By his own admission, Tyrod Taylor is a rather quiet, low-key guy.
But the New York Giants quarterback’s passion for fashion has also made him one of the best-dressed players in the league. He’s strolled into different stadiums on NFL Sundays donning everything from custom suits to pieces he designed, catching the eyes of cameras and teammates alike.
“I’ve always looked at fashion as an opportunity to express myself, especially since I’m not a very outspoken guy,” he said in an interview with Sportico. “So I want to do that as often as possible.”
At Fashion Week events in Paris, New York and Milan during the offseason, it’s common to find Taylor in the front row, chopping it up with heavyweight creatives such as Paul Andrew and Samuel Ross. The Hampton, Va., native is not only fluent in X’s and O’s but has also become a student of fashion, learning from creative directors of various designer brands.
“I’m truly just being me, and not doing it for any recognition,” said Taylor, who was named to Sports Illustrated’s “Fashionable 50” list in 2017. “People who grew up with me would tell you that this didn’t just happen when I got to the NFL. I’ve always been this way, but obviously it’s taken on its own legs.
Taylor’s more than a humble fashionista who buys fly clothes; he’s now an emerging designer himself, who plans to roll out his high-end line—Diallo, a nod to his middle name—within the next year. The line will be upscale but not as expensive as other luxury brands. Taylor says it’s in production right now and slated to appeal to a swath of consumers, including NFL players who often have wide-ranging body types.
The former Virginia Tech star plans to start sporting pieces from the line this season on his way into locker rooms every week. For years, some players have poked fun at him for looking dapper before games, but he says others who also have great interest in fashion should use that opportunity to show off their fits.
“Sometimes athletes are brainwashed to think we need to come to work wearing T-shirts and sweatpants,” he said. “That doesn’t have to be you. Especially for football players. We only play once a week, so you only get one chance to be dressed in front of cameras.”
Taylor’s fashion is just one facet of his entrepreneurial mindset. While earning more than $59 million in salary during his playing career, he’s also become a leading athlete investor in private equity and venture capital, putting money into roughly two dozen companies with strong returns. He was involved in Dapper Labs’ Series C funding round (which valued the NFT company at $305 million) and NoBull’s latest funding round (valuing the fitness brand at more than $500 million). He says he’s invested more than $10 million in different companies over the last decade.
Like many pro athletes, Taylor makes use of a financial advisor and a CPA in making financial decisions, but he is adamant about educating himself and being hands-on with his growing portfolio.
“It’s about getting out of your comfort zone,” he said. “We, as athletes, know football and sports like the back of our hands, but to tap into something else, we have to put in the same amount of time.”
His business activity picked up during his fifth year in the league after he fulfilled his rookie contract. As a starter in Buffalo, with a new restructured deal valued at $90 million, he began talking with teammates who had similar business interests. He dove into the world of investing from there.
Taylor, who turns 33 next week, likes to invest in companies and brands pertinent to him in some way—which explains the sports-related companies in his portfolio—as well as real-estate opportunities. He was an investor in new off-campus housing near Winthrop University in South Carolina that’s already leased and will open this fall.
The journeyman quarterback believes he has plenty of football left, but that hasn’t stopped him from making moves now to set himself up for a post-NFL career life.
“It’s super important for NFL players to be investing as much as possible,” said wealth advisor Carlos Dias Jr., who works with a host of clients, including NFL players. “[They] by far have the most wear and tear on their bodies for the least number of guarantees compared to other major sports.”
Taylor is a competitor who hates losing, but understands the risk whenever you’re investing. He says it’s important to stay true to the plan. “Similar to football, just not going into the tank when you’re losing,” he said. “It’s understanding that there was an opportunity, which didn’t work out, but continuing with the same approach.”
Another Taylor tenet: Never go into an investment “just being money hungry. I don’t think anything works when you go about business that.”
After spending his career with the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, and most recently the Houston Texans, Taylor is now in his first season with the Giants.
He looks forward to seeing how living in the world’s financial capital can leverage his business portfolio in the offseason. One of his personal goals is to eventually generate more money off the field than he’s made on it. But as of this week, he’s putting the business calls on hold and will let his financial advisor and CPA lead those conversations for at least the next four months.
Entering his 12th NFL training camp, Taylor says that on the field, he looks forward to competing with the same chip on his shoulder that he’s had since he was drafted in the sixth round in 2011.
His top priority right now is putting the Giants, who’ve had five straight losing years, in the best position to win as he enters training camp behind Daniel Jones. When the season is over, he’ll get back to actively building his business empire.
“I’ve always been big on keeping the main thing the main thing, and that’s football,” Taylor said. “But at the same time, as you get older and comfortable, you realize that the sport isn’t going to be forever. So you have to find other interests.”