Thursday, December 25, 2014

Eagles wide receiver Brad Smith presents design competition winner at New York Fashion Week

'Project Runway' winner Dom Streater wasn't the only Philadelphian presenting a first collection during New York Fashion Week

Eagles wide receiver Brad Smith presents design competition winner at New York Fashion Week

NEW YORK CITY- ‘Project Runway’ winner Dom Streater wasn’t the only Philadelphian presenting during New York Fashion Week

Philadelphia Eagle’s wide receiver, Brad Smith, celebrated the winner of his Design for Brad Smith fashion design competition Friday during NYFW at the Ainsworth, a rustic sports bar in Chelsea.

The open competition called for designers to submit a complete red carpet look as a hand drawn or digitally created sketch. The winning look was hand chosen by Brad Smith. 

The winner, a young designer named Kassie Haji, was honored with a prize package valued at more than $20,000, which included a trip to New York Fashion Week.

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Born in northern Iraq and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Haji graduated from Feinstein High School in Rhode Island. The designer spent the day with Smith and attended The Ainsworth reception after going to shows where Smith wore her winning design.

Style blogger Ian Crumm had a chance to sit down with Brad Smith and speak with him about his personal style, and how he’s bridging the gap between sports and fashion.

How would you describe your style? 

Classic with a little urban edge. 

What are four great style tips for men?

Make sure it fits, be confident when you wear your clothes, start with the basics, and make sure your basics are really good whether it’s a gray suit or a blue suit or a black suit and a good pair of jeans. You don’t need a whole lot. Make sure everything underneath is in tact -- your undergarments as well as your health. That should come first before you put anything else on the outside.

Would you say there is a connection between fashion and football?

The artistry of both. It’s an artwork – it’s a way of expressing yourself. People dance, they sing – for football players the way of expressing themselves is through sport. I think that’s a connection unique to the two.

Is there a reason why you chose to partner with less known designers instead of someone with an established brand?

That was something we were wrestling with. We definitely had other opportunities. It could have been – bigger per se- but we really wanted it to have a purpose and really make a difference.

With this design competition we picked somebody and introduced them to so many people in the industry, people they can learn from, people they can possibly do internships with – that they can really grow their brand and their business. It’s really not about us – it’s about our winner.

Do you see your personal brand breaking into another industry other than sports and fashion?

I mean there is so much…I have so many ideas and so many visions. I love design. I love when things come together whether it’s cars or furniture or phones. Anything. I like bringing things together and making them better. So we’ll see what happens.

Is there a specific outfit you like to wear to the stadium before a game?

If I had my choice, I would be wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt, but once I put a suit on I know it’s about business. Once you put a jacket on you’re like, ‘Ok, now this is my job. This is serious.’

Where did the idea for “Design for Brad Smith” come from?

I have a great group of people around me that work with our foundation and my family. We just want everything that we do to help people. I’ve been doing an internship with Men’s Health and I was like, ‘it would be a great idea to bring the two together and help a designer.’ Help a young designer reach their dream and their goals in the fashion industry. 

Kassie Haji's winning sketch.

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