DRESSING FOR SUCCESS
From Football, To TV, To Fashion And Beyond, MICHAEL STRAHAN Proves To Be THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME At EVERYTHING!
Photos provided by: JCPenney
Story by: Andrew Cristi
When it comes to life goals, no one knows how to inspire fans quite like the incomparable legend that is Michael Strahan. Truly football royalty, the extraordinary athlete dominated the field time and time again earning 854 career tackles, 24 forced fumbles, 4 career interceptions, an amazing Super Bowl ring, and 141.5 career sacks- the fifth highest of all time- not to mention that he was also named to the Pro Bowl roster seven times! With stats like those, it goes without saying that the former New York Giants juggernaut conquered the sport in a way that most men could only dream of. For fifteen amazing years, the unstoppable sports star was at the top of his- and everyone else’s- game, and still the world had no idea what was about to come from the magnetic master of all trades.
If shows like HBO’s “Ballers” have shown us anything, we’ve seen that there is a dark side to the afterglow of the athletic limelight. Many sports stars ride high for a few years and then once they retire, they feel like fish out of water and don’t quite know what to do with themselves past their sport. The heroes that we grow to worship can very quickly fall hard from grace as they search for their next step. But, not Strahan.
A hero for even our heroes, the charismatic Giant has cleverly found a way to parlay his success repeatedly from one endeavor to another as he has literally created an empire around him. Proving to be just as charming- if not more-so- on camera even without a pigskin in his hand, Strahan has now dominated the world of entertainment- particularly the extremely difficult and competitive arena of morning news and variety. But, hard work and competition never scared the strong-willed star, and soon enough he was winning the world over with his trademark smile.
Now, ten years since the beloved hero has hung up his number 92 jersey, Strahan has brilliantly gone into business with his manager; Constance Schwartz-Morini, and created the powerhouse company known as SMAC Entertainment; Sports Music And Culture- and there are way more than 92 reasons why it is one of the greatest company’s of all time. Not only does the company manage some of the brightest stars in the business, such as Deion Sanders, Tony Gonzalez, and Wiz Khalifa, SMAC also produces some of the biggest hits on television, such as “Religion Of Sports,” “The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards,” and “The $100,000 Pyramid”- which Strahan also hosts! So, beyond being one of the most successful athletes and entertainers in the world, he is also one of the most successful businessmen and producers!
But, if anyone would think that all that might stop the skyrocketing entrepreneur from seeking to add more on to his plate, they should think again. Proving to be an unstoppable force to be reckoned with, Michael Strahan has boldly taken on a new title and achievement as he is now also an amazingly accomplished fashion designer. Having teamed up with JCPenney, the fan-favorite mogul has created not just one, but two incredible clothing lines for men; a sleek and sophisticated line of suits known as Collection by Michael Strahan, as well as a line of sporty athleisure known as MSX. Both collections are not just versatile and super-stylish, but they are also offer fantastic quality at affordable prices! And that’s one of the greatest attributes of Mr. Strahan; he cares about the every-man.
In the economy we live in, not every guy can dress like a million dollar athlete, but, every man sure does look up to them- particularly Michael Strahan! Millennials all over America struggle to find clothes that are cool that can keep them feeling confident about themselves as they continuously admire their favorite stars, and brilliant as ever, Strahan realizes that. Even with all his magnificent success, the powerful kingpin is still an every-man at heart- and he has an enormous heart toward them as well. Not only does the dynamic superstar want to offer guys the opportunity to look fashionable for great prices, he also is not a hypocrite as he himself always sports his brand- and he has gotten many other athletes to jump on board and also begin wearing his line. With people like Terry Bradshaw, Curt Menefee, and Jimmy Johnson, and himself wearing his suits, Strahan has managed to do the unthinkable and make affordable clothing cool.
