By Tim Newcomb
David Grutman wants cool clothes. And he wants his kids, ages 3 and 1, to have cool clothes, too. So, the Miami-based entertainment mogul, who is also the creative director for Prince Off Court, partnered with Childsplay Clothing for the brand’s latest in a growing list of collaborations from Prince.
Grutman gained notoriety in the Miami nightlife and entertainment industry in 2008 by opening LIV at Fontainebleau, one of the top-grossing nightclubs in the country. Now his Groot Hospitality operates half a dozen clubs and restaurants in the Miami area and has become a key figure in the music and entertainment industry in South Florida. His move to add Prince Off Court to his remit pushes the boundaries of his interest in arts and entertainment.
Grutman launched the Prince Off Court effort in spring 2019 with an UNKNWN collaboration. Since then, we’ve seen the launch of his own line of basics (the Prince Off Court Core Collection), a Yacht Club collection, and a collaboration with legendary sneaker designer Sean Wotherspoon. Prince recently worked with Braindead on a collab, and the Prince vs Childsplay Clothing collection was released on Oct. 14 with matching Prince gear for kids and adults. “You know how many of my friends have said, Why aren’t you making this for kids as well?” Grutman said. “I am fully being selfish. I mean, if I am dressing cool, I want my kids to dress cool and I want my friends’ kids to dress cool…. I want my kids wearing cool clothes, and I’d rather my brand than any other.”
Prince vs Childsplay Clothing includes two colorways each for mom and daughter and father and son. The boys go black and neon yellow or black and blue, while the girls get pink and white or reversed in white and pink. “All my friends who have kids now want to wear cool clothes as a family, together,” Grutman said.
The collection features the iconic Prince tracksuit, along with a total of 16 styles ranging from classic tees to zip-up tops and sweatshirts in Grutman’s favorite colors. “I love yellow and black together, and black and blue,” he said. “I think it is amazing, it is what I want to do. For girls, a fun, happy pink makes sense. It is super cool. I actually got the pink for myself as well because I want to be a cool-girl dad.”
Grutman has no plans to pump the brakes on the collaborations. As Prince, now owned by the Authentic Brands Group, looks to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary, Grutman said he’s going to keep mixing together brand creations and collaborations, which so far have been a great way to modernize the brand while respecting its heritage.
“For the 50th anniversary, I’m really calling in all the favors for the next year to celebrate where we are today. We have a lot coming our way, but it is also fun for me to work with friends of mine and people who inspire me,” Grutman said.
No matter what collection comes next, tennis will always be part of Prince Off Court’s DNA, even if it isn’t only about the sport, but also the aspirational lifestyle tennis offers. “The clothes are cool and classy, but comfortable. That is what people want today. You can wear it on the tennis court,” he said, but also lounge around in it. Even still, every couple of collaborations, expect to find a racquet or a tennis skirt, “because we don’t want to forget where we came from.”
The UNKNWN collab included a racquet, and the Braindead racquet was one of the first items from the collection to sell out. Prince also created tennis balls with Braindead. (As Prince Off Court continues to grow in stature, the on-court arm of the brand received a nice boost when 19-year-old Iga Swiatek of Poland captured the Roland-Garros championship playing with the Prince Textreme Tour 100.)
The one element, though, that straddles across nearly every collaboration and collection is the famed Prince tracksuit. “I am so passionate about it, and people love it,” Grutman said. “We like getting people’s different take on that silhouette. Plus, it is what I wear every day.” For the Wotherspoon collaboration, he said the tracksuit was the first piece he knew he wanted to do. “I have collected so many OG sets and couldn’t believe I now had the opportunity to put my spin on them,” he said.
Grutman credits Prince’s tennis heritage with providing so much drawing power, as people who grew up watching players like Andre Agassi using the racquet still have interest. “That is what got me excited,” he said. “I think people do like the tennis tie-in. Tennis is aspirational. People love heritage and iconic brands that evolve. I think that is what is so cool about Prince. I think it could have stayed in the same lane, but they brought me in and changed its entire existence by trying to [modernize it]. It shows brands can grow and live in today while still remembering their past.”
Above: Prince Off Court’s Dave Grutman
Issue No. 14
Our solitary pursuits issue, conceived and executed during quarantine. Andrea Petkovic on holiday, selfies from Stefanos Tsitsipas a.k.a. Steve the Hawk, and Serena and Venus singing karaoke on the Lower East Side.