Telly Savalas was named best dressed in 1977, so he launched a men's fashion collection
"The average man needs the right clothes to help his ego and his image."
What words would you use if someone asked you to describe Telly Savalas? Would it be an international heartthrob, the one and only Kojak or a men's fashion icon?
Savalas is known for playing the iconic role of Lt. Theo Kojak, but he also starred in the fan-favorite Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll." Fashion was always a part of Savalas' identity, especially since he had a charm that made him loved worldwide. In an interview with Philadelphia Daily News in 1977, he talked about being a design director for his then-new men's collection and how important clothes are to a man's image.
The actor used his smooth, charming voice to set the tone. "I've always taken great pride in dressing," he said to journalist Eleanor Lambert. "When I started Kojak, I decided to make him the most well-dressed cop who ever lived - and on a police lieutenant's pay. Things like wearing a suit with a vest and being careful about a hatband don't make the clothes cost any more, but they stand out."
Savalas did just that — he stood out with his fashion, resulting in him appearing on the international best-dressed list. So, he started Telly Savalas Apparel for the Man, a fashion collection and company built around his style. According to the actor, clothing attire is crucial, especially for men.
"[Clothes] tell everything about [a man's] place in life," he added. "His masculinity, his attitude toward his job and the degree of self-understanding he has reached."
He continued sharing his beliefs, saying, "Some people go through life looking like unmade beds and still manage to succeed. The average man needs the right clothes to help his ego and his image."
To be able to help men reach a new level of confidence, Savalas aimed to keep his collection between $85-$150. Pure wool and natural leather were also supposed to give the clothing a custom-tailored feel.
Savalas didn't need to ask for a seat at the fashion table because he brought his own designer chair.