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‘Like a retailer on wheels’: Meet Travis Kelce and Dak Prescott’s customized swimsuit tailor

Anthony Gharib, ESPNMar 10, 2024, 10:27 AM ET After the Cincinnati Bengals clinched a spot in Super Bowl LVI, Tom Marchitelli had one thing on his mind. “I spent the first 24 hours after he clinched the AFC title, reaching out to everyone I could. How can I get in contact with Joe Burrow?” Marchitelli

‘Like a retailer on wheels’: Meet Travis Kelce and Dak Prescott’s customized swimsuit tailor

  • Anthony Gharib, ESPNMar 10, 2024, 10:27 AM ET

After the Cincinnati Bengals clinched a spot in Tremendous Bowl LVI, Tom Marchitelli had one factor on his thoughts.

“I spent the primary 24 hours after he clinched the AFC title, reaching out to everybody I might. How can I get involved with Joe Burrow?” Marchitelli advised ESPN.

In 2014, Marchitelli left his job as a hedge fund accountant to turn out to be a customized menswear designer for athletes. By Tremendous Bowl LVI, he had labored with prime gamers reminiscent of Travis Kelce, Dak Prescott and Rob Gronkowski, tailoring his option to changing into probably the most sought-after designers within the enterprise.

Dressing is a sport to Marchitelli, one which he is aggressive about. As he sat within the dwelling workplace in his penthouse condominium in Hoboken, New Jersey, he grew to become decided to work with Burrow.

He knew his traditional technique of direct messaging athletes would not work. He quickly discovered Burrow shared the identical agent as Prescott, a consumer who owns about 150 fits designed by Marchitelli.

Marchitelli hoped that earlier relationship would enhance his probabilities of getting Burrow, and it did. His contact requested Marchitelli how quickly he might get to a snowy Cincinnati.

The reply? Tomorrow.

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“After I make the connection, my objective is to get in entrance of them as quickly as attainable, like the following day. As a result of I need to present them how critically I take their enterprise and the connection,” Marchitelli stated. “Some folks might wait per week or no matter. No, I strike whereas the iron’s scorching each time.”

Burrow requested if Marchitelli, who had introduced a dozen totally different materials to the assembly, might make two fits as a substitute of 1. Desperate to work, Marchitelli thought, “I will make you 10.”

Burrow wished a black and silver striped swimsuit together with one styled with a purple velvet. He advised Marchitelli to ship each to Los Angeles the place he’d be 5 days later. However Marchitelli wished to make sure perfection. He returned to Burrow’s doorstep three days later for a private becoming.

On the morning of the Tremendous Bowl, he anxiously sat at dwelling with no thought if Burrow would put on one in every of his fits. Burrow selected the now-viral black-and-silver striped swimsuit.

“Once we noticed the primary video of him getting on the bus, my spouse and son had been leaping up and down. I used to be relieved, to be trustworthy,” Marchitelli stated.

— NFL (@NFL) February 13, 2022

Marchitelli’s present consumer complete is roughly 404, unfold throughout the NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA. Chase Daniel was the primary athlete he styled. Within the time since, he has labored with ESPN’s Shannon Sharpe and made 30 fits for Ric Aptitude.

Prescott has a devoted room to maintain Marchitelli’s fits. “The gents room he calls [it],” Marchitelli stated. Josh Allen, Justin Jefferson, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Jimmy Garoppolo have all been suited up by Marchitelli.

There isn’t any brick-and-mortar retailer. As an alternative, he works out of a house workplace in his penthouse condominium — he calls it the home that fits constructed. His fits are tailor-made outdoors of Los Angeles and his main swimsuit mills are produced in Italy and England. The usual turnaround for a consumer is three weeks, however Marchitelli emphasised he can do it as shortly as two weeks, per week — and even in sooner or later.

“I am sort of like a retailer on wheels as a result of I deliver the shop to you,” Marchitelli stated.

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BEING A CUSTOM swimsuit designer wasn’t at all times in Marchitelli’s playing cards. Rising up as an Italian-American child, he recalled watching movies reminiscent of “Goodfellas” and “On line casino,” which fostered his ardour for sporting fits.

After graduating faculty, Marchitelli at all times opted to put on fits at occasions, desirous to be the best-dressed man within the room. Struggling to seek out somebody who might make his fits match to his specs, he discovered an area New York tailor who received his measurements proper.

“I’m the pickiest particular person on planet Earth in terms of match,” Marchitelli stated. “Which is why once I could not discover something to suit me proper, my spouse had the concept that I must be doing it as a result of I can in all probability do it higher than anybody else since I’m so meticulous, to say the least.”

On the suggestion of his spouse, Alison, Marchitelli then began an Instagram web page @GentsPlaybook, which served as a weblog to showcase his tailor-made outfits.

“Quick ahead a 12 months, 12 months and a half, I’ve over 100,000 followers,” he stated. “Then athletes begin sliding into my DMs, and that is once I realized, hey, I’ve a enterprise right here.”

