Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun grew up in Southern California and went to college in Miami. In both places, he found himself surrounded by people with a strong sense of fashion.
It's no surprise, then, that Braun developed an interest in clothing.
Encouraged by friends who own Affliction Clothing, a California-based clothing manufacturer that also promotes mixed martial arts fights, Braun is developing his own t-shirt line.
Eric Foss and Clifton Chason, who own a digital design firm in Orange County, Calif., started Affliction in 2005. At the time, Foss said the line of t-shirts, polos, jeans and hoodies "embodies our generation's fast and loud lifestyle. We take all of our inspirations from music, art, culture, etc., and shove them straight in to your face through contemporary fashion."
Affliction's shirts, which are garment dyed and hand distressed, are popular with athletes, musicians and actors. They feature intricate and edgy art described as "skull and crossbones" inspired.
Braun likes things a little bit more subdued.
OnMilwaukee.com spoke with Braun about his affinity for fashion and Affliction.
OnMilwaukee.com: How did you get involved with Affliction?
Ryan Braun: For me, growing up in L.A. and going to school in Miami, I have some fashion sense. L.A. is very fashion forward and Miami is the same way. People are very image-conscious. Friends of mine own the company. Obviously, they're having a lot of success. I'm going to have a signature line with them. I have some creative control over the design. It's pretty cool.
OMC: Affliction's designs are pretty wild. Did the surfing / skateboard culture of Southern California influence your designs?
RB: We're going to have a few (shirts) coming out. It's not skate by any means. It's just fashionable. I've always been interested in that to a certain extent.
OMC: The reason I ask about the skate culture is that several huge companies have tried to cash in with the surf / skate market.
RB: I know Nike and other companies have tried to do it, but they already have their established image. (Affliction) already has an established image. It's a lot easier for them to come and put graphics on a t-shirt like this.
OMC: Is this business something that you'd like to carry into your post-baseball days?
RB: Definitely. There are a lot of different areas I'd like to venture into outside of playing baseball and my playing career. It's cool to kind of pay attention to those things and be more aware. Then I can slowly and gradually become more involved.
OMC: Does this occupy any of your time during the season?
RB: Not at all. It's an off-season thing more than an in-season thing.
OMC: What was it like designing your shirts? I imagine it's pretty exciting to see one come off the line.
RB: It was pretty crazy. We went back and forth, looking at different designs. They'd send me e-mails every time they thought they had something they liked.
OMC: How long did it take for you to approve?
RB: Some of their stuff is really aggressive and kind of over the top and scary. For me, I wanted something that was a little more trendy and a little bit less aggressive. I wanted something more conservative.
OMC: The Affliction Web site shows a lot of athletes, musicians and others wearing the shirts. Is that important?
RB: You have to get them in the hands of the right people.
OMC: I've seen the extended interview you did on FSN Wisconsin a few times. I assume that was an Affliction shirt you had on for that, right?
RB: Yes. That's one of the things I like about it -- it's stuff that I would actually wear. It's not a stretch for me to wear it and I don't wear it because they pay me. I like it. It's just cool.
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.