At 5-foot-7, Scott Savett may not be short by definition. But he does struggle to find athletic clothing that fits him properly. It’s a struggle that continued into adulthood—until he decided to launch his Radnor-based ATK Apparel in late 2017.
The average American male over the age of 20 is about 5 feet 9 inches tall, and most clothing is made for men of that height. “Ever since high school, I noticed that athletic shorts were really made for taller men,” says Savett.
Savett notes that roughly a third of the U.S. male population is 5 foot 8 and under. Those are the ones he targets with ATK Apparel—the “ATK” short for “above the knee.” Savett started his business with two styles called Flow and Performance. Both have a stretchy, sublimated graphic design, and the “flashier” Performance shorts offer zip pockets.
Having worked in politics and government affairs a majority of his career, Savett is risk-averse by nature. “At some point in your life, you just have to make a jump,” he says.
Rather than hiring his own staff, the Lower Merion resident minimized his overhead by working with pattern makers and manufacturers. By doing so, he was able to self-fund his business. His shorts are currently manufactured in Philadelphia and outside of Baltimore, Md. “It’s nice to see that you’re making a product, and people in America are actually sewing it,” he says.
It took some time to find the right length. To make the shorts proportional, “you have to make the rise [shorter],” says Savett.
He tested the shorts on multiple bodies to ensure fit, but he also understands that they may not work for everyone. “You could have two people who are 5 foot 8, 150 pounds, they could put on the same pair of shorts, and they could fit them completely differently,” says Savett. “It was not an easy process. I really tried to take my time.”
Bart DeGele of the Philadelphia-based manufacturer Sample Solutions worked with him on the process. “He wanted to understand. He really got into a realm of pattern making,” says DeGele. “He was very exacting, very meticulous. He tried lots of [short samples] in different sizes, from 30 to 36 inches, until he was comfortable with a size that looked decent on a guy who’s shorter.”
ATK Apparel is currently available on Savett’s website, as well as Amazon. He hopes that his clothing will find its way into stores—it helps that there aren’t many businesses out there producing men’s athletic apparel geared toward certain heights. “As far as I can tell, I’m the only person who does this,” says Savett, who notes he took some cues from Peter Manning NYC, which sells clothing aimed at shorter men, though not athletic gear. “I absolutely think there’s a need—I wouldn’t have done this if there wasn’t. I think the growth potential is tremendous.”
Savett plans to launch additional products, including pants, long-sleeve shirts, and shorts that come in two shades of gray. Golf shirts may also be in his future. “To actually produce something that people wear is pretty cool,” he says.