Off the ice, NHL player P. K. Subban is sketching up three-piece suits
Interview by Ryan Yuh
There’s a lot of pressure when it comes to being a professional athlete, but Nashville Predators’ P.K. Subban handles it all in stride. So much so that on top of being an NHL hockey player and philanthropist, the Toronto-born athlete can add ‘designer’ to his growing list of credentials. Flying down to Nashville, we joined Subban off the ice as he shot his second RW&CO. campaign and talked about his experience creating a collection for the modern man.
What role did fashion play when you were growing up?
Fashion started for me when I was a little kid; my mom didn’t want me to leave the house unless I looked a certain way. As I got older, I started to take pride in that and put my own spin on it. Growing up, I was always into sketching. That’s why this opportunity with RW&CO., where I got to design my own collection, was so important for me to do because it allowed me to go back to what I love, which is sketching.
How involved are you in the whole process?
It's been hard. You think it's going to be easy because it's just about sketching some suits and then that's it. But that's the easy part. The hard part was going through the materials, making sure the fit was right, selecting which buttons to use, and then finding out how the sales side worked. There are a lot of different things that you have to consider.
What does that process look like?
The first thing that we do is look at as many influences as we can. Then, we figure out what’s in this season and what’s not. What we always try to do is raise the bar every year and give each customer the best bang for their buck. We want them to wear something where someone would say, “That could be a $10,000 suit that you’re wearing.” That’s what we want to accomplish for the customer.
What are some similarities that you see between designing a collection and playing on the ice?
I think that it's very similar. In hockey, every player is distinct; every guy has his own unique style. For me, I think I have a very distinct style on the ice and it shows. That's what separates me from a lot of my peers. I think the same is true for this suit collection and me.
Did you consider a diversity of body types when it came to the collection?
There's an athletic fit, a slim fit, and more. All that is discussed when we’re designing a suit. I understand that there are a lot of guys out there that like to work out. For athletes especially, a lot of guys have trouble finding clothes that fit them. We wanted to make sure we had a lot of different styles that catered to different body types.
What was your overall goal when you were designing the collection?
It continues to build on the fact that people recognize me as someone who wants to look good, and look a certain way when I leave the house. It has to do with being able to provide people with clothing that is accessible, but also makes them look great. Growing up, I wasn’t always able to afford custom-made tailored suits and all that stuff. I want to make sure that there are guys out there that can afford to look good and feel good when they are going in for their first job interview or whatever it is. It’s important to make sure that they feel like they can still be good enough.
What has been your favourite part about the process?
Definitely seeing the suits; the final product. It’s so cool when a model, who basically tries on clothes for a living, tells you that your stuff is amazing. For me, that’s the ultimate compliment. It’s an amazing feeling because I’m so used to hearing people say, “Great game, P.K., you were awesome out there tonight.” When someone says, “Honestly, you knocked this collection out of the park,” it’s a different feeling.
What is the best style advice that you can offer?
If you don’t know, keep it simple. People think that in order to look good you need to wear a million different things. Sometimes less is more.