Russell Wilson on His Fashion Line, Hitting 30, and Old-School R&B

Russell Wilson on His Fashion Line, Hitting 30, and Old-School R&B

It is 8 a.m. in Seattle, but Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who just finished a training session, says he’s already been up for three hours. I tell him I couldn’t pull off such an ambitious early-morning routine; the joke does not exactly land, because Wilson does not register negative thoughts and feelings, even in self-deprecating form.

His mindset is working: Wilson is a Super Bowl champion, he’s married to Ciara, and, as of April, he’s the NFL’s highest-paid player. And, football aside, he’s had a busy summer—most recently, he surprised his mom with a new house for Mother’s Day. He’s also the co-founder of the fashion line Good Man Brand, which expands to Amazon Fashion on Wednesday.

In a quick chat with GQ, Wilson talks Good Man Brand, being the “old guy” in the locker room, and his favorite cuts off his wife’s new album.

GQ: What’s the idea behind Good Man Brand?

Russell Wilson: We wanted to create a modern, classic, fashionable brand that’s aspirational. We make amazing clothes with great fabrics, but ultimately, we’re trying to inspire a generation. What does a good man do? I think about my dad. I looked up to him because he was dedicated, he worked extremely hard, he served and gave back. So anytime anybody buys a jacket, a pair of pants, or whatever it may be, we donate three percent of those proceeds to the Why Not You Foundation. [Ed. note: Why Not You provides financial backing to institutions that “empower change in the world, one individual and one child at a time.”]

We’re on fire right now, honestly. In the fashion world, we’re just growing and growing and growing. I always tell people, once you put a pair of Good Man Brand pants on, you’ll never want to put another pair of pants on. They’re so comfortable.

Have you always been interested in fashion?

There are two things I’ve always loved: One is the interior and exterior of houses, because I grew up without much at all, so I’d always go house shopping with my mom and my dad in Virginia. Back then, you could just walk into houses, and I’d give a thumbs up or thumbs down.

The other thing that I grew to love was fashion. When we thought about creating Good Man Brand, the reality was that at the time, I was single. I was thinking if I’m on a date, what do I want to wear? For men, whether it’s a job interview or a date with a woman who’s way out of your league—like if you’re going on a date with Ciara—it’s tough to figure out what to wear. It’s easy to have three-point range game, like the suit and tie, a nice blazer and a white shirt. And then you have the layup line look—wearing Nikes to the mall. But that mid-range game is the key. That’s where you win. You want to dress to impress, but also be relaxed and feel confident.

Transitioning to Ciara’s new album: What’s your favorite song on Beauty Marks?

That’s a good question. There are a few: Obviously, “Beauty Marks,” and then “Thinking About You,” plus “I Love Myself” with her and Macklemore.

Okay, what about your all-time favorite Ciara song?

I really do like “Beauty Marks” just because of the meaning behind it, and how her heart is in that song. And then “Ride” is a great song, definitely one of my favorites.

I was doing a quick perusal of your Instagram, and stumbled on your rendition of “Turn Off the Lights” by Teddy Pendergrass. Who are your other old-school favorites?

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