As seen on TVNZ Breakfast and the 1 Newsnow website.

Retired Kiwi league player Lewis Brown is using the heartbreak of losing his father to suicide to help him launch a new career as a fashion designer.

Brown retired from the NRL after last season and has since found a new passion to invest his time in – clothing.

“I’ve always been into fashion and I’ve always liked sneakers and street fashion,” he told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

“My biggest fear while I was playing footy was ‘am I ever going to be passionate about something as much as footy when I finish’, so I found that passion in fashion and decided to bite the bullet, jump in the deep end and launch my own range.”

The result was Earl’s Collection – a street clothing label launched at the start of February.

Despite his limited knowledge on terminologies in the business, Brown is already seeing success, with an excess of 300 orders in two weeks.

The former Kiwis second-rower, who played in the NRL for the Warriors, Penrith and Manly, said he found inspiration for the name from his dad.

“My middle name is Earl and my father’s middle name is also Earl,” he said.

“Unfortunately, two years ago, my father took his own life. I never really had much of relationship with my dad when I was younger – I grew up with my single mum – and it was a bit of a tough time.

“But my dad was styley dude so I kind of just thought, ‘I didn’t really have the relationship I did when I was with him when I was younger,’ so I’m taking him on this journey now.

“When my dad’s stuff happened, it taught me that life is too short and to do something that you love doing.”

Brown says since launching the company, he’s living life with a smile on his face.

“I’m picking and packing orders out of my own lounge and stuff like that so I’m really connected to the brand.”

 

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