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Fashion is opening up its arms as of late, stressing the importance of inclusivity for all, and budding beyond what industry veterans could have ever imagined. Diversity has taken the throne, with race, size, age, and gender inclusion at play – finally reflecting the world as it is, and appealing to the masses.
The plus size fashion market is one constantly in evolvement, as supermodel Ashley Graham (amongst others), lead the helm in redefining what categorizes true beauty. And just as Graham has shifted perspective, former NFL defensive end Marcus Spears is taking the charge, one unconventional step at a time.
We caught up with the former Dallas Cowboys star turned ESPN analyst during a Dallas taping of SEC Nation, and the 300 pound-plus media personality was fired up and ready to change the landscape of men’s big and tall styles — for good.
Surprisingly, Spears admits to garnering his celebrity style #inspo from Pinterest, a self-proclaimed yet humorous addiction for the 6’4 Louisiana native. “I’m a Pinterest guy,” Marcus Spears unapologetically claimed. “I think Pinterest is the greatest.” To think of a burly athlete such as Spears fashion-pinning is quite amusing; however, his greatest claims to fashion fame are innately a family affair.
“My grandfather was a pastor, my dad dressed smooth, my mom, my sister – [all] dope dressers. We weren’t buying Gucci and all of that when we were young, but we wanted to look good.
It was always about the shoe game for me, and my sister was all about having the right color combination, and my mom…she’d put on her dress and her makeup. My dad was clean [with an] old school curl and all of that, so…it’s [been] passed down.”
For the nine-year NFL veteran, fashion and style are par for the course. From Tom Ford fragrance faves to J. Hilburn suits, Spears gravitates heavily to affordable luxury. A man of selfless motivation, the woes experienced by Spears as he tried to fit (literally) within fashion’s confines were burdening. He now voices the frustrations for the big and tall market, pushing for equality in design.
“As I got older and I grew into this big body, I realized that they don’t make stuff for us – they don’t make clothes to fit big dudes. If you go to the big and tall stores, or if you go to buy [clothing] for guys my size 300 pounds plus, everything drapes you – nothing contours.
I knew [that] when I was going to go on television, and I knew when I was playing for the Dallas Cowboys that I wasn’t going to take a backseat to the 6’1, 225, European-cut guy. So I told my tailors at the time, ‘Look, I want this suit to be cut to my body and if you can’t do it –you’re going to [end up making] a suit, and you’re going to waste your fabric, because I’m not paying for it.’”
Spears’ matter-of-fact attitude sprinkled with uncanny resilience led to a year-long development process for J. Hilburn’s launch of big and tall apparel, with Marcus Spears headlining as the new brand ambassador. Custom $2500 suits were out the door, as the fresh collaboration focused on affordability, fit, and confidence for today’s big and tall man.
“I want real suits that fit men, that are affordable. The average big guy can’t afford a $2500 suit. [Also], they feel inferior because when they go into a luncheon or a meeting, they’re not confident. What you have on gives confidence.”
Spears exuded every bit of confidence as he taped for SEC Nation – a confidence that landed him his own show on ESPN, “Thinking Out Loud” with Greg McElroy, first airing September 4th. While one would artfully attribute his fancy attire to the network upgrade, we know undoubtedly, that it was his pure talent.
Much lies ahead for Marcus Spears in men’s fashion. From pushing sophisticated pattern and print-mixing for the big and tall, the art of tailoring, and an Inspire N Style predicted Marcus Spears (the fashion designer) meets J. Hilburn collab – we’ll watch as a new wave of inclusivity in men’s fashion is birthed.
And while Spears moves forward, ever-so-stylishly — his platform, purpose, outlook, and fashion will never go out of style.
Images are copyright protected. Photo Credit: Theo White for Inspire N Style.