Make us your home page
Instagram

O.J. Simpson houseguest Kato Kaelin to launch clothing line

Kato Kaelin became a household name — and the butt of many jokes — for being the slacker houseguest who testified during the murder trial of O.J. Simpson.

Two decades later, he's hoping to have the last laugh.

Kaelin is launching a line of lounge wear called Kato Potato with pockets for a TV remote, a phone and any snacks that sound like Kato, as in Cheetos, Fritos and Doritos.

"Embrace your inner slacker," he declares. "Because everyone with a couch is a couch potato sometimes."

Kaelin, 55, was in town last week promoting his men's Slacker collection of sweat pants, boxers, hoodies and robes with his business partner and longtime friend Rhonda Shear, a St. Petersburg comedian and lingerie business owner. The men's line is set to debut this fall online, in stores and on shopping channels, but details are still in the works.

The timing is, well, interesting.

June marks the 20th anniversary of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, a case that became one of the most widely publicized events in U.S. history. Simpson was arrested in the deaths — remember the white Ford Bronco chase? — and later acquitted by a jury.

Pretty boy Kaelin, while not the most helpful state witness, emerged as "America's favorite houseguest," eliciting laughs in the courtroom with his flippant comments.

He's still funny and, except for shorter hair, still looks about the same, thanks to Nerium age-defying cream, he insists.

In an interview, Kaelin told me he hasn't been in contact with Simpson or anyone else from the trial but still gets random questions about Simpson and his weight gain.

"I just say, 'I remember a different time when it was only the glove that didn't fit.' "

And where will Kaelin's clothing line be made?

"Our sister country, China."

Kaelin designed Kato Potato couch wear for men who work hard but appreciate their down time and want to be comfortable.

"These are the clothes for when you go on the couch and say, 'I'm vegging out all day,' " he said.

Kaelin and Shear plan to introduce eight items, then add a Hot Potatoes collection for women and Kater-Tots for kids. Prices will range from $29 to $69.

Friends since Shear's days as the sexy, funny host of USA: Up All Night in the early '90s, they hope to capitalize on the success of Shear's multimillion-dollar shapewear and lingerie business, Shear Enterprises. In 2012, Shear was named an Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year in Florida and just last weekend resurrected her show on WTTA-Ch. 38.

Since the Simpson trial, Kaelin has worked mostly in TV, starring in such shows as Eye for an Eye, a quirky court program that aired for five seasons. He never lost touch with Shear and two years ago reconnected with her at a pajama party at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion.

Although Kaelin's name might attract people to the line, he says the product will sell itself. The logo has a backward "K" with two feet walking backward "because it's okay to take a step back," he said. Above the pants pocket are the words: "TV Remote" with arrows pointing down.

Kaelin doesn't dwell on or feel uncomfortable about gaining notoriety from people's deaths.

"I can't change the fact that I was a witness in a trial, but then again, I was only a witness in this trial," he said. "My life goes on. Twenty years later, I'm the same."

He also hasn't changed his position on the crime. He believes Simpson was guilty, based on his opinion but not firsthand facts.

Kaelin continues to live in the Los Angeles area but now has his own place — a two-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse. Every night, he spends time as a couch potato, and he's proud of it.

Susan Thurston can be reached at sthurston@tampabay.com or (813) 225-3110.

O.J. Simpson houseguest Kato Kaelin to launch clothing line 04/21/14 [Last modified: Monday, April 21, 2014 11:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The FHP trooper behind quota on speeding tickets will resign Sept. 5

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A Florida Highway Patrol official's call for troopers to meet ticket quotas has cost him his job.

    Major Mark D. Welch, Troop Commander of Troop H, wrote an email asking his employees that he wants them to write two citations each hour. "This is not a quota," he wrote. His resignation is effective Sept. 5. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  2. Trump shuts down CEO advisory councils as main group acts to disband

    Business

    President Donald Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, "rather than …

    President Donald Trump meets with Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, second from left, and other leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last January. On Wednesday, Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
[New York Times file photo]
  3. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA —Eleven years after plans to develop a waterfront tract on the Tampa side of the Gandy Bridge were first announced, a new rendering gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District ultimately will look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}
  4. Buddy Brew Coffee to open downtown Tampa location

    Business

    TAMPA — Buddy Brew Coffee plans to open a new location in downtown Tampa at Park Tower in early 2018. The specialty coffee craft roaster, which was founded in 2010, has five other locations throughout Tampa including the Oxford Exchange, Sarasota, Hyde Park Village and Terminal F inside the Tampa International …

    A cappuccino is displayed at Buddy Brew in Tampa in January 2017. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  5. Where to pig out for National Bacon Lovers Day

    Food & Dining

    That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect …

    A creme-filled doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon at Dough on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.