Legendary fashion designer makes special-edition Hawks jacket

Artist Jeff Hamilton collaborates with NBA team on limited-edition leather jacket
Fashion designer Jeff Hamilton created a limited-edition Atlanta Hawks jacket available on the Hawks online store since March 2024. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Hamilton)

Credit: Jeff Hamilton

Credit: Jeff Hamilton

Fashion designer Jeff Hamilton created a limited-edition Atlanta Hawks jacket available on the Hawks online store since March 2024. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Hamilton)

Fashion impresario Jeff Hamilton is renowned for making one-of-a-kind leather jackets for famous people with an appreciation for street-inspired style.

The list of current celebrities seen in one of Hamilton’s custom creations includes some of the biggest names in hip-hop culture across generations, many of whom reside in Atlanta, from rappers like T.I. and Latto to producers Jermaine Dupri and Metro Boomin.

“I don’t consider myself a designer,” Hamilton told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m more like an artist who uses a jacket as my canvas, and so far, it’s been an amazing journey.”

On April 10, during Atlanta Hawks’ fan appreciation night, Hamilton will appear at the Hawks’ store inside State Farm Arena for a meet-and-greet ahead of the team’s final regular season home game.

“I always want to have a personal connection to the fans and hope they can feel my vision,” Hamilton said. “What drives me is being creative and being able to always feel like I’m reaching out to the culture and pushing it forward.”

The fashionmonger customized a red leather jacket in honor of the Hawks. It features the team’s name and logos embroidered above a black silhouette of the Atlanta skyline, outlined in yellow. The jackets went on sale March 11 at the Hawks online store.

Fashion designer Jeff Hamilton created the limited-edition Atlanta Hawks leather jacket in partnership with beer company Michelob ULTRA. (Photo courtesy of Atlanta Hawks)

Credit: Atlanta Hawks

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Credit: Atlanta Hawks

Hamilton’s connection to Atlanta dates back to his earliest visits in the mid-1980s.

His talent for creating art with bold colors, large patches and bulky leather endeared him to style-savvy athletes from the city’s throwback sports era, like retired Hawks forward Dominique Wilkins, and former Atlanta Braves and Falcons player Deion Sanders. In 2003, when the NBA All-Star Game came to Atlanta, Hamilton had special-edition jackets sold at Lenox Square Mall.

As recent as last year, Hamilton made lambskin jackets for Drake and 21 Savage to kick off their “It’s All A Blur” tour.

“Atlanta has always been a hub for the culture,” Hamilton said. “The biggest compliment is knowing that I can do something, people can relate to it and feel good about what they’re wearing.”

Hamilton was born in Morocco and grew up in Paris. He was interested in mathematics and physics with aspirations to become a certified public accountant, but he also loved American culture and grew up with a creative passion.

“I always had a dream of America because I love basketball, rock and roll, fashion and Adidas sneakers,” Hamilton said. “I always painted and made things, so I was just creating for my personal taste.”

He moved to Los Angeles in 1980 and began his career in fashion working as a wholesaler for small boutiques, while trying to learn the basics of fashion design. One day, not long after arriving in California, Hamilton stopped by a UCLA bookstore and purchased a jacket. Despite not being a student, he said the jacket boosted his confidence and helped him adapt to living stateside.

“I put the jacket on and felt like I was two feet taller,” Hamilton said, adding that he wanted his future clients to experience the same feeling.

Through his wholesale work he met members of the Marciano family, owners of the popular apparel company Guess Jeans. Despite not having formal design training, Hamilton was able to negotiate a licensing agreement with Guess and went on to launch the company’s line of men’s clothing.

By 1985, Hamilton was regularly meeting NBA players like Reggie Theus, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Michael Jordan from his fashion connections. He left Guess Jeans a year later and started his own lifestyle company, JH Design Group. There he began creating original pieces for sports leagues such as the NFL, MLB and Nascar, along with icons like Michael Jackson, Madonna, George Michael, Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela.

In 1990, Hamilton created outerwear for the cast of the sketch comedy series “In Living Color” and became a highly sought designer for television stars. Will Smith wore one of Hamilton’s jackets on an episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Martin Lawrence can also be seen wearing a Hamilton design during reruns of his classic “Martin” sitcom’s opening sequence.

Beginning in 1991, Hamilton made all six of the Chicago Bulls’ NBA championship jackets. He later customized pieces for Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Lebron James and Anthony Davis when they were part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ championship teams.

The iconic photo of Kobe Bryant clutching his first NBA championship trophy features the late basketball star wearing a Hamilton original.


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The creator behind the NBA’s 50th and 75th anniversary team jackets, Hamilton says NBA commissioner Adam Silver has already confirmed him to create the league’s centennial jacket design in 2046.

“I’ll be 91 years old, but I’ll try to hang on to do that stuff,” he said.

Hamilton says designing the Atlanta Hawks jacket has allowed him to relive the moment when he decided to become an entrepreneur almost four decades ago.

“There were a lot of amazing cultural moments in my life... sometimes they’re only documented in my head,” Hamilton said. “I just want to continue as long as I can because I have so much love and passion for doing this.”