Doug Gilmour has spent the better part of his life lacing up skates, but don’t ask him to start looping a tie around his neck.
Although the hockey star says he has no problem putting on a suit when the occasion demands it, he’s not unlike a lot of other affluent men who try to strike a balance between casual and formal wear that reflects his lifestyle.
“I’m not a big dress shirt person any more. I’m more of a V-neck guy,” he told Swagger recently, though that doesn’t mean you won’t find a lot of options in his wardrobe. “I’m a clotheshorse. I like fashion, I like different brands.”
The brand Gilmour is focused on right now, however, is his own: a line of T-shirts, baseball camps, bracelets and other items in collaboration with FLi (which stands for “Fear Less Inc.”) which he has started selling on his recently launched web site developed via GoDaddy, DougGilmour93.com.
“Fear is a strong word,” he explained. “The concept of being ‘fearless’ means a lot to me. When I was a hockey player that was one of the critical things you needed to win, and with an apparel line, we wanted to capture a sense of that same concept with things you could wear.”
Rather than focus on a single image or logo, the FLi T-shirts incorporate slightly faded, almost vintage-looking pictures that nostalgically recall Gilmour’s glory days, including his stint as captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“We wanted to make them look old — like me!” he says laughing. “They’re kind of retro, kind of a throwback but hopefully a bit different from what else is out there.”
Gilmour isn’t alone in extending his personal brand into apparel, of course. GoDaddy vice-president and country manager for Canada Jill Schoolenberg pointed out that the firm has also been working with Raptors Star Norman Powell on his own menswear e-commerce venture, among others. Partnering with Gilmour, however, was an opportunity to demonstrate how GoDaddy’s managed WordPress services can assist small business owners of all kinds to launch their own online ventures.
“When we were talking about retired celebrities that would resonate (with the public), he was a natural fit,” she said, noting Gilmour’s existing entrepreneurial track record with his own wine and beer brands. “He would admit he’s not a big tech guy, so we’re making sure he can focus on the clothes rather than how the web site works.”
Gilmour said he’d like to explore building the apparel further with his own line of jeans, but for now he’s sticking with items that tie back to his personal taste. The bracelets, for example, are something he got into after a visit to Toronto’s high-end Yorkdale Shopping Centre, and he’s not afraid of wearing three or more on his wrist at any given time. He suggested true fearlessness — in fashion or elsewhere — is one of the benefits of experience.
“I wasn’t stylish (when I was younger,” he admitted. “I mean, you had to learn by looking at what other people are wearing and seeing something that whetted your appetite. It probably started in my mid-30s and I’m 55 now. It took time for me to figure out fashion. I think we all go through different phases in our life as a player.”