Monday, October 8, 2012

Outside of Carolina Panthers home games, quarterback Cam Newton doesn't make too many public appearances in Charlotte. But he was all the talk this evening--and not about football--as he appeared at the Belk headquarters to announce the launch of his men's clothing line for spring 2013. Titled "MADE," the line will be sold exclusively at Belk, and today's launch event was complete with models, dancers, and an onstage chat with Cam.

Cam Newton has it MADE--modeling pieces from his spring collection. Credit: Belk, Inc.

It makes sense for Belk, the Charlotte-based chain that's the nation’s largest privately owned mainline department store company with 302 stores located in 16 Southern states, to want to partner with one of the NFL's biggest stars who's right here in their hometown. In a press release, Kathryn Bufano, president and merchandising officer for Belk, said, “Cam Newton personifies our company’s dedication to family, community and the Southern lifestyle, and therefore is a perfect complement to Belk’s modern Southern fashions.” As I've said repeatedly on this blog, Cam has quickly become one of the most marketable, highly endorsed athletes in all of sports.

But many people will question and criticize the timing of Cam's decision to launch a clothing line--plenty made such remarks on Twitter as word spread this evening--considering his lackluster play this season, which has the Panthers off to a 1-4 start. I'm sure this announcement was months in the works, and Cam wouldn't have anticipated his team playing so poorly come October--and him being scheduled to attend a fashion press conference, of all things, the day after a devastating home loss.

Cam joining Belk executives on stage at Monday's press conference. Credit: @ESPortillo.

But Cam would've been wiser to have waited a year before tackling an endeavor that gives critics the ammunition to say he's too concerned with being flashy and being a superstar--his Superman touchdown pose that was heralded during his rookie year, has come under scrutiny this season. If for nothing else, Cam should've gotten through his second season, proven that he wasn't going to have a sophomore slump, finish the season with a winning, or at least .500, record, and then do all of this clothing line business next fall.

But then again, why not strike while the iron is hot? I truly believe he's going to be a great player in this league for the next decade-plus, but if he does indeed suffer a full-on sophomore slump this season, there's no guarantee his name and likeness will be in such high demand a year from now.

Cool logo for MADE. Credit: Belk, Inc.

MADE, his clothing line, is described as "fashion-forward, versatile, professional apparel options for men." It's launching in spring 2013, and in fall 2013 it will expand to include accessories and shoes. Cam has proven himself to be a stylish dresser so I would expect high standards from a clothing line bearing his name.

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