Michael Strahan is one busy guy.
The former New York Giants defensive end has transformed himself from an athlete into a multidimensional media personality, with stints on “Fox NFL Sunday,” “Good Morning America” and “Live! with Kelly and Michael.”
Now he can add apparel designer to his résumé.
Strahan has partnered with J.C. Penney on an exclusive line of men’s tailored clothing and furnishings that will hit stores today.
“You can never be too busy,” Strahan told WWD. “I’m only working in the mornings, so I have to fill up every second of my time.”
Called Collection by Michael Strahan, the line will encompass suit separates, sport coats, dress shirts, neckwear, belts and accessories. Although it is not a big and tall collection, the line will offer extended sizes up to 60.
Prices will be moderate, with suit separates selling for $380 at regular price and $189.99 on sale; sport coats for $200 or $99.99, respectively; dress shirts for $50, or $29.99; neckwear and cufflinks for $42, or $24.99, and suspenders for $28 or $15.99.
Strahan said the moderate pricing of the collection was a key reason that he opted to partner with Penney’s.
“The fact that it is affordable is important to me,” he said. “I want to make sure we give people great suits at a price point they can afford.”
Strahan worked with the design team to choose styles and fabrics that reflect his style. They include traditional patterns such as bird’s eyes, herringbones and windowpanes.
“I consider my style classic with a modern edge — current and up to date,” he said. “But I don’t want something that you wear twice and can’t wear anymore.”
Strahan said he has “always loved fashion,” and when he was playing, he said there was a healthy competition among his teammates on “how you present yourself.”
He especially liked being forced to wear a suit as a young man, a category of apparel he’s embraced ever since.
“The few jobs that I have require suits,” he said, “which is great. They make you feel more professional and I’ve always loved a tailored look and feel.”
He admitted that at his size — 6 feet 5 inches and 275 pounds — he has a hard time finding clothes.
“It’s very hard for me to walk into a store and buy anything,” he said. “My arms are so long that I can wear three watches and read every one of them. And the pants are hard too since I have long legs and a short torso.”
But now that he has his own collection, fit won’t be a problem.
Strahan said he will wear Collection by Michael Strahan during all his television appearances, and his coworkers on “Fox NFL Sunday” will don the collection as well.
J.C. Penney has high hopes for the line. John Tighe, senior vice president of men’s apparel, said Strahan’s ability to “morph from an athlete into a celebrity” makes him relatable to a lot of people. “He also has exquisite taste. He’s an amazing guy and this is a win for the J.C. Penney clothing department.”
The line will be carried in more than 200 stores and online, he said. It will sit between Stafford, which is the company’s traditional label, and JF J. Ferrar, its more modern offering. “This will be a nice bridge between the two, and will be the only one with accessories merchandised along with it,” Tighe said.
The clothing is being manufactured by Penney’s along with Peerless Clothing and Randa. It will be merchandised in the clothing area with fixtures and graphics to support it, Tighe said.
The retailer is also planning a marketing campaign on television, in print and digitally to get the word out. Strahan is also planning to promote the line. “It has my name on it so I really want to be involved,” the athlete said.
Tighe said partnering with a celebrity is unusual for Penney’s, but Strahan is an exception. “We don’t do a lot of this, but Michael is pretty unique,” he said. “Men see him as a style-setter and women are very comfortable with him.”
Strahan said in addition to his television duties, he’s working on a book that is slated to come out in October. Entitled “Wake Up Happy,” it shares personal stories about how he stays motivated. “It was fun to write,” he said.
“And, of course, I’ll be focusing on my line with J.C. Penney to see where we can take it.”