Two years after launching, MVP Collections, a men’s big and tall brand founded by former Major League Baseball All-Star Mo Vaughn, has brought on a partner to expand the company’s visibility and reach.
Frank Thomas, “The Big Hurt,” a two-time MVP and MLB Hall of Famer, has joined the brand and will front four capsule collections that will launch for fall.
Thomas, an analyst for Fox Sports who is also on the broadcast team for NBC Sports Chicago, will become the brand’s third partner, along with Vaughn and Diane Cutuli-Bennett, a former Kellwood executive.
In an interview with WWD, Vaughn said he and Thomas have been friends since their college playing days and developed a mutual respect after being pitted against each other for decades. “He’s a professional and a great representative for our team,” Vaughn said. “Plus, he’s the customer.”
Thomas, who said he’s 6-feet 5-inches and nearly 300 pounds, said he saw the MVP Collections line in a DXL store in 2017 and was immediately drawn to it. “The clothes are hot and fashionable,” he said, adding, “no one takes care of the big guy. I’ve always loved fashion and this is right up my alley.”
Vaughn said he is “more bland” than Thomas so the new capsule collections will be more fashion-forward. They will be “inspired by Frank Thomas’ favorite styles,” and will be El Dorado, which includes gold details and embroidery; Seductive Nights, which will be jewel-colored python prints and velveteen vintage washed denim; La Barocco, which is based on Baroque prints, and Neon Lights, techno satin fabrics with neon stripes. Styles will include alth-leisure, premium denim, Ts, polos, jackets and dress shirts.
”Like Mo, I’m a big guy who’s always looking for stylish clothing options, so it’s been exciting to see my collections with MVP come to life,” Thomas said. “I love a great polo and jeans, but then I also love to wear trendy prints and bright colors, and these collections bring a little of everything from my personal style into them.”
Thomas said he’ll wear the collection both on the air and off.
For the new collection, sizes will run from 2XL to 6XL in big, XLT to 4XLT in talls, 40-58s and inseams in 32 to 36 inches. Prices will range from $59 to $208.
“In two years, we’ve learned a lot of what’s working and what’s not,” Bennett said, adding that ath-leisurewear represents 30 to 40 percent of the business for both MVP Collections’ direct-to-consumer business and for DXL. And the 5XL and 6XL sizes represented nearly 30 percent of the company’s overall sales in the first quarter, driven by “novelty” styles. The Frank Thomas collections will “be a little dressier, but still on-trend,” she said.
Vaughn said since starting the brand, the idea was to offer larger men the same styles and fashion as smaller guys. “If the little guys can wear it, why can’t we,” he said.
Vaughn and Thomas will be showing the collection at the Project show in Las Vegas in August and also doing a meet-and-greet with retailers and attendees. The company also plans an extensive digital marketing push to introduce the collection to customers.