Fighting to stay in top form while competing for Hollywood’s best roles may come naturally for Lutz, so it’s no surprise he’s willing to put real muscle behind achieving his other goals, too. Lutz is the latest celebrity to lend his chiseled presence to a clothing line called Abbot + Main, which takes its name from the high-action intersection of Abbot Boulevard and Main Street in his Venice ’hood. Unlike some celebs who lend their name only to a project, Lutz insisted on being involved in the actual business of fashion.
“I treated it as I do my acting career: I take the slow and steady path,” he says of bringing Abbot + Main from inspiration to rollout. “It took a little longer. But if I’m going to make a product and be the face of it, I want to make a good product that I’d actually like. Nothing happened unless it came through me first. Design, colors, fabrics. Danny and I talked or Skyped every day.”
“Danny” is denim impresario Danny Guez, creator and founder of hipster brand William Rast, a line he debuted in 2005 with partner Justin Timberlake. “Kellan is such a sheer force to work with,” Guez tells me. “Multiple celebrities have approached me to partner with them on their clothing lines, but just because you can sell an album or blow up the box office doesn’t necessarily translate into clothing sales. With design there’s no room for error. Kellan is involved every step of the process.”
I decide to check out the goods, which is how I find myself one late summer afternoon inside Nordstrom department store at The Grove in Los Angeles for the Abbot + Main launch event. The PR hoopla is movie premiere–worthy with its army of severely dressed women towering in five-inch heels bearing walkie-talkies and directing the throng with military precision. You’d think you were at Grauman’s Chinese Theatreif it weren’t for the racks of clothes everywhere.
The actor appears and immediately pumps hands and poses for photos with his wide-eyed admirers. He seems as relaxed as the dark denim he dons from the Abbot + Main collectionwhich, along with a gathering of well-cut knit tops and graphic tees, is artfully tailored for a man with his strapping build.
For Lutz the business of fashion, much like making it in Hollywood, is just one more mountain to climb. And since he spent his teenage years modeling for the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch and Levis, he has a leg up on the competition. “I’m very knowledgeable about fit and quality,” he tells me with confidence and even a touch of swagger. He also knows from his own experience how tough it is to find stylish clothes if your shoulders span three times the width of your waist.
Lutz says he makes “a vision board every year,” referring to an annual list of personal and professional goals. Working with director Tarsem was one such target ambition. Using his own considerable brainpowerLutz left California’s Chapman University midway through a chemical engineering degree to scratch the acting itchto market a new clothing brand was another.
“It’s great when you get to check off dreams,” he says, smiling broadly. A woman in black holding a clipboard suddenly touches his elbow, then leads him away and back toward the fan frenzy. No matter what the goal, Kellan Lutz likes to fight to make it happen.