Q&A with Michael Crabtree

The Baltimore Raven on his clothing line, NFL training, and more

Every football fan has seen Michael Crabtree on the field. He set more than a dozen records playing with Texas Tech University before helping the San Francisco 49ers reach Super Bowl XLVII, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens. In a twist of fate, he’s now a key player on that team.

But what many people don’t know is that he’s just as dedicated to fashion as he is to football. Crabtree doesn’t follow the latest high-end designers or sit front row at New York Fashion Week, but the 30-year-old has been designing and making his own clothes since he learned to shop at thrift stores with his grandmother.

Three years ago, Crabtree launched his own brand, MyCoterie. On June 9, he hosted his first show to introduce the line’s summer/spring collection in his home city of Dallas. “It’s been pretty dope as it’s my first chance to show people the stuff I’ve made over time,” he says. “Designing is really what I like to do.”

He spoke with Furthermore about his deep-rooted interest in clothes and how it overlaps with his life in the NFL.

How long have you been making clothes?

I’ve been designing for 11 or 12 years, but this is my first time creating a brand. It took a lot of work, from sourcing buttons and zippers to calculating production costs and profit. I haven’t had the time to be 100 percent involved in MyCoterie, so it’s happened gradually.

Do you have a signature style or a type of person you design for?

I don’t have a look, I just like to create new and different things. If you can make something timeless, that’s right in my range. This clothing line has T-shirts, jeans, suits, and more. It’s sharp. I’ve been designing these pieces for so long that it’s grown into a full collection. I create for people who like to dress well, who have all kinds of body types, who are of all different ethnicities, who share the same taste. If I go shopping with friends, even if we all like the same items, we wear them in our own ways. That’s part of why I like clothing so much.

Do you give fashion advice to your teammates?

Even when I was a rookie, I didn’t give advice using words, but I’d wear something and then I’d see another person wearing it. They followed by example. If someone were to ask me for style tips, I’d say this: Be yourself and dress how you feel.

NBA stars like LeBron James and Russell Westbrook get a lot of fashion credit. Do you think NFL players are overlooked?

People tend to box us together rather than see us as individuals because there are so many guys on each team whereas in basketball, there are fewer players on the court. I just want to show the world that even though I play football, I have a real creative side.

You’ve played for the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders, and now you’re with the Baltimore Ravens. Is the fashion unique in each city?

Yes, it’s crazy. I’m from Dallas, and people dress in their own style down in the South. In Los Angeles and the Bay Area, everything is more laid back. Now I’m on the East Coast, and I just went to New York City, where everyone is much more high fashion. It’s like a magazine shoot walking down the street, and I really enjoyed that. Baltimore has more of a D.C. vibe, which has the same high-end feel as NYC.

Speaking of Baltimore, how’s your pre-season training?

I’m enjoying my time with the Ravens. I’m focused on winning and getting everyone to do a lot more together.

Entering your 10th NFL season, are you going to take on a leadership role?

Every locker room I was ever in, I was the leader—I just don’t stand on podiums and talk about it. I like to lead by example.