Fall is our favorite season here at High Fashion Living because it is the time of the year in which we have of our two favorite things simultaneously, Football and Fall Fashion! In our latest Style Feature, we speak with one of the true originators of NFL style, former linebacker Dhani Jones.
Dhani is an interesting guy because while he had a successful NFL career playing ten seasons, he became known for his personality off the field and his affinity for bow ties. It’s his persona that has led him to TV on shows such as Adventure Capitalists and Dhani Tackles the Globe.
However, it is his love for fashion and bowties that trumps all, as showcased with the Bow Tie Cafe and the BowTie Cause .The two organizations he founded in 2010 after a serious diagnosis to a childhood friend sparked a new perspective and significance of the fashion accessory. Below we speak in-depth with Dhani about both organizations and the awareness it is raising for its partners, as well as who he thinks is the best-dressed NFL player today. Hint… said player’s alma mater is chief rival of Dhani’s alma mater, Michigan.
HFL: We all know Dhani Jones the football player and the TV host, but who is he at his core?
Dhani: A curious individual who is never satisfied with the status quo.
HFL: How did you discover your affinity for Bowties?
Dhani: It wasn’t an affinity; it was a cause and that was my relationship with Kunta. Kunta and I met in high school at a science camp. He was very charismatic and we developed a friendship right away. Our friendship was strong through college and when I went to play in the NFL, Kunta came to a game. When I saw him I was shocked that my friend was a mere fraction of his former self at 150 pounds, and I discovered he had been battling stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Instantly, I wanted to do something to support him and I remembered when we were young, Kunta would always say, “If you wanna be somebody, you gotta rock a bowtie.” I immediately went home and put on a bow tie and I have been rockin’ one ever since.
HFL: What inspired you to the BowTie Cause and Foundation?
Dhani: Kunta Littlejohn. I found that I was able to support my friend through a bowtie. The bowtie became so much more than a fashion piece for me, it was a conversation catalyst. The bowtie gave me the opportunity to not only show my support, but to also tell my friend’s story. I saw that a lot of other people who were passionate about a loved-one’s fight also desired a way to share their story, so I created BowTie Cause. From there, we have helped hundreds of charities tell their story and after years of success, I searched for a way to give back to these groups. So then I created the BowTie Foundation as a means to give back to underprivileged youth, as I have seen the impact that this support creates from the numerous organizations and their inspirational bowtie stories.
HFL: Is there one person to date or an event that you are proudest to say wore one of your ties or participated with to help support your foundation?
Dhani: Hard to narrow it down because there are so many organizations and people. Maybe the first organization, JDRF. That was a powerful moment when you have a CEO of a company, whose son has type-1 diabetes, goes on a limb saying he wants you to make a bowtie for his organization to raise awareness and raises $40,000 in one night.
HFL: What do you say to the guy who says “I’m not cool enough to rock a bow tie”?
HFL: Which of the Ties you have designed is your personal favorite?
HFL: Who do you think is the best-dressed player in the NFL today?
HFL: Style is…
Dhani: Style is knowing what’s to come, paying homage to what has been before, and being in the moment.