Russell Westbrook conquers New York Fashion Week (Video)

Eric Freeman
September 13, 2013

Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook has a deserved reputation as one of the craziest dressers in the NBA, someone who defies all sartorial logic to achieve bizarre and terrifying levels of self-expression. He already drew attention to himself this summer by courting self-parody at the Teen Choice Awards, and it stands to reason that Westbrook will push his style farther in the future.

Right now, though, he's mingling with the world's most prominent fashionistas at New York Fashion Week. In an interview with The New York Times, Westbrook explains his fashion sense, where he got it, and how he tries to push the discipline forward. Watch the video above, and join us after the jump for some quotes from Bee Shapiro's feature article:

“The shows, as an experience, have been amazing,” Mr. Westbrook, 24, said of his Fashion Week whirlwind. He added that he found that stepping out of the usual basketball scene and meeting designers “was refreshing.”

“It was a learning process for me, to be able to see the shows from a different point of view,” he added. [...]

Yet, unlike some athletes, who might be satisfied with a fashion show appearance or two, Mr. Westbrook has greater ambitions. Over a recent lunch, dressed in a fitted black tee and dark bluejeans that he had cut into capris (a silhouette he’s liking right now, he explained), he kept circling back to his need to stand out, to “shift to a different lane and find my own way.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, one day, he would like to have a line. He also consistently works with a tailor, Johanna Alba who, for better or worse, sews custom designs for him. [...]

“Personally, the things you see on the runway are the best pieces, and the items I happen to like,” he said with a shrug. “And they’re controversial pieces that people talk about. Somebody is not going to like it.”

“But it’s good,” he added. “It’s good in that it’s going to put me out there.”

NBA fans are pretty familiar with Westbrook's approach to fashion, but these comments help affirm that he sees clothing as a challenge to others as much as an expression of himself. He understands that people are going to talk about him and embraces it.

That's not to say that all (or even more than a few) of his looks are good, or coherent, or even in an established fashion tradition. But Westbrook is clearly doing something substantive with his clothing, if only because he's forcing people to consider alternatives to their usual modes of dress. Heck, he may even be teaching the designers at fashion week a thing or two about how to combine different pieces.