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Published April 2024

In Focus: Fusing Sports + Fashion


Over time, and especially today, the fusion of sports and fashion has evolved beyond uniforms and acts as an avenue for added entertainment and inspiration via the “Game Day Fits” that allow players to provide an identity for themselves beyond just the team they play for and in turn, inspires and influences the fashion industry and consumers. 

This season, PROJECT took place in the same city as one of the NFL’s biggest events of the year. We had the opportunity of sitting down with some of the NFL’s most fashionable players to get a behind the scenes look at their style inspiration which is bound to influence consumers. Read on for key takeaways from this past season’s panel, Fitted Up with The NFL: Fashion’s Newest MVPs. 


Creativity as an Outlet

“[For athletes,] having that outlet of creating [is important] because you’ve got to get away from football – if you just focus on football 100% of the time, you’re going to go crazy,” shared Keion White, Defensive End of the New England Patriots, who explores his creative abilities across mediums from photography to painting to woodworking, and of course fashion. 

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Linebacker of the Cleveland Browns recalls how infusing creativity into his schedule helped him get through his university years at Notre Dame: “Photography was a big release for me and often times, I would listen to music as well—I can't be out taking pictures without some type of jazz along the lines of Miles Davis, or Robert Glasper, or Weber.”  

For Shaq Lawson, Defensive End of the Buffalo Bills, getting older means he’s started to “build a brand outside of football” in the general sense by exploring various creative outlets from music and, quite literally, with a new clothing brand he’s just started developing.  



Keion White


Jeremiah Owusu - Koramoah


Shaq Lawson


Kingsley Jonathan


The "Game Day Fit"

The well-broadcasted "Game Day Fits” or “Tunnel Looks” act as an opportunity for players to define their identity outside of football. “Especially in Buffalo, it's big on individuality... we have that freedom to come as we are, wear what we want to wear... be an individual, but play as a team,” shares Keion White. The Georgia Tech alumni attributes his fashion sense to his time in Atlanta, “a Mecca for Black fashion and art,” and opts to “shop small” and thrift for his “Game Day Fits.”


“What you put on is the first thing people see, so it's like you're speaking to them without even having a conversation...”

—Keion White, Defensive End of the New England Patriots


Similarly to uniforms in sports, clothing can convey a certain message or heritage. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, shares, “when you study African history, you come across different symbols, different colors, different patterns that all signify something, whether it's age, status...The reason people [wear] things is not because there just happens to be an [item in front of them], it’s because of the culture behind it.” To prepare for a “Game Day Fit,”  Owusu-Koramoah shares, “one week, I may end up going to one of the local African boutiques or I may have a designer over in Cote d'Ivoire, or Ghana, or Nigeria that I've asked to source for me. And it's a profound experience too, because when you think about wearing something and specifically for me, most of what I wear is African traditional or diasporic African traditional, so when you wear a piece, it’s almost like a nation behind you.”

Kinglsey Jonathan, Defensive End of the Buffalo Bills, who also wears traditional African clothing from time-to-time, shares that, “for me, the process of getting ready for the ‘Game Day Fit’—it can happen in two days or it can happen a week before. I work closely with my stylist, Zoe...she let’s me be myself...but she puts me in some uncomfortable zones that I have never been in nor thought about, so that’s how I push myself when it comes to fashion.” 

For Shaq Lawson, preparations happen throughout the week and he often has to call “an audible” and go for a different “Game Day Fit” due to uncertain climate in Buffalo, New York.  


The Future of Fashion Influenced by the NFL

Throughout the panel, the players discuss wanting to see consumers move towards a more financially responsible direction when it comes to fashion, hoping to encourage consumers to shop small and explore sustainable options like thrifting. Keion White remarks, “I think within our community, it's so big on showing that you have it instead of actually having it and having to show off this whole flashy way of things, but there’s also alternates. It’s not normalized to shop smaller, shop in our community, and not spend all this exuberant amount of money... So, it just starts with conversation.” 




Register for the next season of PROJECT Las Vegas this August 19-21, 2024 to experience more insightful live sessions and shop what’s new and next in menswear. 


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