Confident, bold, and reckless, Russell Westbrook — the basketball player — is an artist on the hardwood, both brilliant and insane. Much the same can be said for Russell Westbrook, the self proclaimed #fashionking.
Westbrook is in his second year teaming up with designer denim label, True Religion. (True Religion X Russell Westbrook.) The point guard has taken point on a fall collaboration which will launch online and in stores on October 6th.
The capsule, a collection of fashion items that won’t go out of style, reflects Russ. But we’re not talking statement-making, playoff-podium, pregame-strut Russ. This is streetwear.
Distressed jeans, sweaters with holes, tees that are longer in the back than in the front, and you will find Westbrook’s signature slogan, “Why Not?” stamped on some. It’s comfy, it’s functional, but if you forget your swagger when you walk out the door — well, you might just stay home.
Westbrook is legitimate in the fashion world. From magazine covers to fashion weeks, designers recognize his sense of style. Tara Peyrache, Chief Marketing Officer for True Religion has seen firsthand Westbrook’s designer genius.
“Russ knows how to put pieces together to work for him,” she said. “The whole idea of the collection is pieces individually that look great on their own, but when they’re worn together there’s a stylistic point of view that takes it to the next level.”
This collection is about confidence and that might just be Westbrook’s greatest weapon in his game both on and off the court.
“I take both seriously,” he said. “I can’t play basketball forever so there’s definitely other things I’m able to do, and fashion is something I love to do.”
Talent and confidence must be met with purpose and vision. Recent addition to the Thunder, shooting guard Victor Oladipo, knows this from only a short time with Westbrook.
“After being with Russ a few weeks, I realize that, there’s a purpose for everything that he does,” Oladipo said. “After working with Russ I can see the intensity and how serious he was about his craft.”
The expression may be different, but where there is madness, there is a method. That became clear in Russell’s involvement with True Religion.
“He has an end game in mind with everything he does,” said Peyrache, who raved about the level of preparedness and intent Russ brought to the collaboration.
When it comes to his craft on the court, we’ve learned — cue Kevin Durant’s departure — Russ values loyalty. From deciding where he will play basketball to what he wants to design, Russ is inspired by those he has kept close his entire life.
“He is guided by his family, and how his family raised him, and instilled confidence in him,” Peyrache explained.
Russell’s dad has worn True Religion since before his son became involved with the brand. Keep an eye out for TR’s marketing campaign launching early October featuring photos of Russell and Russell Sr. Meanwhile, Russell’s mom, Shannon offered her guiding hand and voice on set this spring.
Entering the company’s fifteenth year, True Religion is traditionally recognized as a label of designer jeans with flashy accents from triple-white-stitching to blinged out pockets. Russell’s collection, with all it’s rips and tears, seems a far cry from the brand’s identity. Why then, would TR/RW even be a thing?
It’s no surprise times and styles have changed. “This is True,” Peyrache said of the label’s new direction. “It’s a different era, it’s a different time. So we adapt and we present ourselves in a way that’s relevant for now.”
And Russell Westbrook is relevant.
“He’s absolutely at the pulse of fashion and knows how men can put themselves together to look cool,” said Peyrache.
Taking on tomorrow, today. That’s the motto for Sam Presti and the Thunder. A franchise looking to reinvent its image in a new era without KD. Russell has become the lifeblood pumping through the veins of the organization.
True Religion and the Thunder have hitched their wagons to an incendiary meteor who can make absurd outfits work and outrageous shots fall with his sheer will and determination.
Confident, bold, and reckless — that’s the Westbrook style.
Nikki Kay is a reporter for KFOR Channel 4 in Oklahoma City. You can follow her on Twitter here.