But, that’s just it about Michael Strahan- when it comes to being a hero, he never ceases to amaze and never stops with just one goal. Everything the man does is intricately planned out with many layers that brilliantly overlap and bleed into one another into a grand master plan, showing us all that we can also strive to be better athletes, better entertainers, better business men, better fashionistos, better fathers, or simply better people. He inspires us to always reach for more and never settle, and he lets us know that the every-man can achieve for success. And best of all? He shows us how to dress for it.
That said, we knew we had to hear from the man himself, so, read on to find out what Strahan has to say about fashion, football, television, and everything in between.
WINGMAN: So, let’s start with the fashion. You have two fashion lines; Collection by Michael Strahan, and MSX, and both are incredible! Was fashion always something you knew you wanted to get into?
MICHAEL STRAHAN: Yes – but at the same time, it still feels like a dream. The clothing we design is very organic to me and my lifestyle from the suits that I wear on TV, to the athleisure I wear when I’m running errands while at the gym and in meetings. We also have casual and dressy shoes to go with the Collection suits and the MSX athleisure line, respectively. Then there are all the accessories including socks, scarves, gloves, ties and even wallets. All the lines really fit into my life and the average person’s life. That was the whole vision behind it- the products are great because they make sense.
WINGMAN: You very much see your clothes as affordable fashion that looks good on “the everyday man”- and at Wingman, we couldn’t be more appreciative that a celebrity gets it; that real guys need great clothes at good prices too! Can you talk about this a bit, and how important it was to you that you fill this void?
STRAHAN: I think everyone wants to look fashionable and well put together, whether it’s in a business or casual environment, yet, it’s nice to be able to do that without breaking the bank. That’s why it was important for me to create something that fulfilled all those needs from fashion in the office, to fashion on the street- and also at a price you can’t beat.
WINGMAN: Part of making your clothes affordable and available to everyone was the smart move of partnering up with JCPenney. Talk about that partnership a bit, and how it came to fruition.
STRAHAN: JCPenney is a great partner. We went to them with just an idea of a suit line and they immediately saw value in that and said yes. They also have been a great partner because they gave the resources, expertise and outlets to be able to make the line the success that it has become.
WINGMAN: When preparing a line for men, what do you think are the most important attributes to always keep in mind?
STRAHAN: Men want to be stylish without the sacrifice of comfort. It’s important for me to have the right fit and the right fabric.
WINGMAN: Are there any particular trends you are loving right now, or, any style staples you think every man should have in his closet?
STRAHAN: Every man needs a nice suit, and I do love the athleisure trend– specifically the use of joggers in formal and informal dressing.
WINGMAN: Retail is pretty tough these days. That doesn’t make you nervous with an ever-growing clothing line?
STRAHAN: You can’t let that hold you back. We have an awesome product and even more so, are always thinking of ways to reach the consumer and share it with them. JCPenney is a great outlet, but we are taking things to the next level with our online site. We just launched Michaelstrahan.com– it’s a full lifestyle blog with clothing and style tips, fitness advice, pop culture, news, and so much more. We wanted it to be a one stop shop- based on the clothing line, but also kind of bringing them to life. So, yeah, retail is changing, but I think if you stay ahead and really try to connect to the consumer on different levels by giving them what they need- that’s the key to success. And that’s what we’re focusing on.
WINGMAN: And, of course, your clothing lines come from SMAC Entertainment- the amazing umbrella empire you’ve created with your incredible partner and manager, Constance Schwartz-Morini. Tell fans about SMAC and what you do, and talk about what it’s like working with Constance, whom you’ve been with for a very long time now!
STRAHAN: SMAC, “SPORTS, MUSIC AND CULTURE”, is an entertainment company that kind of dips into a few different worlds. There’s the production side, where we produce shows such as, “The $100,000 Pyramid” on ABC, “Kids’ Choice Sports Awards” on Nickelodeon, “The Joker’s Wild” Reboot on TBS and “Religion of Sports”– just to name a few. We also manage talent such as Deion Sanders, Wiz Khalifa, Tony Gonzalez, October Gonzalez, Curt Menefee, and Erin Andrews. Then there’s also the branding and marketing that comes out of the management side. Similar to my clothing lines, we work on clothing lines and other products that make sense for our other clients based on their interests and lives. Again, it’s all about what’s organic and what they use. And working with Constance is great! It’s like working with your best friend. Someone who understands you. It’s great because we are able to work as true partners and even if we have a disagreement, we are able to work through it because of our relationship and the level of respect we have for each other outside of work.
