Flag & Anthem has tapped NFL star Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers as its brand ambassador.
The partners seem to have been fated to work together. Gartman said he had followed McCaffrey’s career closely, going back to the athlete’s time at Stanford, where in 2015 he broke the NCAA record for all-purpose yards, was named Associated Press Player of the Year and was a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. Meanwhile, McCaffrey said he shopped the brand and wore the clothes before shooting the campaign.
Gartman said McCaffrey is the “ideal core customer for the brand,” and they are in similar “emerging” stages, with McCaffrey starting his pro-football career in 2017, one year after Flag & Anthem launched. Gartman also described the partnership as “natural.”
The brand photographed its fall campaign in Colorado, which seems to have been a stroke of fate as well, considering that McCaffrey was born and raised in the state. While McCaffrey described the campaign shoot as “cool” and “easy,” Gartman expressed just how “natural” the shoot was.
“It was kind of a no-brainer when the opportunity came about. I really like the product. It’s comfortable for me,” said McCaffrey. McCaffrey is the son of three-time Super Bowl Champion Ed McCaffrey. He grew up in a very athletic family: his mother, Lisa, played soccer at Stanford; his older brother, Max, played professional football in the NFL on the San Francisco 49ers, and his younger brothers, Dylan and Luke, play quarterback at the University of Michigan and University of Nebraska, respectively. Even his uncle, Billy McCaffrey, played college basketball and his maternal grandfather, Dave, was an Olympic track star.
The athlete said he wasn’t very into fashion but cared about his appearance, and Flag & Anthem sells the type of clothes that he wears like T-shirts and hoodies. As someone who does work with the military, he was also drawn to the brand’s American roots.
Mohit and Gartman spent more than a decade at Macy’s running private-label brands at the retailer and saw a “wide space in the marketplace” that inspired the creation of Flag & Anthem. The brand operates a subscription business, and is offered at as many as 300 boutiques, and retailers such as Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s and Buckle.
Flag & Anthem and McCaffrey are also not shy about collaborating. Both Gartman and McCaffrey are interested in working on product together, with McCaffrey saying, “I think that could be something really cool in the future.” Gartman added, “We feel like as we go forward with Christian, we want to have his input. Something for his interests.”
In the meantime, Flag & Anthem is focused on spring 2020, which makes its debut at Project in Las Vegas this week. Gartman said the collection expands beyond woven shirts, the brand’s hero category, to a more balanced collection, consisting of knitwear and graphics, bottoms that have been “very successful” for the brand, and accessories such as headwear, bags and footwear. The brand plans to expand its footwear with more options like flip-flops and sandals and expand its women’s offering into fall 2020.
Gartman said naming a woman as brand ambassador is “not in the immediate plans, but we certainly see this as the next evolution of a significant lifestyle brand. Women’s will be an important component of that, something we make sure we take our time with and grow the brand organically.”