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Orange Mist – Bert Pulizer’s Survivalon Jacket

January 22, 2013

A maverick, Bert Pulitzer’s clarvoiancy and care to details consistantly inspires not only stylish men’s wear, but functionality for the changing times men live within. He and Survivalon have reintroduced Pulitzer’s classic sailing-travel jacket. Pulitzer has maintained loyalty – almost to a fault – to his original 1975 design – but – is optimistic about the modern components of the Ipad, Iphone and sunglass pockets he and his team have added. Knowing Pulitzer’s reputation for staying honest to the integrity of his designs – this rejuvenated Survivalon Jacket is sure to become a classic piece of men’s wear.

You are from Long Beach, New York – how did that upbringing mold you as a designer?
Growing up in Long Beach – or the town I like to refer to as a resort built on a sand bar – we had a winter population of 4000 and in summer 25,000. Growing up on boats and beach, I wanted to become a professional life guard but my father didn’t think that that was a good idea! After spending nearly 5 months a year on boats and beach and not finding a quality, non-rusting and comfortable sailing jacket – it was natural – to me that when I grew up I would invent one.

What was so different about your jacket that you invented?
Survivalon was the first piece of clothing to have Velcro, which until then was only used in hospitals. Zippers on sailing jackets for the time were steel or brass. Steel rusted and brass corroded – so I sourced a zipper that was made for tents (the YKK #10) and made it into a 2 way version for comfort when driving or at the tiller. It took 18 months to find the shell… and luckily… somehow I met someone who understood how to make the jacket. HOME RUN on the first prototype! Doris Tom was the pattern masker and the synergy worked perfectly.

How do the members of Survivalon help refresh your brand?
One of the best ways is by listening to ideas for product upgrades and selling ideas from a number of affiliates in men’s wear. A friend at Orvis kept after us to change the settings of the bottom drawstring – we did – and the adjustment lowered the cord below the front pockets; concealing it from snagging. As for style, Mark – of Family Britches of New Canaan, CT – was the first to show an orange jacket over a tuxedo outfit opening up multiple uses for sport and dress up use.

What is Survivalon purchase appeal,what aspects set it apart?
All Survivalon Jackets are made by hand in the USA and every detail of the jackets is totally functional. Many outerwear manufacturers – when designing – take a men’s market approach.

20130121-235255.jpg For examples they ponder over meetings – “OK how about 2 pockets on the chest and 2 lower body? Are flaps in now? Maybe buttons or snaps possibly zippers?” – you get the gist. Whatever is in vogue at the time becomes part of the design and merchandising. With Survivalon our goal is to make the most functional, durable jacket for men to wear.

How has your brand changed over the last year, and where will it be evolving too?
Our first shipment of the original, classic jacket model was last October – our collection will grow to include a shorter version, quilted version, plus a vest starting by February to complete our Fall ’13 collection.

Can you share some of the design for the vest?
Our new “Protec” layering/all around vest model works as a layer under either the classic jacket model or its new counterpart the quilted version.

I know that John Wayne used to wear and endorse the jacket – if you could pick a new spokesperson, whom would you pick?
Jon Bon Jovi. He is a close friend of Michael Keenan – a member of the Survivalon team. When Michael opened his trunk at the Jersey Shore – while helping out with Sandy Storm Victims’ – Jon saw an orange jacket and grabbed it declaring it as his! Jon is a perfect image for Survivalon – he is not only a great and talented musician but a fine person who cares for others.

How has the Survivalon Jacket stood the test of time?
The Survivalon jacket was originally designed in 1975 and has continued with the same model, same snaps, same Velcro, but we’ve modernized it as well. It is still loved instantaneously when 25 – 30 year old men see it for the first time. I always find it amazing how classic men’s wear continues as it does in every thought out product such as LL Bean shoes/boots, Sperry Topsider, and many more if you just think about it for a moment.

Shirt: Zara. Pants: Gap. Footwear: Bass. Belt: Vintage. Tie: Bert Pulitzer (vintage). Eyewear: Ray Ban. Jacket: Survivalon.
Photographers: Cassandra L. Ingrassia
Photo & Written Edits: Joe Lee
Style and Layout: Joe Lee
Location: Astoria, New York

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