The NHL star talks personal style and working with RW&CO.

Erik Karlsson Won’t Be Cutting His Hair Anytime Soon

It’s been a crazy year for Erik Karlsson. Less than a month ago, the 28-year-old Swede was still the captain of the Ottawa Senators, the team that drafted him a decade ago and moulded him into a genuine NHL superstar. But on September 13, everything changed: Karlsson was traded across the continent to the San Jose Sharks, where he’s now joined the likes of Joe Thornton and Brent Burns on a suddenly loaded roster with huge ambitions for the season ahead.

In the midst of all those major life changes, Karlsson was also unveiled as the face of Canadian clothiers RW&CO., with a snappy line of three signature suits designed for dudes on the move. A couple of weeks before his trade went down, we caught up with Karlsson to discuss the new collection, life on the road, and how he takes care of that all-important mane of his.

TITLE: Is looking good before a game important to you?

ERIK KARLSSON: I mean, I like it. It’s something I take pride in — representing myself going to a game, looking professional — it’s something that I’ve developed over the course of the years. As of right now, it’s something that makes me feel good walking into a game, so I quite enjoy it.

Which one of your [Ottawa] teammates has the best fashion sense?1

There’s quite a few guys. I would have to say other than me on the team — which maybe came off a little wrong — it’s tough to pick out one, but I think Jean Gabriel Pageau is one guy that always finds a way to dress nice.

What do you think of the fashion scene in Ottawa?

It’s OK, I think it’s gotten a lot better over the years. I’ve been here for 10 years now and when I first moved here it was a lot different than it is today. I think that fashion is something that is growing — younger people are taking a lot more interest in it at an early age, and you can see that throughout Ottawa just by the way that they dress and represent themselves.

What’s one staple item every guy has to have in his wardrobe?

For me personally it’s a watch, it’s something that I’ve always worn since I was young and I would never take off. But in general I think it can vary from person to person and everybody has something that is their personal niche.

You’re on the road constantly. Is there a particular piece from your RW&CO collection that you always travel with? 

Yeah, the Traveler Suit. It’s extremely comfortable and doesn’t wrinkle when it’s in suitcases, which happens a lot the way that we [hockey players] live. That’s the one that represents me the best, just because of the amount of travelling that we do throughout the year, sitting on planes, wearing suits at all times. It’s extremely, extremely comfortable.

Your hair is iconic in the NHL. Do you have any tips for guys on maintain their flow?

Once it gets to a certain length it kind of takes care of itself. I’m not going to say that it’s not a little bit annoying at times to have long hair. It takes an extremely long time to dry and you do have to take care of it a little bit more than if you do have short hair. Sometimes I envy the guys that do, but at the same time, every time I cut my hair I regret it. It’s just my personal look. So, it’s probably something that I’m going to keep for as long as I can, because unfortunately there might be a time in my life when I won’t be able to do it.

Who is your style icon?

I think David Beckham is that guy for me. He’s someone who I’ve always watched and think that no matter what he wears — whether it’s casual wear or a suit and tie, very dressy — I think that he always finds a way to look really good and comfortable in everything that he does. He might not be the most ordinary guy — he can look rough sometimes and still look good, and he can look extremely clean at the same time — but that’s someone that I look up to in the way that he presents himself.

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1. Like we said, this chat took place before the trade went down.