In a media spectacle reminiscent of the Oscars, the 261-pound Dante Fowler rocked the gold carpet at NFL Draft Day sporting a white suit with crimson piping, gold-and-white bow tie and $7,000 gold-studded Christian Louboutin loafers — with red soles. He was escorted by his mom, Lanora.
The explosive rookie defensive end from the University of Florida, who clearly has an eye for style and can run the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, was drafted #3 in the first round by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In a video posted on Twitter, the 6 foot 3 inch powerhouse is shown excitedly opening a box containing his blinged-out shoes. Bright-eyed like a kid on Christmas morning, Fowler said, "You know, if your going do it big, then do it big. You know I'm here to stand out and that's what I'm going to do."
It's not every day that a fashion magazine gets breathless over a sports figure, but InStyle.com headlined its coverage this way: "These $7,000 Christian Louboutins Stole the Show at Day One of the NFL Draft." The reporter pointed out, "You couldn't see the flash of red sole until Fowler walked across the stage as a newly drafted Jacksonville Jaguar, but what a detail: it picked up the crimson piping on his white tux. It's quite a step up from cleats!"
On the gold carpet, Fowler summed up his fashion strategy: "It's something unique, something different. I'm just a guy that wants to do different things. I'm a guy that's into fashion, so it's something I wanted to do for a little minute." He told former pro Deion Sanders, “You look good, you feel good, you play good.”
Fowler told the Associated Press that the idea to wear the gold-studded shoes to this high-profile event was inspired by fellow Florida alum Joe Haden, who wore the exact same design to his wedding in July 2013. At the time, it was reported that the cornerback, who now plays for the Cleveland Browns, had to settle for shoes one size too small because they were the only pair available in the U.S.
Fowler also had trouble sourcing the shoes, but eventually tracked them down. After he solved the shoe challenge, he had to pick a suit to match. In the Twittersphere, many observers noted that if the young man plays as well as he dresses, the Jaguars have certainly struck gold.
Images: Twitter/NFL; SI.com screen captures; NFL.com screen captures.