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Fashion Reigns at the 2024 NFL Draft

Draft picks showed their fashion game is just as noteworthy as their athletic abilities as they hit the red carpet Thursday night in Detroit.

Fashion Reigns at the 2024 NFL Draft

Fashion Reigns at the 2024 NFL Draft

Fashion Reigns at the 2024 NFL Draft

Fashion Reigns at the 2024 NFL Draft

Fashion Reigns at the 2024 NFL Draft

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The NFL Draft commenced Thursday night in Detroit with 13 prospective players hitting the red carpet, proving that they’re a force to be reckoned with both for their athletic prowess and their style. 

Athletes such as Caleb Williams, Marvin Harrison Jr., Darius Robinson, Terrion Arnold and many others used the NFL Draft as a platform to showcase their personal style, wearing an array of bold and colorful looks that gave a fresh twist on the classic menswear suit. 

“In a way, this is the new NBA style gods in the making,” said Jim Moore, GQ’s creative director at large about the night’s looks. “They’re starting off a little earlier and they’re definitely more swaggy and more meticulous about how they look. They want to dress for the part. Before with the draft, it was like: ‘I’m going to kind of tiptoe in in a dark suit and then let’s see what happens,’ but now, I think they brought their style A-game, right down to the bling and the sunglasses and cool haircuts and everything. That’s been a real game changer.” 

Williams, the number-one draft pick by the Chicago Bears, was one of the many prospective players that stood out for his unique style. The quarterback went with a custom Chrome Hearts suit designed with a side zipper detail and several cross motifs. Williams stated he went with the navy hue to represent the Chicago Bears’ team color. 

Fashion Reigns at the 2024 NFL Draft

Caleb Williams of the USC Trojans at the NFL Draft.

The quarterback talked about his style on the NFL Draft red carpet, stating: “It’s me. You call it unique, I call it me. And that’s kind of how I go about it. I paint my nails, I wear unique things, on and off the field, and we’ll be able to showcase that here today and in the future here soon.”

“It’s become their red carpet,” Moore continued. “I feel like [in the past] the draft hasn’t been the red carpet. It’s been more like, OK, who are these guys? Are they going to get what they set out to get? Or have their management teams aligned them so they can get the team they wanted and the number they want? Obviously, that’s all up to the teams, so what I saw, especially in this draft, is that the carpet felt like they were at the Oscars because they were signing autographs and all that. As rookies, they were a little bit before kind of, ‘Aw shucks,’ and a little bit humble coming onto the carpet. Now they see themselves as stars — rightfully so, as they should be.” 

Arnold, who was traded to the Detroit Lions, was one football player who used his NFL Draft red carpet suit to pay homage to his roots. The cornerback wore a custom pale salmon and silver floral-embroidered suit made by menswear designer Tom Marchitelli.

Marchitelli explained the custom suit was a family affair, with Arnold and his stepmother working closely with the designer to decide on the suit’s color and the personal touches featured on its lining. 

“Terrion loves to dress,” Marchitelli said. “He has a really big, exciting personality and I was even more excited to dress him given that I tend to do some of the more expressive, outspoken fabrics. He was perfect to wear one because I obviously love to dress each guy differently, reflecting the personality that they have. This was an excellent fit.” 

Marchitelli said the conversations with Arnold started by focusing on an aquamarine or teal color, however, after the football player saw the designer wearing one of his own pink and gray dinner jackets, Arnold and his stepmother wanted to pivot the design process and go for a pale salmon hue. Marchitelli and Arnold decided to add in the silver embroidery to give the suit another interesting and unique element. 

Fashion Reigns at the 2024 NFL Draft

Terrion Arnold of the Alabama Crimson Tide in a custom Tom Marchitelli suit.

“He is here as a one-of-one,” Marchitelli said. “I told him I’m not making that jacket, that suit for anyone else. When I use the word one-of-one, he said, ‘Well, I’m already a one-of-one,’ so his goal is to be on that carpet, be best dressed without even a debate for second, third or fourth. That’s always my goal, and his goals matched that.”

The interior of Arnold’s suit jacket garnered equal attention on the red carpet. The lining was sewn with a photo of Arnold as a young football player as well as one of his whole family. On the other side of the jacket, the acronym “LANK” was sewn on the interior. Marchitelli said it stands for “Let All Naysayers Know,” a saying from Arnold’s time playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide. 

Other football players also used their red carpet looks to pay homage to their upbringings. Marvin Harrison Jr., the number-four draft pick chosen by the Arizona Cardinals, gave a nod to his father, Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison, with a double-sided chain medallion with one side inspired by “The Lion King,” depicting father-son characters Mufasa and Simba, and then an image of himself and his father on the other side. 

Given the increasing attention to style in the NFL, the league expanded its red carpet coverage for this year’s draft to spotlight the players’ looks. According to the NFL, the league’s fashion coverage was a top performer across social media last football season. The average fashion post drove 43 percent more engagement and garnered 51 percent more video views year-over-year. 

Last season, the “NFL Tunnel,” similar to the long-standing “NBA Tunnel,” became as highly watched as the football games themselves, with athletes like Travis Kelce, Stefon Diggs and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, among others, regularly making an impression on viewers for their style. 

If the 2024 NFL Draft and its standout fashion moments are any indication, this upcoming NFL season is sure to produce even more standout style moments. 

“Now it’s universally accepted and it’s a style bar — walking through that [NFL] tunnel, making sure that not only are you pulling out all the style stops, but you’ve got your own specific look that maybe everyone else doesn’t have,” Moore said about the NFL Tunnel. “That’s why years ago, the athletes got their own stylists, so they could really help them hone in on what it was that set them apart from the other guys. These are highly competitive, talented athletes that have now become as competitive in the tunnel as much as they have on the fields.”