Two weeks prior to his announcing his retirement from the NFL — uh... just kidding; he's back — Tom Brady teased a new venture: a clothing company. BRADY, as it's plainly called, was more than three years in the making, meaning it was a project he kickstarted when he was still a member of the New England Patriots.
"After years in the making, I’m excited to finally share BRADY with the world," Brady, who's officially called the co-founder of BRADY, said in a launch day statement. "Working with a best-in-class team has helped me apply everything I’ve learned throughout my career to create a multi-functional brand that incorporates the best in tech, fabric and innovative design."
Multi-functional to him, maybe. It's simply a clothing brand — and one called BRADY to boot. But will there be more? Brady has trademarked his name across several product categories: from clothing and furniture to workout equipment and skincare products. For now, though, we're only focusing on what's already out: BRADY, the clothing brand.
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 Khloe Kardashian create her own denim brand, Good American, and Kim Kardashian found athletics and shapewear brand SKIMS, which is now worth a whopping $1.6 billion dollars.
Chow is one half of New York fashion label Public School. It isn't technically dead, but both designers have started other independent projects. Chow is BRADY's co-founder, and Chow's partner, Maxwell Osborne, recently launched a high-end brand called An Only Child. For context, Public School was coolest between 2013 and 2018, when the brand's designers took home two CFDA Awards — one Swarovski Award for Menswear (2013) and one for Menswear Designer of the Year (2015).
During its peak, 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 straps. Streetwear was the clear focus, but Chow and Osborne always showed penchant for applying their own approach to something more popular than them. (See: Esports gear and a New York-centric a riff on the notorious "MAGA" hat.) Performance wear wasn't really in their wheelhouse, but Chow, an avid runner and multi-time marathoner, did freelance work on tennis gear in 2019, and a few basketball-themed things for Public School. BRADY, though, presented him with an opportunity to make things he wanted to wear — and has, he has joked in interviews, for months on end.
Is it 'athleisure' or something else?
After testing a bunch of the brand's initial releases, range of mobility feels like a major focus. Every item stretches in every direction. Working out in the Zero Weight Jogger was easy. But so too was wearing the pants to the grocery store. All athleisure brands nowadays promise varying degrees of versatility, but the BRADY stuff really fulfilled. I'll admit it, though: It was difficult to get past the idea of wearing the prolific yet polarizing QB's name across my chest or thigh, even if it's cloaked in a reflective coating.
For Brady, shameless branding is probably a bit less weird considering he's directed the gear to suit his lifestyle.
"I really wanted to do a full, lifestyle brand,” Brady told GQ. "In my life, it’s football in the morning, and I train. But then I’m home and I do family things: I go play basketball with my kids outside; go for a walk; then you’re chilling out at dinner. I wanted to have enough where you could go between different parts of the collection and put things on and they’d feel really comfortable, look good, fit good, and they would fit for whatever occasion you’re heading off to."
Brady envisions BRADY being most of what he wears whenever he finally retires. As such, BRADY is divvied up into two equal categories, LIVE and TRAIN, which are designed to be as siloed as they are interchangeable. (The Regenerate Ponte Football Long Sleeve, for example, falls under LIVE but worked well in the gym with training-focused BRADY bottoms.)
The LIVE stuff is more fashion-focused. It employs some of the same innovative, stretchy fabrics, but the designs represent things Brady would wear at dinner rather than in the weight room. TRAIN, on the other hand, is all about your workout: stuff that's breathable (called BREATHE EASY), cool to the touch (called COOL TOUCH) and ultra-lightweight (called ZERO WEIGHT). The LIVE gear, the company says, is free from microplastics — even when the designs are fleece-like. The super soft Zero Hydro Yarn Polo, for example, is made from recycled Meryl yarn, which will not shed microfibers no matter how often you wear or wash it. That particular fabric is also anti-odor and anti-microbial. But this item's only one of many that emphasizes material innovation over mere aesthetics.
Is It Worth It?
All in all, BRADY is a surprisingly good debut — albeit one helmed by two seasoned clothing 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 silent) shortly after opening its (digital) doors. New products are already out, and the "old" stuff, meaning that which was available on launch day, is largely still in stock.
Chow's clearly made his mark with the way the stuff fits — which is more in tune with the way bodies are actually shaped and move than similar items by Lululemon, Vuori, Mack Weldon or Gap's now defunct Hill City brand. In reality, and pardon the analogy, BRADY is like Sunspel meets District Vision — refined yet pushing the boundaries of what sportswear can be.
I'm not someone who wears much athleisure. Jeans with absolutely any elastane have no place in my wardrobe. But BRADY brand doesn't feel like a full-on crossover between what we call casual clothing and what we know as athleisure. The LIVE designs aren't dressy or sportswear disguised as something else. And the TRAIN stuff feels technical enough to warrant the higher pricetag. Plus, it looks the part. It gives in the right ways; looks more elevated than Fabletics or even some Nike stuff; and flatters after you've exited the weight room. The BRADY logos can feel kind of kitschy, especially when they're football-referencing, but you'll adjust — and they're oftentimes too small for others to even notice.
My only complaint, and one worth considering when it comes time to buy your own BRADY gear, is that the outerwear runs a bit small. It feels ultra-fitted at the neck and slim through the torso. I'd argue it's worth staying true to size still since the fabric gives so much, but if you're someone who cannot stand feeling of being even the slightest bit trapped by your tops or bottoms, it may be in your best interest to go one size bigger.