Two weeks before he announced his retirement from the NFL – uh… I’m joking; he’s back – Tom Brady has teased a new venture: a clothing company. BRADY, as he’s clearly known, took over three years to prepare, meaning it’s a project he started while still a member of the New England Patriots.
“After years of preparation, I’m thrilled to finally share BRADY with the world,” Brady, who is officially referred to as BRADY’s co-founder, said in a launch day statement. “Working with a top-notch team has helped me apply everything I’ve learned throughout my career to create a multi-functional brand that incorporates the best in technology, fabrics and innovative design.”
Multi-functional for him, perhaps. But it’s simply a clothing brand – and one called BRADY to boot.
Who designed Brady’s new brand?
That team he mentioned includes himself, obviously, but also executive Jens Grede and designer Dao-Yi Chow. For those unfamiliar, these names may not mean much. Sure, you’ve probably heard of their brands, but what exactly do they bring to the table? Grede, after founding Frame with a partner from an agency he left, helped Kourtney Kardashian create her own denim brand, Good American, and Kim Kardashian found athletics and shapewear brand SKIMS, which now worth $1.6 billion.
Chow is (was?) half of New York fashion label Public School. It’s not technically dead, but the two designers have launched other independent projects. Chow is the co-founder of BRADY, and Chow’s partner Maxwell Osborne recently launched a high-end brand called An Only Child. For context, public school was the coolest between 2013 and 2018, when the brand’s designers won two CFDA awards – a Swarovski award for menswear (2013) and one for menswear designer of the year (2015).
In its heyday, Public School collaborated with Nike on a few exclusive Air Force Ones; Alpha Industries on a reversible MA-1 jacket; Jordan on limited edition 12s and 15s; New Era on Mets-inspired caps; and even Fitbit for a few custom wristbands. Streetwear was clearly front and center, but Chow and Osborne always showed a penchant for applying their own approach to something more popular than themselves. (See: Esports gear and a New York-centric riff on the famous “MAGA” hat.) Performance apparel wasn’t exactly in its wheelhouse, but Chow, an avid runner and multiple marathoner, worked freelancing on tennis gear in 2019, and a few basketball-themed things for public school. BRADY, however, gave him the opportunity to do things he wanted to wear — and he did, he joked in interviews, for months.
Is it ‘athleisure’ or something else?
After testing a bunch of the brand’s initial releases, range of mobility seems like a major focus. Each element extends in all directions. Working in the Zero Weight Jogger was easy. But so was wearing the pants to the grocery store. All brands of athleisure these days promise varying degrees of versatility, but BRADY’s products are truly satisfying. I’ll admit it though: It was hard to get past the idea of wearing QB’s prolific yet polarizing name on my chest or thigh, even though it’s covered in reflective coating.
For Brady, the brazen branding is probably a little less odd considering he ran the gear around his lifestyle.
“I really wanted to create a complete lifestyle brand,” Brady told GQ. “In my life, it’s football in the morning and I train. But then I’m at home and I do family things: I go play basketball with my children outside; go for a walk; then you relax at dinner.I wanted to have enough where you could go between the different parts of the collection and put things on and they would feel really comfortable, look good, fit well, and they would suit any person. whatever occasion you are headed for.
Brady envisions BRADY being the main thing he wears when he finally retires. As such, BRADY is divided into two equal categories, LIVE and TRAIN, which are designed to be as compartmentalized as they are interchangeable. (The Regenerate Ponte Football Long Sleeve, for example, falls under LIVE but worked well in the gym with workout-focused BRADY bottoms.)
LIVE stuff is more fashion oriented. It uses some of the same innovative and stretchy fabrics, but the patterns represent things Brady would wear to dinner rather than the weight room. TRAIN, on the other hand, is all about your workout: things that are breathable (called BREATHE EASY), cool to the touch (called COOL TOUCH) and ultra-lightweight (called ZERO WEIGHT). The LIVE gear, according to the company, is free of microplastics, even when the patterns resemble fleece. The super soft Zero Hydro Yarn polo shirt, for example, is made from recycled Meryl yarn, which doesn’t shed microfibers no matter how often you wear or wash it. This particular fabric is also anti-odor and anti-microbial. But this article is just one of many that emphasize material innovation rather than mere aesthetics.
Is it worth it?
Overall, BRADY is off to a surprisingly good start – despite being led by two seasoned apparel industry experts. Grede can be felt through BRADY’s scale. It’s been a few years in the making, but the brand hasn’t floundered (or gone quiet) soon after opening its (digital) doors. New products have already been released and the “old” ones, i.e. those that were available on launch day, are largely still in stock.
Chow has clearly made its mark with the way things fit – which is more in tune with how bodies are actually shaped and move than similar items from Lululemon, Vuori, Mack Weldon or the Hill brand. City, now extinct from Gap. In reality, and pardon the analogy, BRADY is like Sunspel meets District Vision – refined yet pushing the boundaries of what activewear can be.
I’m not someone who wears a lot of athleisure. jeans with Absolutely any spandex has no place in my wardrobe. But the BRADY brand doesn’t feel like a complete cross between what we call casual wear and what we call athleisure. LIVE designs are not dressy or sportswear disguised as anything else. And the TRAIN hardware feels technical enough to justify the higher price tag. Plus, it looks the part. He gives in the right way; seems higher than Fabletics or even some Nike stuff; and flatters after leaving the weight room. BRADY logos can look a little kitschy, especially when referring to football, but you’ll adapt – and they’re often too small for others to notice.
My only complaint, and one worth considering when it comes to buying your own BRADY gear, is that the outerwear runs a little on the small side. It is ultra-fitted at the neck and adjusted on the torso. I’d say it’s worth sticking to size because the fabric gives so much, but if you’re someone who can’t stand the feeling of being squeezed in the slightest bit by your tops or bottoms, it may be in your interest in going a size larger.