WINGMAN: Beyond being on TV every morning on “Good Morning America,” you have become a producing mega-mogul with many shows under your belt including “The $100,000 Pyramid”– which you also host, and “Religion Of Sports.” How does it feel stepping into that producer role?
STRAHAN: It’s great! I like not only being in front of the camera, but being behind the camera– it gives you more input. Once you’re that invested it really makes you take your performance to another level.
WINGMAN: You were just an executive producer on “Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story.” That was a really inspiring story and must have meant a lot to you. Can you tell fans about it?
STRAHAN: Charged was a project that was close to our hearts because we were friends with Eduardo before his accident and thought he was an amazing person. To see him charge back the way he has after his accident has really been inspiring in terms of perseverance and not using anything as an excuse for living life.
WINGMAN: You also have a new show on the way called “The Joker’s Wild”– what’s the scoop on that project?
“The Joker’s Wild” is an updated version of the hit game show from a while back. Snoop’s going to host it, and it’ll air in October on TBS. It came about because Snoop was a huge fan of the show and we came to Constance and said he wanted to host it no matter what it took. Lots of phone calls and meetings and emails later, and a few months later and here we are, now mid-production. You guys will love it!
WINGMAN: And of course, between “Good Morning America” and “The $100,000 Pyramid,” the world knows you as one of the most charismatic people to ever be on TV, as well as a two time Emmy award winner! While playing ball, did you always think that this might be the next step for you and that you were born for this? Who were the hosts you admired growing up?
STRAHAN: I don’t know if I’m necessarily born for this, but I do love it! Which I hope translates onto the screen when I’m working. I also didn’t see this as my next step, but I have learned to take chances and not limit myself when it comes to trying to excel at different experiences. As far as hosts I loved- Chuck Woolery from the dating game, Dick Clark, and Richard Dawson.
WINGMAN: And your charisma and charm knows no bounds as you’ve even proven to be an extremely impressive actor in scripted projects as well! Is that a direction you would like to go in? What kind of roles would you like to see yourself playing, and who would you love to act alongside?
STRAHAN: I don’t know if acting is in my future per se– but I would love to act alongside Denzel Washington.
WINGMAN: And of course, we can’t not ask you a few football questions- our readers would never forgive us! Are there any football players out there that you currently have your eye on as one’s to watch?
STRAHAN: That’s a hard question to answer because there have been guys who I never thought about who were playing that turned out to be great on TV after their playing days were over. So, I try not to look at and judge from what I see right now because once the career on the field is over, that’s when you see their true personality.
WINGMAN: And what would be your advice for your team, The Giants, heading into the new season?
STRAHAN: My advice for the GIANTS? WIN!
WINGMAN: Michael, you’ve dominated and conquered everything from football, to film and television, to fashion, and beyond. What could possibly be next for you?
STRAHAN: Retirement. [Gives out a loud laugh]
There you have it guys; fashion, football, entertainment, and clearly even humor– because we all know retirement is completely out of the cards for this iconic hero. Michael Strahan will continue to do things that inspire us for many, many years to come!
And a quick lightning round (quick one word or one quick sentence answers)
What is the most important accessory that makes or breaks a man’s style?
Your father was a boxer, your mother was a basketball coach- which sport do you prefer?
Would you rather act in a comedy or an action movie?
When it comes to a navy suit- do you prefer black dress shoes, or brown?
Favorite football movie?
North Dallas 40
If you could build your own football field of dreams, who would come? (Dead or alive- your dream people to play with)
Deacon Jones, Earl Campbell, Walter Payton; Reggie White; Bruce Smith, Ronnie Lott, Lawrence Taylor, Tom Brady, and Michael Irvin.