If you thought the Bengals looked good off the field this season, there’s a Cincinnati man to credit.
During the 2020 season, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow showed up to nearly every game in a custom-designed suit by the locals Hellman Clothiers. Although Burrow was not a customer this season, he referred other Bengals players to the downtown store (located in Carew Tower), where owner Chuck Hellman made sure they looked their best. .
Hellman tells CityBeat that “a friend of a friend” put him in touch with Burrow’s father. Burrow and Hellman worked together and with Hellman’s master tailor, Alassane Thiam, through 2020, until Burrow’s season-ending injury.
You probably remember many of these costumes, some made famous on social media due to homages to SpongeBob SquarePants – a character Burrow has often mentioned an affinity for. (a scene from the cartoon is actually Burrow’s Twitter header). The one that stands out is a custom navy blue suit with purple stripes that Burrow sported with a purple and gold silk tie and a SpongeBob pocket square before a November 2020 game against the Washington Football Team (known as the Washington Commanders from February 2). ).
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?🍍 pic.twitter.com/GXVch2u1xm
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) November 21, 2020
After a successful run (in terms of attire, not so much on the football field) last season, Hellman says Burrow was looking for something a little different, but highly recommended him to the rest of the team.
Hellman says he’s seen nearly a third of the Bengals this season, fitting many offensive linemen for pants. Last week, he outfitted backup quarterback Brandon Allen, running back Chris Evans, star kicker Evan McPherson and others for their Super Bowl LVI starters. Hellman recently posted a photo of Allen in a floral shirt, saying it’s “part of the (Super Bowl) look.”
“When the Bengals players come in, it’s a fun day. We talk about fashion, I learn more about them – how they want to feel how they want to dress. I love the sport and I love this city, and they know that,” Hellman says.
Originally from Cincinnati, Hellman spent more than three decades working in New York apparel for companies like Macy’s and Robert Graham, where he was CEO, before returning to Queen City and opening Hellman Clothiers in 2017. ( Hellman also owns and operates Blaine’s Fine Men’s Apparel in Montgomery, where he was formerly a partner before purchasing the business in 2014.)
Hellman Clothiers specializes in suits, but also has a stated goal of “meticulously crafting men’s wardrobes with style and character garments,” according to the store’s website. The store offers jeans, outerwear, sweaters, shirts, shoes, boots, and a host of accessories, from ascots and ties to cufflinks, even sweatpants. It all varies in cut and color, from classic to bold and unexpected.
While Hellman is popular with local and national sports stars — a scroll through her shop’s Instagram shows photos with everyone from Reds outfielder Jesse Winkler and Reds Hall of Famer Barry Larkin to Notre Dame football coach Marcus Freeman and Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Harrison – his biggest audience is somewhere else. Currently, Hellman Retail Group’s TikTokrun by social media editor Christian Barker, has over 4 million followers.
At least once a week, the account posts a video of a costume inspired by various themes — mostly fictional characters, but Hellman’s team also made professional athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo and celebrities like Elon Musk.
“We follow what the public wants,” says Hellman.
Typically filmed in an alley between 4th and 5th streets behind their downtown shop, a TikTok shot always opens the same way and shows Hellman introducing a model (and sometimes a human) dressed in a themed costume. Hellman says he has a large international audience that looks forward to seeing what he releases each week.
Almost every video responds to a comment asking for a specific topic. Hellman says his audience loves video games and anime. You can see with the 24.2 million views on his naruto combination and shocking 38.1 million on his rick and morty design.
Hellman says he wants the outfits to evoke what he imagines the characters would wear. For example, his Harry Potter costume is designed with a fitted navy blue jacket, a striped Gryffindor-colored tie, a Marauder’s Map pocket square, and a raw pin. Other recent items show a purple Willy Wonka-style costume with a glittery gold bow tie and top hat, and a Darth Vader costume, complete with helmet, lightsaber pin and star wars– inspirational tie.
@hellmanretailgroup Reply to @chantal.naggi2 Harry Potter inspired costume ⚡️ What should we do next? #Harry Potter #combination #combinations #fashiontiktok #men’s fashion ♬ original sound – xxtristanxo
Although Hellman didn’t dress the Bengals for Monday’s pep rally, the team looked well-organized as they showed up at Paul Brown Stadium for their departure. All of the players wore white tracksuits and received massive applause in excitement on their first trip to the Super Bowl since 1989.
The Bengals nation is patiently waiting to see what outfits the men wear in Los Angeles and, oh, what happens in Sunday’s game.
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