Since turning pro, former University of Michigan footballer Braylon Edwards has swapped his maize and blue for more fashion-forward hues.
“I didn’t really appreciate fashion until I was older,” Edwards says of his evolved style consciousness. He developed a taste for the finer things back in 2004, when his father contacted fashion consultant Ray Hines at Paul Cicchini Custom Clothier in Birmingham and had a shirt made for the senior-year football banquet. “It was brilliant,” Edwards says of the fit.
After that, Edwards ordered a custom suit for the 2005 player draft, and that sealed things up. “Once I found Cicchini, I stopped looking,” he says. “The service and friendship is impeccable, and the clothing is ridiculous.”
These days, Edwards, a Detroit native who plays wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, finds himself socializing with “the David Beckhams and the who’s who.” And even in that chi-chi crowd, his Cicchini duds draw compliments.
“Perception is reality,” he says about clothes. A clean-cut guy who looks and dresses well will cause others to think, ‘Hey, this guy is successful; he has something going on for himself.’ ”
He credits his fashion-savvy image to the combined advice he gets from Hines and his mother. Their input keeps him pulled together at such celebrity A-List gatherings as the Espys, the Super Bowl, and Pro Bowl events. Hines also helps Edwards with his more urban and causal looks. “I call Ray, and he automatically picks up what I am saying,” Edwards says.
In the accessories department, it’s all about shades for Edwards. He admits to being that guy in a club or restaurant with his dark specs on. “I love wearing sunglasses,” he says. Favorites include Gucci, Tom Ford, Mont Blanc, and Chrome Hearts.
He’s also getting into other fashion hardware, cuff links, for example, which he calls signature pieces. “An outfit becomes stronger with a nice tie, pocket square, or good cuff links,” he says. “Ray and I always make sure the cuff links are on point. [They] take the outfit to the next level.”
When he’s in town, Edwards heads to Somerset Collection to browse the Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Salvatore Ferragamo boutiques. Right now, his shopping list includes designer sneakers, dress shoes, and computer and duffel bags. He also stops in at Saks Fifth Avenue to buy his Bond No. 9 cologne.
For all of his newly honed fashion sense, once he’s on the practice field, Edwards says, “That’s where I become a football player.” There, the athletic side of his personality is expressed by his Nike-endorsed workout attire.
And being the aggressive player he is, Edwards keeps his eye on his nearest rival. In terms of clothing, that’s teammate Donté Stallworth, the former New England Patriot. “He and I are always competing with each other to see who has the newest designer gear,” he says. “We always talk about fashion.” Now that they both play for the Browns, Edwards says, “[Stallworth] will try and make the trip to Somerset with me.”
To look at Edwards’ posh wardrobe, one might think all of his pro-player salary goes straight to fashion. That’s not the case, he emphasizes. Through his non-profit foundation, Edwards has developed the Advance 100 program, which is an education initiative to support academic greatness in high-school students. He’s pledged $1 million to the academic scholarship.
Like his wardrobe, when it comes to the responsibilities that accompany being a role model, Edwards appears to wear it well.