray’s mother Lucille, who loved peonies and who he affectionately nicknamed ‘Loose the Caboose’.
Considering the press Murray’s presence at the tournament has received, it’s almost guaranteed the bell-bottoms will sell big. Currently, it sits at 50% to its goal.
This isn’t the first time Betabrand – which was founded in 2009 by entrepreneur Chrid Lindland – has worked with popular brands. Previous collaborators include Timberland and The North Face, proving how important the platform is for brands wanting to experiment with their offerings without the financial risks that would otherwise be associated with the process.
If brands continue to use the platform for daring purposes, there’s no telling where the future of fashion is headed.
Whether the combined efforts of Murray and Betabrand will result in a resurgence in bell-bottoms is, as yet, unknown. That said, it feels like if this collaboration doesn’t trigger it, nothing will.