CBS 42 TV anchor Art Franklin’s entry into the fashion world

By Ryan Michaels | The Birmingham Times

This story is being republished with permission from The Birmingham Times

“Bold and powerful” could be adjectives to describe ties from Art Franklin’s debut men’s clothing line—the Art Franklin Collection. Those words also could be used to describe the man himself.

Franklin, an anchor with Birmingham’s WIAT-TV CBS 42 since 2016, launched his collection in late November through Treś’ Fine Clothing, owned by Treś Washington in the Cottons Building at 400 19th Street Ensley.

Given his love of music and sense of style, Franklin had local guitarist Eric Essix and saxophonist Marion Meadows perform during his Purple Carpet launch event. Franklin has long had a reputation in Birmingham for his fashion-forward ties, dating back to his days as an anchor at WBRC-TV Fox 6 in the 1990s.

“People would always compliment me for my ties, and I even have given them away sometimes,” Franklin said. “When people say, ‘I really like that,’ that means I’ve got to take it off and give it to them.”

As a television personality, Franklin “dresses for a living,” he said, but he also is aware a person’s attire can speak volumes.

“I’ve always believed that fashion kind of makes a statement about who you are. People notice you when you walk in a room when you dress well. They also notice when you don’t dress well,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important.”

Solomon Williams and Art Franklin Shaking Hands
Model: Solomon Williams and Art Franklin Shaking Hands

A Local Need

Franklin, 62, got the idea to develop his own clothing line following a visit to Washington’s shop after a meeting in Ensley. He was about to take some suits to his usual tailor when he was told that there was one nearby.

“I said, ‘Here? In Ensley?’ They said, ‘Yeah, there’s a tailor right around the corner.’ So, I stepped into the shop, and it was more than just a tailor shop,” Franklin recalled. “It was actually a men’s clothing store with a tailor inside. … We talked, I left my clothes to be tailored—and I walked out of there with three suits.”

Franklin had plans to put together a clothing line before the day he walked into Washington’s store.

“I think when God is in the mix, things happen the way they’re supposed to happen, when they’re supposed to happen, how they’re supposed to happen,” Franklin said. “I think that’s what it was on that particular day. … Everything just fell into place.”

Having served the historic neighborhood for about two years in the mid-1990s, when he patrolled Ensley High School under the late Principal Charles Warren, Franklin believes the area is a “natural fit” for his clothing line.

“[Warren] said, ‘I want you to patrol the halls,’ said Franklin. “[He knew] I could say things to kids like, “Pull up your pants,’ and they’d say, ‘OK, Mr. Franklin,’ and it wouldn’t be a big deal. … If a teacher had said that the [students] might have gotten a little snarky with them.”

Treś’ Fine Clothing will allow Franklin to not only create clothing but also provide it at a price point that is missing from men’s fashion in many areas of Birmingham.

“I shop online and in stores, but I don’t get to shop [in Birmingham],” Franklin said. “That’s why I think it’s going to be important to have a place here in Birmingham that will fit those seeking the style I’m looking for … at an affordable price.”

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