Remixing Rock's Style Roots

E-tailer Phoenix Project brings the 1950s style of legends Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash back to life

Don't step on his blue suede shoes, but you MAY be able to step into them, thanks to Phoenix Project - an e-tailer dedicated to replicating the clothing of 20th-century icons.

The Phoenix Project started as an experiment on the website Bench & Loom, where owners Jared Zaugg, 41, and wife Brooke, 39, modeled a series of 30 jackets after the one with an alpaca-shearling collar worn by James Dean in Giant (1956). The endeavor proved a success and, by March, the Phoenix Project was born. The site offers re-creations of clothing for men and women, as ensured through research as well as support from the respective estates. Items are priced from $75 for a T-shirt to more than $1,000 for outerwear.

The Phoenix Project nods to the musicians who defined the style of rock'n'roll, featuring a couple of jackets from "The Million Dollar Quartet" - a session that Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash recorded together at Sun Studios in Memphis on Dec. 4, 1956 - produced in runs of 300. In honor of Presley, there's a bomber-style, nubuck jacket by Chapal (a manufacturer established in France in 1832). "When you get the jacket, you open it up and the smell makes you want to melt," says Brooke. "It just smells so good because of the tanning process." Inside, red-satin lining.

And in honor of Cash, Phoenix Project offers a baseball-style jacket in slate-colored cotton twill. "We loved the idea of the pre-'Man in Black' style from the beginning," says Brooke. "We loved the Americana of what he was wearing, and it was kind of unique to what we typically see because of the piping down the side."

"This was before we had stylists and things - they just wore their regular clothes for album covers and things like that," says Brooke. "The clothing worn by the Steve McQueens, the Paul Newmans, the Elvis Presleys - those things endure. They're not costumes. We're not looking to re-create costumes."


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