It’s no news that Sean Avery is as quick and agile in fashion as he is on the ice. The former New York Ranger, exited the world of professional sports to pursue a longtime passion and curiosity for the business of fashion. That’s not to say that Pickering, Ontario-native is only about style these days. The onetime Vogue intern has opened two restaurant/bars with business partner Matt Abramcyk (Warren 77 and Tiny’s). He’s also recently taken on more of a full time position at the esteemed creative agency, Lipman, which counts David Yurman and Stuart Weitzman as clients. He’s also taken on the role of a model, with this year’s ads for pedigreed menswear brand Hickey Freeman. We’re impressed, Sean. What’s next? Why, lunch with our Men’s Fashion Director Eric Jennings.
Here’s what transpired…
Eric Jennings: Tell me about the journey from professional hockey player to fashion industry creative?
Sean Avery: [Fashion] was always something that I embraced as a kid. A lot of it starts with the relationship of being an athlete and wearing a uniform. As a kid, you would take pride in how you put your socks on and how you’d fold them over. With little things with your jersey, you would find your own individuality. Otherwise, you were all the same. As you get older you’re more specific. There’s a relationship between looking good and feeling good.
E.J.: Men are shopping differently these days. It’s not just the business guys. They’re all paying attention to what celebrities, athletes, hoteliers and DJs are wearing. The thought is, “I’ve got to make sure I look the best that I can so that I keep the job, get that job, get the promotion.” It’s no longer a necessary evil to cover your body. How do you view men’s fashion today?
S.A.: A couple of weeks ago this light bulb went off. How often do you not hear the word “metrosexual” anymore? The word has gone away.
E.J.: Morgan Spurlock did a movie called Mansome and it said Metrosexual is the new normal. It’s no longer a buzzy word that makes people feel weird. It is what it is.
E.J.: How has the guy shopper changed? I find, that these days, men are interested in where things are made and how things are made.
S.A.: It’s about educating the consumer. An American man that loves America should be conscious of what he’s wearing and where it’s made. The way to educate them is through the guys that they look up to, which is generally an athlete.
E.J.: What brands do you like?
S.A.: Givenchy. I’m waiting for the weather to get a little bit colder. I got the prints with the sharks and Rottweilers. Hickey Freeman. They have such great quality and they own their factories. I shot an ad campaign with them last year.
E.J.: I saw it. When I went to their showroom, the management team showed me the ad images with you in them. That actually was my first exposure to you. It wasn’t even through hockey, but through fashion. Now you’re working with the agency that produced the campaign.
S.A.: Yes, I’m the talent and the agency. That’s how I met David Lipman. We built a working relationship off of a friendship. It was sort of my admiration for him and what he does with imagery. He is a big sports fan. We just kind of bonded and talked about working together.
E.J.: In what capacities are you working with them?
S.A.: I’m a bit of an all-purpose player, but the idea that I’ll always come back to the branding and marketing side. Recently, I started to focus on social media. We have a candy company called Unreal that I worked on. There are always creative things going on.
E.J.: Do you have your eyes set on designing your own collection?
S.A.: It’s like trying to be a musician. I’m not a designer. Aesthetically when I look at something I know if I like it. The one space that I would start, if I had the ability to do it, would be to create the ultimate city collection. It’d be a hybrid of live, work, workout and play. It’s more about the fabric and the materials. In the city I take the mindset that I have to walk to work or take a bike to work. I want to be comfortable, but still look presentable.
Photographed by KSW
Check out our menswear board on Pinterest!