Editor's Journal | Interview with Greyson Clothiers Founder, Charlie Schaefer
The display featured a massive tent that once visitors stepped inside, the feeling of being part of the pack was unavoidable. It made me want to know more about this brand that has chosen the wolf as its logo. Seven months after my world-altering experience at the Greyson Clothiers booth in Orlando, I sat down to interview the pack’s leader, Charlie Schaefer.
TG: You chose the sharp silhouette of the wolf as the brand’s logo. Wolf-like imagery can be found throughout your collections. What does the wolf symbolize to you?
CS: The wolf symbolizes the concept of a bigger picture where at some point we’re alone. May it be in sport, may it be in business, may it be in relationships. Those times parallel the analogy to the wolf. But, at the end of the day, there’s always the concept of teamwork, symbolized by the pack, and everything that goes into it.
Obviously, with that, there’s the whole concept of strength, specifically mental strength. It’s amazing to me how much you can accomplish if you put your mind to it. There are the elements of sophisticated elegance and gracefulness of the wolf which is a big part of the conceptual inspiration for the line and you can see in each of our products.
Nature is a huge influence; it is the biggest inspiration in life. When I need inspiration, I look at things that are greater than me – whether it be a wolf, a leaf, or whatever I encounter beyond myself in the outdoors. Those are the things that create passion, invigorate my mind and give me an added boost of inspiration.
TG: As the company’s founder, you have ultimately set the direction of the brand. Tell us what your day to day involvement with the business looks like.
CS: The biggest part of my role now is product design. While our main office is in New York with a storefront location in Detroit, I currently reside in New Orleans and do most of my work at my in-home office. In non-pandemic times, I typically travel between various locations like Peru, Asia, and other parts of Europe to meet with vendors and customers.
TG: As a Detroit native, how do you like living in NOLA?
CS: We made the move a little over a year ago and absolutely love it. My wife is originally from here, so she is familiar with the city but what I love about cities like NOLA is the energy it provides along with residents’ underlying desire to help each other succeed.
The old-world charm of NOLA inspired much of our Spring/Summer ’20 collection featuring prints, colors, and designs similar to those seen in boutiques, restaurants, and hotels throughout the French Quarter and other parts of NOLA.
TG: You mentioned the desire to help others in the community succeed, was that the motivation behind your support of the Detroit-based brand Eastside Golf?
CS: We looked at the landscape of golf and thought what better way to support the community than starting in our own backyard. Olajuwon and Earl are both great guys and I love their passion for the game. It was a pleasure to help them with their brand and continue to support them as it grows.
TG: Do you feel that fashion can help grow the game of golf?
CS: Absolutely. Golf is a freeing sport that allows you to enjoy outdoors with your friends. The other stuff kills the game. At Greyson, we focus on producing amazing clothes that consumers would want to wear anywhere, not just the golf course. We like to look it items that exist elsewhere and bring them to golf.
Historically golfers have been relegated to dressing a certain way. We brought joggers into the game to create diversity within our products, not to be disruptive or disrespectful. More diverse products allow space for a more diverse audience within the sport. We just want to do what we think is unique and cool.
TG: How does PGA Tour stud Morgan Hoffmann’s style and personality mesh with Greyson?
CS: I think there’s a real focus and cleanliness to his style. His style is modern and there’s definitely an athletic toughness to it. He’s very connected on all of the things that we are doing.
Other brands use models for photoshoots. We do photoshoots with Morgan and Don Saladino. Morgan and Don are on our team because they inspire and represent the brand in its purest form. Morgan exudes all of those qualities and he’s an open-minded guy. There are times where, rightfully so, he doesn’t want to take the envelope as far as I do, but we always get to a place where he’s comfortable and I’m comfortable, and we’re both happy. That’s part of teamwork.