Russell Westbrook took his seat in the front row of another fashion show at another Fashion Week tour for an NBA star-turned-style trendsetter. The Oklahoma City Thunder guard sat next to television personality Rosci Diaz and whispered a few words in her ear. She burst out laughing.
Not even a minute later, Nastia Luikin, a former Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, walked by to take a seat on his other side. She stopped, high-fived him, and engaged in her own light-hearted exchange with Westbrook, a former Olympic gold medalist himself.
As seamlessly as Westbrook transitioned from one conversation to another in that front row, he’s made the flawless transition from causing havoc on the basketball court to making noise in the fashion arena.
“It’s an honor,” Westbrook said after watching a Nolcha runway show and serving on a celebrity panel judging Project Subway, which challenged student designers to construct vegetable-inspired fashions. “It’s an honor to be versatile enough to play basketball and move over to fashion and still know what I’m talking about.”
Westbrook stretched his legs between showings. He pointed to his surgically-repaired knee. At 26 years old, his knees can still stiffen. But this ball player is not accustomed to sitting on anybody’s bench. Westbrook, who wore a short-sleeve denim shirt over a forest green t-shirt that complemented the new green Jordan XX9 sneakers on his feet, said he snagged the denim top at a vintage shop. The outfit was simple, but illustrated Westbrook’s attention to details, a tip the All-Star guard said applies to every guy.
“Details are important,” Westbrook said. “Women, they kind of have it down already. But for men, the details need to be more important instead of (focusing on) all the accessories and watches and things like that.”
Westbrook’s has been making fashion statements around the NBA for years now and has gained a voice in the fashion industry. He recently collaborated with Barneys New York on a capsule collection called “Russell Westbrook XO New York,” collaborating with such notable designers as Marcelo Burlon.
It’s Westbrook’s first foray into designing and assures that his line isn’t limited to athletic wear. The animal prints and tapered fits show off his influence. They're actually the same things that NBA analysts like Charles Barkley have given Westbrook a hard time for.
“It’s because they don’t know fashion,” Westbrook said. “People in the fashion industry know what I’m talking about.”