For former NFL player Shawne Merriman, deciding what life after football would consist of was pretty simple. He channeled his love of fashion into the creation of a clothing company, the aptly named Lights Out. We talked with Shawne by phone about everything from fashion, to wrestling, to his decision to add more extended size options to the line in the very near future.
Chubstr: Shawne, it’s a pleasure to speak with you. First off; congratulations on your new clothing line.
Shawne Merriman: Thank you! It’s been a grind. I’m moving on to the next thing in life, and Lights Out requires that same fire and passion that I had for football. We just set up a partnership with DTLR, which has over 100 stores, and our line will be available at 150 of them this spring.
Chubstr: Have you always been interested in fashion?
SM: I was always into fashion. Even though I like to stay comfortable, I still have a fashion sense. I especially love suits, since I do a lot of red carpets and broadcasting. Once the events are over, I like to jump into something comfortable. One of my favorite looks is my lifestyle T-shirts. I match that with a pair of jeans, or sweatpants, and some kicks for a fresh comfortable look.
Chubstr: Have you considered adding more extended size options to the line for bigger guys?
SM: We go up to a 2X right now, but some of my big friends and ex-teammates are on me for not having a 3X. I told them It’s a lot of yarn and fabric we gotta pull off for the big fellas, but we’re moving in that direction so we should have size 3x soon.
Chubstr: How would you describe the look of the line: preppy or sporty?
SM: I would say it’s sporty. I like to wear my clothes fitted. We have some very fashionable shirts, along with our performance wear that is only available online right now. Those products are doing really well.
Chubstr: You’re a built guy, do you think big guys can get away with wearing a lot of colorful stuff?
SM: Yes, especially in the springtime. Spring is always a good season to drop some color into your style – especially with the new shoes and sneakers that come out during the season. We have some nice blue options that will match up very well with whatever shoe or sneaker you want to rock.
Chubstr: What kind of shoes do you like to wear?
SM: I like the Yeezy’s and the Adidas Boost, anything that’s comfortable to walk in.
Chubstr: Do you think football players are fashionable?
SM: It’s kind of hard for football players to be fashionable because we have a different body type as opposed to basketball players. If you look at it, basketball players are built a lot like models. They’re tall and skinny so it’s easier for them to be fashionable. Us football players have big butts, thighs, and small waists, so we can’t wear a lot of the stuff the basketball players do.
Chubstr: I’m a big wrestling fan, and you did commentary for a few events. Have you been into wrestling for a while?
SM: It was great! I was a huge wrestling fan growing up, so having a chance to do commentary for WWE was crazy, especially hosting WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. I’ll never forget when Hulk Hogan started the show, followed by Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock – I thought I was gonna lose it! And I know all those guys, but to see them in the ring in their element, you can’t help but lose your mind.
Chubstr: What did you think of the Super bowl?
SM: I thought it was great and I wasn’t surprised about how it ended up. I was saying it 2 weeks before the Super Bowl. It’s all about Tom Brady. If you take your foot off the gas pedal and give Brady time, you give him an opportunity to come back and win – and that’s what happened. As a player, I have been on the bad side of the Brady spectrum many times. Even though it ended bad for the Atlanta Falcons, they had a great season and accomplished a lot.
Chubstr: Would you say Lights Out has a mission?
SM: [The Lights Out] lifestyle is about pushing the limit. We do things outside the box, and we want to stay outside the box. We just started this huge partnership with NASCAR. I bought into Patriot Motorsports Group, which is Jesse Iwuji’s team. It’s a big momentum push for us, and it explores a new demographic. That’s the kind of stuff we do to stay outside the box.