MEET THE PERSON #12: Peter Kats (Vice President Lee Jeans E.M.E.A.)

Today the 12th episode of the topic Meet the Person with Peter Kats. This topic Meet the Person is about passionate people, people in the denim industry. In Meet the Person I will give you an insight into their life; who are they, what are they doing, what makes them so special, where are they working on, etc. etc.

This new episode of Meet the Person is with Peter Kats (Vice President Brand Lee Jeans E.M.E.A.). Thanks for sharing your great denim story Peter!


Peter Kats

peter kats longjohn

  • Name: Peter Kats
  • Living in: Westmalle, Belgium
  • Age: 48 years
  • Daily work: Vice President Brand, Lee E.M.E.A.

Can you introduce yourself: who are you and what do you do?

I’m Peter Kats, the Vice President of Lee Jeans Europe. I grew up in the Netherlands and graduated with a degree in Fashion Management. I was in the sportswear industry for a long time, working with big brands like Asics, Converse and Reebok. Five years ago, I was approached by VF Corporation and joined the company as the Vice President of Sales for Vans. I was there for three and a half years before hopping over to Lee. And since last November I’ve been Lee’s VP.

How did you enter the denim industry?

I’ve had a toe in the denim world for a long time now; after graduating, before I joined Reebok, I opened a small denim boutique in Amsterdam.

What are you doing at the moment?

I’m still settling into my new position, getting to know all of the brilliant teams here and working with them to develop the business.

What are you the proudest of so far when it comes to your work?

From a business point of view, I’m very proud that what I’ve done has contributed to the growth of each of the brands where I have worked. Personally, I consider myself very lucky to have worked with, and helped to contribute to the success of, some really great people.

What’s the biggest denim trend right now?

I would say that a return to authenticity is one of the most important trends at the moment. People are going back to the brands that they know, to the pioneering brands with a great deal of heritage. And as one of the founding fathers of the denim industry, this is good news for us! Thanks to almost 130 years of history, we have a rich archive on which to draw for inspiration; we are constantly reinterpreting the past by giving our iconic products, like the Rider denim jacket, a modern twist.

lee rider jacket longjohn

lee rider jacket longjohn

Original vintage deadstock Lee Rider Jacket (kids version) from the 1940’s. See more pics here.

And what do you think will be the next denim trend?

I think that in the near future denim brands will look to make use of technological advances and we’ll see in an interesting convergence between heritage and tech. At Lee Jeans, we are always looking to innovate and so, keep an eye out for industry leading cutting-edge technology. This season we’re launching our new Body Optix collection, which we’re very proud of. Combining our denim expertise with the know-how of VF’s vision scientists, we’ve used the principles of anatomy shading and a patented laser technique to highlight certain areas of the body. It’s a very innovative approach and the result is fantastic, a very flattering look from all angles.

lee jeans body optik longjohn

lee jeans body optix longjohn

Shots of Lee Jeans Body Optix.

What’s your favourite denim brand?

Mr Freedom, for it’s original style and superb craftsmanship.

What’s your favourite piece of denim in your closet and why?

It is very hard to choose, but I am a huge fan of the Lee 101 collection. At the moment, I have a crush on a last spring’s Lee 101 carpenter pant. They’re super versatile look and the Japanese selvedge is second to none.

lee 101 jeans longjohn

Lee 101 carpenter pant.

What’s your favourite denim fit?

Without a moment’s hesitation, I would choose our Rider fit. The world’s first slim fit, it was launched by Lee in the 40’s.

What’s your favourite city for denim?

Amsterdam, without any doubt. I lived in Amsterdam for a long time and have some great denim memories that are linked to this city.

Who’s your favourite denim designer?

I have the utmost respect for Pierre Morisset (former head designer at G-Star) and his revolutionary approach to reshaping jeans.

What do you think it’s the best invention in the denim industry?

All the innovations that are working towards making denim sustainable.

Who’s your denim hero & why:

Marilyn Monroe, she was one of the first women to make denim fashionable. When she wore the Storm Rider Jacket in The Misfits movie, she influenced generations of people and helped to establish the denim jacket as an iconic piece for every wardrobe.

marilyn monroe

marilyn monroe

Marilyn Monroe wearing a Lee Storm Rider jacket in the movie The Misfits (1961). See more shots of a vintage Storm Rider jacket here.

What’s your favourite denim store:

Whenever I’m in Zurich I have to go to VMC, it’s heaven for denim nerds.

VMC store in Zurich, Swiss.

What are your ultimate denim accessories:

The belt. Proper jeans must always have a proper belt, and the perfect wallet to fit in the back pocket.

What’s your favourite inspiration quote:

It varies from day to day, I guess that makes me a typical Gemini!

Who do you love to see in the next Meet the Person:

Tony Tonnaer, from K.O.I. (Kings of Indigo).

Read also the previous episodes of Meet the Person;

Meet the Person #1: Amy Leverton (Denim Dudes): here.

Meet the Person #2: Jacques Grosz (Kiliwatch store Paris): here.

Meet the Person #3: Guido Biondi (Roy Roger’s): here.

Meet the Person #4: Gerold Brenner (Designer, Trendforecaster): here.

Meet the Person #5: Leon Blok (Designer, tailor maker): here.

Meet the Person #6: Guido Kerssens (AMFI Amsterdam): here.

Meet the Person #7: James Veenhoff (Denim City, Jean School, Fronteer): here

Meet the Person #8: Moritz Fuchs (New Heritage Festival): here

Meet the Person #9: Christine Rucci (Godmother NYC): here

Meet the Person #10: Sean Gormley (Creative Director Wrangler E.M.E.A.): here.

Meet the Person #11: Piero Turk (Denim Designer): here.

Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.