By Lauren La Rose
THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO _ Jose Bautista has no plans to abandon his day job, but the Toronto Blue Jays all-star slugger is exploring another passion away from the baseball field: fashion.
The right-fielder has partnered with Canadian brand Silver Jeans Co. on the Joey Series, which will be released in North America this July.
The denim collection’s moniker is a reference to Bautista’s “Joey Bats” nickname, which he also uses as his social media handle. The Joey Series jeans will be featured in classic straight and loose fits in a variety of washes.
Bautista said he tried to be hands-on for his initial foray into fashion. He embarked on several trips to learn more about production and manufacturing, which proved eye-opening.
“There’s so many selections on stitching, on buttons, cuts, fabrics, washes, the logos and where they go…. I didn’t know the process was that complicated,” Bautista said in an interview at the Toronto launch event.
“If you want to let everybody else do the work and you just put your name on it, I’m sure it’s easy. But for me, I wanted to make it a really informational learning process for me _ so I asked about everything.
“It’s difficult to get the wash right, to get the fabric and the feel right…. If you want to make it a little stretchy, just by changing one per cent of the fabric into a more elastic fabric, you can change the feel of the denim completely. So, I enjoyed learning a lot _ and I think there’s a lot more for me to learn still.”
Bautista said he values comfort and versatility in jeans.
“Being a professional athlete, being on the road a lot and travelling and not wanting to pack a suitcase that weighs 200 pounds, substituting six, seven or eight pants for two pairs of very versatile jeans is definitely ideal.”
Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Bautista admits he dabbled in the baggy T-shirt and baggy jeans look that was particularly popular in the ’90s. However, the loose-fitting styles weren’t the most flattering for his lanky frame.
“I was always one of the skinny guys, and I wasn’t nearly as filled out as I am now,” said the six-foot Bautista.
These days, Bautista keeps his denim choices crisp and classic, favouring basic straight blue jeans, a “super light” wash and coloured pairs in black and grey.
While Bautista’s primary focus is on helping to propel the Blue Jays into playoff contention, he’s considering other fashion pursuits in the future.
“I want to continue to put something out there that’s me but that’s not just baseball, because I feel like I have a lot more … I’d like to share with the world about me. This is definitely the first step.”
The Joey Series collection will retail for around $100 and will be available at Jean Machine in Canada and online at http://www.silverjeans.com.