By Ibrahim Malik
Front rows aren’t just reserved for Fashionistas and Editors, but Ballers are front and center at the all the Hottest Shows. Athletes are trading their cleats and jerseys for designer labels. No longer are the days when athletes splurge, million dollar contract just on Fast Cars and even Faster Women (on some Boys too) but invest in Tailored suits and custom kicks. Michael Jordan is a household name not just because of his sick jump shot but his Iconic Shoes. Nowadays athletes like Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and DeWayne Wade are exceeding way beyond just a shoe endorsement. This past New York Fashion week, they towered over in the front rows at shows such as Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Bastian, and others. These fashion houses and designers look at it as a true win-win situation giving an easy mainstream appeal. Joe Zee, Creative Director of Elle even contributed “In the last few years, fashion shows have become as much a spectator sport as about the fashion, with blinding paparazzi snapping celebs in every front row.”
Lockouts in the NFL and now the NBA, allow ballers more time to divert their attention from the court to fashion. It is been a true emergence of athletes showing of the impeccable physiques in amazing editorials and eye-catching ads. We still won’t forget Kobe Bryant Amish-Inspired 2010 photo shoot in LA Times Magazine. More recently Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade have spreads in Vogue Italia and VMan respectively. So if this current lockout doesn’t turn out so hot, they can fall back on Modeling (so LaLa and Gabrielle Union don’t fret). Amare Stoudemire turned his hustle up a notch with his current collaboration with Rachel Roy. “I was never a designer or anything like that, but as far as putting together what I was going to wear, I was a fashion rebel, always mixing it up,” said Stoudemire. The collection itself is meant to be the best of both worlds: Fashion & Sports. Rachel Roy had this to say about their line “What does Gisele wear when she goes to see her man [New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady] play? What would Kate Moss wear? Those images are the inspiration as we’re designing.” It’s a toss-up when the next NBA season will start but the players just might be changing in the locker rooms from shorts to tailored shirts by designers from around the globe.