While most of the city headed out of town for the long weekend on Friday evening, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez zipped into Hugo Boss’ Columbus Circle shop with some post-preseason purpose. The 24-year-old, who sports the brand’s wears on the cover of GQ this month, was there to donate $25,000 to Tuesday’s Children, a nonprofit that provides mental health services to families impacted by Sept. 11 and other terrorist incidents. Hugo Boss matched Sanchez’s contribution. After pausing for photos with the kids (and, by popular demand, their mothers), WWD borrowed a few minutes of the QB’s time to discuss, among other things, the intricacies of the men’s photo shoot.
WWD: What gave you more pause on the GQ shoot — the white pants or the bathtub shot?
This story first appeared in the September 7, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Mark Sanchez: Just them deciding to pick me. It must have been a slow day. A lot of people must have been on vacation. To put my ugly mug on there was crazy.
WWD: What’s the worst you’ve heard on that from your teammates?
M.S.: There’s a radio program back in L.A. with Petros Papadakis and Money Smith…They’re big on the white pants in the fashion world, I guess, and [the stylists] said, “You gotta wear these!” And I said [grumbling slightly] “All right, I’ll wear them.” In the back of my mind, I’m knowing, as I’m taking these pictures and smiling, “Oh man, I know Petros is gonna let me have it on air.” It’s fine. It’s all in fun, and it went to a good cause.
WWD: Were you a stylish guy before you got into the league?
M.S.: [I’m in] SoCal beach attire as long as I possibly can be. My mom helps out a lot just matching colors and stuff. But other than that, without the help of Hugo Boss and the people from GQ, I’d be swimming.
WWD: Do you feel any particular pressure to be stylish as a sports figure? Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony are looking pretty dapper these days. Does New York do that to you?
M.S.: The city — they expect a lot. Especially when you’re in the spotlight. As a captain of this football team and going into my third year, there isn’t any room for rookie mistakes when it comes to fashion. I don’t need to wear a top hat and a cane or anything, or a zoot suit. But at the same time, you want to look professional. Whether that means clean shaven, or a tie when it’s an optional-tie event…Now I know why you wear pocket squares, and how you fold them. So stuff that I had no clue about, I’m starting to understand a little.
WWD: Any chance we’ll see you at fashion week events sooner or later?
M.S.: I don’t know. There’s a couple in the off-season, right? In the spring?
WWD: Well, there’s one in February, but…
M.S.: Hopefully we’re real busy then.
WWD: There are those in football punditry who might say the magazine covers and the photo shoots outstrip your on-field accomplishments at this point. You’re going into your third year now. How do you react to that sort of thing?
M.S.: This was an opportunity [that was] more than just a photo shoot, and that was the most important thing. My brother [business manager Nick Sanchez] and I talked about this at length before we agreed to the shoot. He said if we can parlay this into a charity event, we could raise a significant amount of money and help some serious people that are in need of help…He’s even more conservative than I am, and he knows how I feel about stuff like this. When we got a chance to help people like this, then it’s obvious. [I] just let my play speak for itself and our success speak for itself. Hopefully we’ll win the big one and not have to worry about it.