As his aspect enterprise grew, Marchitelli determined to give up his job and wager on himself, studying tailor on the fly. Individuals in his household advised him he was “nuts.” His dad and mom and in-laws questioned why he’d depart what they described as a “comfortable finance job.”

Marchitelli initially had his doubts too, however Alison’s confidence in him modified his tune.

“Even I had reservations at first as a result of I had heard some doubters, however the smartest particular person I’ve ever met, my spouse, she had all the arrogance on the earth,” he stated. “And she or he’s like, I am telling you, you are going to kill it.”

Early into the enterprise, Marchitelli spent hours day by day messaging gamers on Instagram. One in all whom was fellow Boston College alum Justin Simmons, who was only a 12 months into his NFL profession.

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Marchitelli reached out to Simmons, telling him he’d love to fulfill and present the previous All-Professional Denver Broncos security his catalog. Simmons agreed and Marchitelli confirmed up at his Denver dwelling two days later.

In response to Simmons, Marchitelli’s consideration to element instantly stood out.

“He is so detail-oriented that he cares about if it is tight across the wrist for his shirts … too tight across the ankles, across the thighs,” Simmons advised ESPN.

That is a part of what Marchitelli considers his superpower and what has given him an edge over his rivals.

THOUGH NOTHING in comparison with nearly all of NFL athletes, Marchitelli considers himself to have an athletic physique. Due to this fact, he stated he is aware of how a swimsuit is meant to be tailor-made for somebody with that physique sort and adjusts it for bigger gamers.

“All these athletes on the earth know after they have a look at a swimsuit on my Instagram, whether or not it is one in every of my shoppers or myself, they know that is the top outcome,” Marchitelli stated. “So it makes extra guys need to be a part of the membership, so to talk.”

Whereas Marchitelli realized his enterprise was rising when athletes began messaging him with requests, he pinpointed two particular moments that modified all the pieces.

First, in 2016, after seeing then-Kansas City Royals All-Star Eric Hosmer put on one in every of Marchitelli’s fits to the White Home, Travis Kelce messaged Marchitelli and requested when he might swimsuit him up. The 2 met in New York the following day and Kelce had a brand new match forward of the 2016 season.

The opposite occurred on the 2016 season’s NFL Honors ceremony in Houston. Marchitelli, who was on the occasion to decorate somebody on the New York Giants, bumped into Prescott within the lodge foyer.

The Dallas Cowboys quarterback requested Marchitelli who made the swimsuit he was sporting. Marchitelli stated he did. Prescott then shook Marchitelli’s hand and advised him: “I am prepared to purchase.”

“This was his rookie 12 months, and since that day, he hasn’t worn a swimsuit by anybody else for seven years straight,” Marchitelli stated.

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Prescott opened the doorways wider for Marchitelli. At one level, he had 10 to fifteen shoppers on the Cowboys, together with Ezekiel Elliott. Prescott’s fits signify a type of modern pondering that is made Marchitelli a favourite amongst athletes.

MARCHITELLI IS adamant that he will not recreate Burrow’s Tremendous Bowl LVI swimsuit for anybody else. Doing so would go towards what he is about.

He tries to by no means make the identical swimsuit twice as a result of to him, every consumer deserves their very own assortment. Marchitelli arrives at every appointment with no less than 200 to 300 totally different materials in his bag, usually fastidiously curated for the particular person he is assembly. He is not placing all of them in entrance, nonetheless: “You do not need to overwhelm, however I do know they’re in classes there,” he stated.

Marchitelli’s creations are particular to every athlete.

“Yearly he is modern and developing with new issues that, once more, it is not like all his shoppers are rocking the identical factor,” Simmons stated. “However he is modern when it comes to what matches your persona and what he thinks flows together with your physique sort as properly.”

What drives Marchitelli’s course of is solely what he needs to put on personally.

He is at all times wished to be in distinctive garments that different folks aren’t sporting. Marchitelli will check out a brand new look on himself and if athletes just like the match, he’ll make the identical for them, he stated. It is all about exclusivity and is dependent upon who he is seeing.

When Marchitelli meets with NFL gamers in June, he’ll arrive with their schedules printed to map out appears to be like week by week.

Marchitelli not solely arrives with outfit concepts throughout these conferences, however unveils what the brand new pattern shall be for the upcoming season. Simmons stated final 12 months was “bomber swimsuit season,” although local weather performs a significant factor within the choice for every outfit of the week.

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“If you are going to Miami in week one, we’re going gentle shade and light-weight material as a result of I do not need you to sweat,” Marchitelli stated. “It is all depending on the place they are going to be, who they’re additionally.”

One in all Marchitelli’s favourite elements of his job is the relationships he is constructed and that every time somebody pulls a swimsuit out of their closet, they will know it is going to match completely and look totally different than what others are sporting.

What’s aided Marchitelli probably the most in his design profession is his ardour.

“It is cool once you see any person of their area, one of the best of their area, function at a excessive stage,” Simmons stated. “That is what I at all times say with Tom. He does it at such a excessive, excessive stage.”

Burrow’s famed Tremendous Bowl swimsuit proves it.

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