From the NFL and NBA Drafts to the red carpet of the ESPYS down to just everyday living, Élevée Lifestyles has made it their mission to elevate men’s fashion.
In the days of yore, it rarely crossed a sports fan mind as to what their favorite player wore off the field, but thanks to brands like Élevée Lifestyles that mindset is quickly changing. In 2013, Élevée suited up 14 of the top 25 draftees and in 2014 though they dressed fewer draftees their presence via social media and the internet overall exploded.
On a balmy day in May I caught up with the Lifestyle President of Élevée, Percy Knox Jr., the former athlete, who is now the coal fueling the fast forward locomotive known as Élevée Lifestyle. Today, Percy is traveling between Phoenix and Los Angeles only weeks after the draft and the social media explosion via Twitter, Instagram and even TMZ about all things Élevée. Between flights and car rides, Knox took the time to give Pro Player Insiders some insight about the Élevée lifestyle and what I learned sharpened my fashion eye for pointing out a well-dressed man.
He started working with tech startups on the west coast after a successful career in track and field, which included an appearance in the 1996 Olympic trials. Knox realized he missed the world of sports and through an event collaboration that needed a custom clothier, his relationship with Élevée was solidified and he came on board officially in 2007. Like their clients, which cover all 4 major sports and today’s stylish businessman, the Élevée design team is made up of a diverse roster of designers across the country.
When asked about the client-stylist relationship Knox says.
“Like a great coach, it’s about building and knowing your team. I have been with this design team long enough to know who will be a great fit for a client, esecially if I am involved the process of matching a client to a stylist. We look at the client’s needs first, once we know their style objective the relationship can be forged, and grow organically between the client and stylist.”
Though based in LA, demand is on the rise for Élevée and they are on the move as Knox explains,
“We have reps across the country from Chicago to Florida and this ensures client needs are always accommodated. In February 2014 during Superbowl, we opened our NYC store with another store set to open in Salt Lake City later this summer. This is also allowing Élevée to continue to cultivate our “Professional Man” division which is growing faster than expected.” During the 2014 NFL Draft, Élevée seemed to be worn by everyone from draftees to analyst. This created a social media boom and by the end of the night Élevée was a trending topic. For Knox the experience was another day at the office,
“The funny thing is that 2013 was actually a more dominant year for us during the NFL Draft than this year. In 2013, we styled 8 of the top 10 NFL Draft picks, however this was the first year commentators asked the important question, “Who are you wearing?” Last year we styled 14 of the top 25 NFL Draft picks and named Best Dressed by GQ and Esquire, this year to be approached by outlets such as TMZ and the NFL Network took things to a new level for us. We’re a small company with a big vision, we don’t use a PR firm or marketing team, all of our exposure has been based on relationships that have grown organically. Everything we do is very grass roots down to the way we manufacture our clothing, which is done right here in the USA. Our clients appreciate the fact that we can design a suit within 7 hours and can also create casual clothing in a timely fashion. This allows us to continue to be diverse and available to athletes across all sports as well as our time strapped “Professional Man” who needs to be suited on the go.”
We hear all the time about the diva antics of professional athletes, without naming names have there ever been any athletes that were difficult to dress and how did you all overcome that obstacle?
“Are you asking from a size or attitude standpoint?”
As we both laugh hysterically,
“We’ve been able to overcome every difficult situation about 99% of the time due to us having control over the manufacturing process and continuously communicating with our clients to make sure they receive the perfect garment.”
With that being said, you have to wonder for a company that has dressed some of today’s greatest athletes, who is Knox’s favorite to see in Élevée?
“Larry Fitzgerald, Adrian Peterson, Dwight Howard, Demarcus Cousins, Justin Verlander, and Miguel Cabrera are all guys who look amazing in our clothes.” Being that Knox embodies the spirit of the Élevée man, a smooth combination of athlete and professional man, what is his personal style like?
“Now let it be known I don’t personally style any professional athletes, however I do have my own roster of clients who are primarily businessmen in the Arizona area. I have always loved fashion and around the age of 11 my brother got me my first subscription to GQ, I have been hooked ever since. I am not a trend follower but better yet I like to take pieces of current trends and incorporate them into my classic style. As a man of “maturity”, I never want to be “that guy”, I like to feature something whether it be a tie, jacket, or any other accessory that may be fashion forward and I never feature more than one and I like a clean look. Currently I am fascinated with bold prints and bright colored pants but that’s too much for me. I’ll take a bold print or bright and tone it down with a neutral.” Celebrity and designer collaborations continue to be a trend in the fashion world, will Élevée ever jump aboard the bandwagon?
“As a custom clothier we don’t really do ready-to-wear, though we do carry ready to wear in our stores, our stores are designed to showrooms and not necessarily retail space. However, we have brainstormed on the possibility of collaborating with an athlete to create a design and have the proceeds donated to charity. As we continue to grow our stores this is something that could be a reality in the future.”
Élevée is a lifestyle that goes beyond just athletes and has even ventured into the interiors side of design, with no sight of slowing down what’s next for this brand on the rise?
“Continuing to grow our showrooms across the country, creating an atmosphere where our clients can come in and have a true experience in the design process. As well as just continuing to get better at things that have brought us this far.”
On the heel of the 2014 ESPY Awards, not only will fans be watching to critique Drake’s hosting skills but also to see what their favorite athletes will be wearing on the red carpet. If the NFL and NBA Drafts are any indication then something tells me that Élevée will be well represented. For a look into Élevée Lifestyles outside the showroom, here is a peak at their annual “Suits and Sneakers” held in Scottsdale this past March.
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