Watkins Sportswear

Racing Meets Fashion




Featured Products / Burt Reynolds Tribute series

Second Generation Craftsman

" I am very happy to be continuing the Watkins Sportswear brand.  Growing up in the family business I am very fortunate to have seen all that I have seen, and designed for people that changed our world. I am very happy to be continuing the Watkins Sportswear legacy."

Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit II


  The Original Watkins Bandit Jacket was designed by Jim Watkins in 1976 for Burt Reynolds and his Firebird Bandit Trans Am as seen in the movie Smokey and the Bandit. 

 Arguably, the red “Bandit” jacket that Burt Reynolds wore in the movie Smokey and the Bandit II is perhaps the most remembered item associated with the movie, besides of course, the 1980 Black and Gold Special Edition Trans Am. Everyone wanted to drive one of those black Trans Ams and everyone wanted to wear one of those cool red Bandit jackets. Overwhelmed by requests, we are excited to reproduce our original jackets.

​   THE WATKINS JACKET PEDIGREE....    According to an article in the May 23, 1977 edition of People Magazine, 

"The original movie jacket worn by Burt Reynolds in the movie Smokey and the Bandit II was made by Jim Watkins Designs. Watkins jackets are “Special Jackets made for Special People” and Jim Watkins outfitted movie stars, rock stars, NASCAR, DONZI, Broward Marine, and off shore racing teams, astronauts, and even presidents. From Studio 54 to MTV Watkins created designs and dressed more stars than Bob Mackie".  


  Juxtapoz Art and Culture Magazine,  "The first Watkins Racing Jackets were made out of silver aluminized nylon with a unique NASA spacesuit coating and lightweight lining to provide perfect year round comfort. They came embroidered with your choice of colorful car insignia (Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Corvette, and Jaguar) on the right sleeve and a U.S. flag on the left sleeve. It didn’t take long for the popularity of these jackets to take root, and soon Watkins and son were making jackets with other custom car names, filling rock band requests for exclusive tour jackets, and creating other unique jacket designs.

This iconic design that remains a Notorious Pop Culture touchstone to this day is available in a special tribute release from the Jim Watkins personal collection..


Jim Watkins designed a Black Bandit jacket for the first SATB movie but during testing and close up shots Hal Needham thought Burt was washed out against the Black Trans Am interior, and so the RED shirt was used.  

" ALL I SEE IS BURT'S RED SHIRT  AND MOUSTACHE, HE LOOKS LIKE HE IS PART OF THE SEAT" The memo from Hal read.   We still have the original Black Bandit jacket that was returned from the office of Ray Stark.


The next movie we designed for Burt was HOOPER. During a fitting Burt grabbed a stock Silver FIREBIRD jacket and we tailored it to fit. 

Story goes that during negotiations with GM, Burt wore the jacket to the meetings and used the Jacket as leverage to get more coveted PONTIAC vehicles.  If the jacket went into the movie they wanted more PONTIAC vehicles.  This was a very fun time for us and Burt, and a great time to be in Hollywood.

We are all deeply saddened by the passing of our friend, may he rest in peace. 

1978 Saturday Evening Post


Jim Watkins designed the HOOPER FIREBIRD jacket for Burt at his request to help make Sonny Hooper's character pop off the screen. 

This iconic design that remains a Notorious Pop Culture touchstone to this day is available in a special tribute release from the Jim Watkins personal collection..

Burt and Hal had a loyalty to the Pontiac brand and America. At a time when politics were sour, Burt proudly wore the American flag on most of the Jackets we designed for him.  We are still manufactured in the U.S.A.

American ICON


From 1975 to well into the 1990's we made over 300 jackets for Burt.  His generosity was unmatched.  Mega A listers to regular people...From Princess Caroline, Johnny Carson, and Dinah Shore,  to support staff, friends and family he had the  inside of each jacket embroidered " With Love, Burt"

ABC Thursday Night Movie Circa 1985

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Watkins Sportswear The Original

(949) 672-8035