Dwyane Wade seems to really like Tom Ford. He’s obviously worn a Tom Ford suit (or two) before. He wears Tom Ford cologne. He even has a Tom Ford candle in his bedroom. As much as Wade loves the famed fashion designer, a few years from now, he would much rather see his own name on all those items.
“When I first started in fashion, my team asked me, what’s your final vision?” Wade recently recalled to The Crossover. “I would love to see people dressed head to toe in, I don’t have a name right now, so let’s say Dwyane Wade. I would love to see that.”
You know Dwyane Wade the basketball player. The 12-time All-Star. The three-time champion. The guy who once dunked Anderson Varejao into the Phantom Zone. Wade the fashion enthusiast is a little different. He’s not a master, he’s the student. Wade describes his role in the fashion world as “humbling,” as he navigates from his heights as one of the greatest shooting guards of all-time to a space where he still feels he has a lot to learn.
After Wade told his team his lofty goal, he said they immediately threw it aside and focused on the steps he could take to make inroads in the fashion world. Almost a decade ago, when Wade was in his basketball prime, he was calling the top designers and fashion magazines just for an opportunity to meet them in person.
“You want to talk about humbling, this was when I was at my 30-points-a-game peak,” Wade said of the meetings, in which he gleaned knowledge from the heads of shops like Gucci and Ralph Lauren. Wade’s stylist, Calyann Barnett, added that the designers also had to be educated a bit, as many of them didn’t realize the potential in dressing NBA stars.
In 2017, you can’t exactly dress yourself in Wade from head to toe, but you can come close. Wade has fashion lines for ties, socks, underwear, shoes and athletic apparel, and that’s not including his recent capsule collection collaboration with DSquared2. And each line is carefully put together before it hits the market.
For his signature shoe with Li-Ning, Wade works with designer Eric Miller, who’s based in Portland. Wade will go over ideas with Miller, discussing silhouettes, materials and more before Miller comes back with a look for the shoe. For everything else Li-Ning, including his lifestyle shoes and apparel line, Wade works diligently with a team in China, where he is immensely popular.
One of Wade’s most successful accessory lines is his collab with Stance Socks, who are also the official sock of the NBA. Clarke Miyasaki, the vice president for business development at Stance, said Wade was at the top of their list when the company wanted to partner with an NBA player. (He added that his first meeting with Wade in Chicago a few years ago was like “love at first sight” because of their shared passion for socks.)
For his socks, Wade begins the design process 13 to 16 months before the collection will hit stores. First, he’ll send Stance an inspiration board, a document of ideas Wade and Barnett have cultivated from his travel from that year and themes they find interesting from the world around them. After taking in Wade’s interests, Stance will send back a vision board with designs for approval. The teams will typically go back and forth a few times before the designs are settled, with the ultimate goal being to reflect Wade’s style.
Wade’s accessory lines may not have turned him into Tom Ford, but he’s certainly earned respect within the fashion world. He’s gone from making phone calls to receiving them. In the past, Wade and his team would ask shops if he could wear their clothes. Now, when he’s attending a big event, Wade can walk into Gucci, where he’ll be greeted with racks full of suits for his choosing. When Wade travels to Milan or Paris, he finds himself with better seats at fashion shows, giving him a chance to hobnob with the likes of Anna Wintour or David Beckham.
Even as he’s gained standing amongst designers, Wade insists he has a long way to go before you can wear a Dwyane Wade suit. After all, he does have a fairly time-consuming day job. Wade may never be able to catch up in fashion to his numerous accomplishments as a basketball player. But if he can get you to wear Dwyane Wade: The Cologne a decade from now (name still a work-in-progress) he will have accomplished one of his dreams.