NY GIANTS LEGEND CARL BANKS TALKS FASHION & NEW G-III “4HER” COLLECTION
An early interest in fashion and an NFL career in New York have proven to be a winning combination for Carl Banks. The hard-hitting linebacker turned successful fashion entrepreneur actually started his design career while he was still playing in the NFL. He began by creating clothing for himself and fellow players and eventually his eye for style and savvy business sense helped Banks to become President of Sports Licensing for G-III Apparel. The football great has put a unique spin on athletic apparel, garnering licenses with leagues such as the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB to produce team-inspired gear. Today Carl continues to help expand G-III’s presence within the fashionable fan gear market.
Banks’ latest fashion venture is the launch of a new G-III women’s collection called “4Her.” The line of stylish sports lounge apparel features licensed NFL team tees and sweats, made of materials such as French terry and sueded fleece. Beginning at size 10, items in the collection range from $19.95 to $49.95. Female fans of the game can tune in to HSN during the “Football Fan Shop” on September 5th, for the official introduction of the “4Her” line. The collection will debut live at 1 a.m., 11 a.m, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. EST and viewers will see Carl and a variety of NFL wives showcasing the new designs.
Carl gave A Glam Slam the story on his transition from the gridiron to the design room, as well as the details on his new collection. Check it out:
Did you always have an interest in fashion? Why did you decide to begin designing clothes?
I always loved fashion, both my parents were great dressers. Designed my first jacket my rookie year with the Giants. David Beckerman then CEO of Starter was my inspiration for sports fashion. He defined the culture of sports apparel.
Do you think playing in New York, one of the “fashion capitals of the world” had an impact on your sense of style?
NY absolutely and completely impacted my sense of style. As an NFL rookie I spent many evenings window shopping Barneys, Saks, Bloomies, etc. while learning my way around NY. In the 80’s, great stores downtown as well.
You’ve been in the design business for quite awhile now. Was it difficult to transition from the NFL into the world of fashion?
The transition was difficult in the sense that I wanted retailers to focus on my product and not last week’s game. I started my brand during my 3rd year with the NYG. My formula was to allow for the first 20 mins. of a sales meeting to talk sports and the rest focus on fashion.
Your new exclusive G-III “4Her” collection targets women size 10 and up. Why was it important for you to focus on this group?
G-III 4Her was designed as an exclusive launch for HSN. The reason was because their customer base reflects the true American sizing for females. There is a tremendous demand for true sizing.
What can we expect to see in the “4Her” collection?
You can expect to see very exciting fabrications for active lifestyles with great graphic applications. French Terry, sueded fleece, Tri blends, Slubbed jersey etc.
How involved are you in the design process for this line?
I am 100% involved in the entire process. From mind to market. I set the vision for design, sales and marketing.
In recent years there has been a demand for more fashion-forward female fan gear. What have you incorporated into this line to appeal to this consumer?
I have addressed the need for female fashion. Pink colors is not our idea of fashion colors. We incorporate market and trend relevant silhouettes and fabrics. Our focus is making sure the fashion is correct and only after that to infuse the logo treatments.
A lot of professional athletes these days are developing their own fashion lines or collaborating with brands/designers. Why do you think that is? Do athletes have advantages that help them succeed in this business?
Athletes that enter into the fashion business will quickly realize that it takes as much hard work to become successful as it takes to be successful in sports. I truly believe that athletes are attracted to fashion because they have great taste in their wardrobes and want to share their perspectives with the public.
During your football career you were known to be a well-dressed player off-the-field. How would you describe your personal style?
I subscribe to classic styles, great fabrics, traditional patterns. Great ties that add personalty to the outfit. Casual wear is about fabrics and footwear. Accessories like cuff links and a great watch completes the look.
Below is a preview of the G-III “4Her” collection: