Two-time AMA Supercross Champion James Stewart and legendary artist Troy Lee announced last night at the Troy Lee Boutique & Design Center in Laguna Beach, California, that the pair are collaborating on a new brand of riding gear that's aptly named "Seven."
Although Stewart will be wearing the gear starting this weekend in the season-opening Anaheim Supercross, it's a work in a progress and won't be available to the public until September.
"It's been a pleasure since day one to be able to work with Troy," Stewart said. "When I came to him four or five months ago and kinda told him my plan, it's been very comforting to know what he's done and his legacy. Every time I talk about Troy... a lot of people have a lot of respect for him and I did. But to get the chance to work with him and create this brand... I wasn't sure we were going to be able to get it done. We had a lot of up and down conversations of ‘do we have enough time to try to create this thing?' But we pulled our heads together with the help of Roger, Beau and the rest of these guys and here we are. It's cool to be here on the 2nd [January 2] and finally get a chance to release this, especially before a big week here at Anaheim. It's been special since day one."
Lee was a bit pessimistic going into the project, but that quickly changed once he got the chance to sit down with Stewart.
"Working with Stewart... a couple of times I tried to talk him out of it," Lee said. "The first couple of months it was like, ‘I don't know if we have time, are you serious?' Every time we talked the thing just kept getting a little bigger than life really. He kinda talked me into it and I liked where his head was at. We had dinner a couple of times and he got me excited about this whole thing. I feel like he's really bringing some really cool opportunities and he's pushing me, which I'm loving. We're going to keep this thing small and tight the first year here and just make sure we do it right and push the envelope on testing the product."
The first question that comes to mind with the new line is why Seven? Why not a James Stewart signature line from Troy Lee Designs?
"We went back and forth the whole time before even coming close to Seven," Stewart said. "We started with JS7 and S7. My whole thing was I wanted to have people understand that whether they were a fan of mine, a fan of Chad Reed or a fan of Ryan Villopoto, this gear was here to create something new. When we came up with Seven it was actually a perfect mix of having my touch on it and seven is obviously a cool number, but I still had to separate it from me. For most people out there to have the Seven gear or even have the Stewart on it, they were thinking signature gear and that's what I didn't want. I think we've did a good job of doing that. What you see now is probably 10 percent of where we are. I think the colors and things like that are changeable, but it will be good to show up at the gate with something special and hopefully have everyone try to copy us."
In addition to releasing the brand, Stewart also announced that he will be fielding an amateur motocross team backed by the brand.
"We all grew up racing Amateur racing and I feel the Amateur scene is almost more important than the Pro scene at this point," Stewart said. "To be able to have a group of kids like we've got... for me it's more than just results. The kids that we got have great families and they're good kids. I wanted kids that were family driven, kids with good hearts and schools and all that stuff. These kids are the future and these kids will hopefully replace us and take our sport and hopefully grow the Seven brand to where I'm done in 10 years and I'm sitting here watching this thing grow - me and Troy can have a margarita."
Stewart said it's been difficult to keep the news of the Seven brand under wraps... especially with his passion for letting things out on his Twitter feed.
"It was hard, but at the same time I knew if I did it I was going to get sued," Stewart said. "As soon as I was getting ready to pop it out, I started thinking about the checks I didn't want to write. It was tough."