Racing against time: 8:57, 8:58, 8:59 – doors open; we’re greeted with clothing. The room is fully decorated with fashionable attire. An enamored crowd gathers in the front. As this myriad of curious onlookers lined up to see the best and brightest – the latest and hip – we are glad to say we were there every step of the way.
Hosted and produced by the wonderful minds behind the MRket trade show, The Knockturnal got an exclusive interview with former NFL and bowling star Terrell Owens. Owens is the founder of new clothing line ‘Prototype 81’. And between the clothes and his career – we got it all.
For those who may not know what a “sports luxury collection” entails; what exactly is involved in your set?
Well, what Prototype 81 is more of a sports – more of a fashion-forward sports luxury line. And that will consist of your active but functional pieces; things to wear to and from the gym. There will be three tiers to my line which are your core, active-wear and then exclusive. Exclusive will be more of your higher end-pieces – your one of a kind piece – but more for your fashion-forward – you know – your fashion-forward consumer. But again, if you think about, you know, really kind of the message that I’m been throwing out this where – you know – I’m an athlete; this is where fashion meets performance. So we’re trying to marry those two and – you look at some of the fabrications for active-wear, sports-wear – you’re intertwining that in your fashion – you know – high-end fashion and cloth materials. So that’s how I came up with Prototype 81 because I felt that I was fashion-forward, I wanted something to reflect my personality. Coming out of college and well into the pros, everybody always said I was a “prototypical” type of athlete or receiver. And Bageot, I know you seem like you’re a very intelligent guy, but my initials are T.O. – so, try to spell “prototype” without “T.O.”
So Prototype 81 is one of the reasons I came up with the name – is utilizing some of those attributes and trying to find something that was very, very creative; which is really kind of unique now in the sense of finding the word and naming my line “Prototype” and having my initials smack-dab in the middle. And utilizing my football number right at the end. So – and we can utilize that labeling – we can do a number of things with our line. Again, when we talk about the core pieces which is some of your basic T-shirt, shorts – but again, what will really make my line different from anything else out there – I’m not trying to be like anyone else – which is how I was on the football field. I tried to be “me”, and when you see some of my collection, you’ll see that some of it is different with some of the fabrications of the color-blocking, some of the prints that are a little bit out there. Again – contrasting, stitching, piping – things of that nature. These are some of the things that will set me apart on the football field and I want my line to do the same – to reflect that.
Very, very confident. And I think my persona on the football field – it obviously, sometimes got misconstrued as arrogance and cockiness – but for me, that was my confidence. I was super confident and my line – the dedication that I have – the parallels to my football career and what I’m doing here now in the fashion industry, you know, kind of coincides with each-other. Because the same desire that I had to be successful in football – the dedication that I had and the discipline that I needed to become who I am – I utilize those same, same attributes in the fashion industry. I got the desire; I got the dedication and I have the discipline to just stick with it. And I have a great team behind me as well. So again, that’s all about really finding the right nucleus and team of people behind you to really grasp through your vision and the direction of the line and bringing it to life. So again, we put in a lot of hard work; a lot of hard, hard work.
So how did you get into the fashion industry?
There wasn’t one thing that really sold me – or made me – jump into it; I think it’s always been in my DNA. What I’m doing in the fashion world – just like some of the things I’ve accomplished on the football field – I’m living by carefully doing me. Do some of the things in Hollywood, be on the big screen; my mom never doubted my opportunity to do that because she was raising 4 kids at that time. She was, you know, working on the sewing machine – making our clothes as kids – just to make extra income. So, these are some of the things really propel me to be where I am today. Even being in the fashion industry. My mom – she wanted to be a model. To get into modelling things. These were some of the things she wasn’t able to do because she had to take care of 4 kids. This right here – this fashion; my line – she’s inspired me. I remember as a kid, you know, stepping on pens in the carpet; you know, walking over patterns, crawling under the chair – because she had a sewing machine right in front of the door of my room. She got tired of getting up – getting up in down in order to let us through – so I had to crawl under the chair just to get to my room. So, that was the dedication that she had, you know, to make sure that we looked good.
You know, that we had some clothes that were presentable when we walked out of the door, or when she carried us with her places. So these are some of the things that she did as a sacrifice. We didn’t have the financial income to go out there and buy some of your name-brands back then, such as your Guests; your Levis; things of that nature. I had to really get a good pair of shoes or any type of name-brand clothes during the course of the school year – or just in general. I mean, especially shoes; they were like Jordans; Brooks – those shoes are like $120 bucks. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s that’s a lot, you know. So I had to pony up a couple of $20 dollars – $20 or $40 bucks from her – whatever she was able to provide – $20 and $40 bucks from my grandmother; and I tried to get whatever I could from my dad – just so I could feel really good about myself. I mean, you think about feeling good, looking good, that’s what I want to do with my line – is with people when they see or wear my clothes – that they’re motivated; they’re inspired to go out and be healthy.
It’s just not for your athletic or your skinny consumer. We as a nation – as fashion is evolving, we are embracing the curvy women – you know, those women are just as beautiful as your models – so I want my line to reflect and be able to motivate and inspire everyone. You want to look presentable. I mean, that helps – especially growing up – it helps with the psyche of kids because kids can be tough on each-other. You know, if you’re not wearing the best of – whatever it is – the name-brands – you can get teased a lot. You know, I mean – it really helps with the confidence and the psyche of kids. So, if you’re here looking good – and your attire is on point, then it’s gonna take you a long way. It’s gonna help with your confidence. It’s the way you present yourself as well. And even here – with people from afar – assessing you; you look at the aesthetics of that individual and you’re gonna look at what they’re wearing. So you can kind of tell when – and differentiate – what income you’re a part of – your income bracket.
Were there any challenges on bringing the Prototype 81 line to fruition?
Well, with life there is always gonna be challenges. So it’s about how you approach it and how you deal with it; how you respond and how you react to it. By no means did I feel like this was gonna be an easy transition. And again, that’s where I rely on my team and the designers and everybody that has had that experience – that has been in that position – to help me along the way. So again, it’s just like – you’re gonna go through the bumps and bruises; the ups and downs; but again those are some of the things that are behind the scenes. It’s all about the finished product, you know. This right here, my coach one time when I was playing in San Francisco – we were going through a tough time; you know, we were losing. The road to success is always gonna be stressful and it’s no different than anything in life. So even with this process of being in the fashion industry, it’s always under construction. Talk about revisions; talk about forecasting – you’re talking about different fabrications; trying to be knowledgeable about everything and knowing what goes with what and what doesn’t go with what. You know – learning about ribbons; two-way and four-way fabric – and the Modells. Learning about cover-stitches and what flat-locks are. These are some of the things that I’ve just been able to soak up and become very knowledgeable about during this whole process.
Any future projects that you’re willing to share?
Yeah, I have a fitness board that’s coming out – it’s called “Body Board X” – so I mean, people can just check that out. It’s gonna be launching here pretty soon as well. It’s a little side-venture I’m doing outside of fashion but yeah – Bodyboardx.com – it’s a fitness piece in where people can really stay fit, toned and – you know – targets your core. Again, just check it out man it’s one way I keep myself in shape and I want people to be inspired; I want people to do some of the things I did through-out the course of my career that enabled me to become the athlete that I did. There’s a lot of hard work; there’s a lot of different, unique things that I did with my training and these are just some of the things that are a part of the process.