Simpson finding a flair for fashion design

Jerome Simpson spent training camp concentrating on football, but in the offseason he dials up his interest in fashion and is committing time and money to honing his design skills.

Usually it is quarterbacks that want to thread the needle. Last offseason, it was receiver Jerome Simpson.

Simpson’s boredom one day and passion for fashion has led him into the world of fashion design. It’s also created a significant investment in machinery, pushing into five figures and likely well into that range.

In 2013, an offseason trip to a fabric store quickly escalated into an expensive hobby, but it’s also something he hopes to translate into post-football career. First came the purchase of the Bernina 880, what he says is “one of the top models” of sewing machines. Then came a sublimation machine for printing patterns and a few other machines to help with his projects.

“I like doing everything. I did some purses and bags for my mother this past winter and the offseason and she thought they were store-bought,” Simpson said. “All her friends were asking about them at work. She had a couple inquiries from me to do things from the people at her work. I’ll probably get to doing that. And a couple guys want me to make a couple things for them. I just thought about it and it was something that me being in this network would be a good thing for me. I should be to use (this network) to push my products to people. I know what’s fashionable and what guys like.”

He has posted a few pictures of his projects on Instagram, including the purse for his mother and another bag for his grandmother.

Teammates like Cordarrelle Patterson, another fashion connoisseur, have also seen Simpson’s flair for fashion and inquired about the possibilities of something being made for them. For now, however, with a new offense to learn and a potential suspension looming, the Minnesota Vikings receiver wanted to concentrate on football during training camp.

“This is basically a plan for after football. I just wanted to get into it now to get my feet wet to see if like it. I really do like it,” he said. “This is something that I really want to grow off of when I get done with football.

“It’s time for me to focus right now and put the sewing on the backburner.”

But it’s clear that the football offseason is Simpson’s season for fashion, or least giving him enough time to develop his head for threads.

“I just love everything. When I have time, I just go and draw things up. I just put pen on the pad and I go sew it out,” he said. “I can just about do anything. I can do embroidery, I can sew, I can do the sublimation stuff with all-over prints. I can do bags.”

He also made an, umm, interesting men’s outfit he modeled on Instagram, but he knows there is a significant difference trying to break into the world of women’s fashion.

“One thing I want to get into, the women’s clothing, but I love doing the men’s clothing because I know of the fashion with that. The women’s clothing is a little tricky with the curves and everything,” he said. “The ladies, they like their stuff a little bit different than the men. I definitely just love doing that, too, because I just have a niche. I’m good with my hands and my eyes and I know fashion.”

Simpson didn’t want to divulge the amount of investment he has made in his machinery, but with a sewing machine that also embroiders so he can do patches and logos, a serger for hemming and connecting pieces of fabric, a sublimation machine, heat press and more, Simpson can take on a variety of projects.

“When I have a little time off, when I get done studying (the playbook), I’m going to definitely get back to doing a couple garments and showing a couple of my teammates things that they didn’t get to see this past winter,” he said. “And then a couple of the guys did get to see a couple of the things that I’ve done and they ask me all the time when I wear some of my stuff, did I make it? They see the quality that I can do.”

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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