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NBA Fashion Talks, E01: unpacking the outfits of Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green

An interview with Toreno Winn and London Wilmot, stylists of the two NBA champions

NBA Fashion Talks, E01: unpacking the outfits of Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green An interview with Toreno Winn and London Wilmot, stylists of the two NBA champions

After the mega brawl in Detroit in November 2004 also known as The Malice at The Palace, commissioner David Stern decided to introduce the "business casual" dress code, a formal regulation that prohibited players from wearing "items often associated with hip-hop culture and in particular jerseys, jeans, hats, do-rags, T-shirts, large jewelry, sneakers and timber boots and specifically Timberland-type boots" to try to keep the stylistic exuberance of some players under control.

In those years the gangsta rap fashion was a major source of inspiration for NBA players and to prevent the messages of rap culture creating again acts of violence on the court, the League decided to establish with rules that also regulated clothing off-the-court of players. After more than 15 years, those stylistic rules are only formally still in force, because the reality is completely different. The transformation of the tunnel into a catwalk is now complete and the "parade" of stars before the games has become a fixed appointment for everyone: fans, players, brands and even for the National Basketball Association itself.

The NBA is the ultimate expression of the relationship between fashion and sport, with players who have become assets of big brands and testimonials of independent brands. There are many players who today collect the legacy of the iversonian thought "I want to look in the mirror and say I did it in my way" and the attention that even the media pay to the fashion component of the League says a lot about the trend that has developed over the past 10 years.

Just looking at the photos that come across the ocean every night is just the tip of the iceberg. We decided to talk about it with those who are behind the creative and aesthetic paths, with 4 stylists who take care of the style of different NBA players. The first part is dedicated to Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green and their respective stylists: Toreno Winn e London Wilmot.


Kyle Kuzma

Kuzma is in the 4th season of the NBA and his style is inversely proportional to the performance of his stats on the court, with the former gaining value with the passage of time and with the latter suffering a physiological decline after the arrival of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But this season he's one of the new wave players who best interprets the Staples Center tunnel, a trend that for Toreno Winn has few but easily traceable founding fathers:

"If we go back in the day it was only a couple guys really getting fly for the tunnel, Dennis Rodman, Allen Iverson, Magic, MJ etc. Now everyone wants to get dressed for pregame and get a fit off haha no one wants to get caught lacking in the tunnel with a bad fit on". 

The outfits that Kuz wears follow a "crazy but synchronized flow", but also a constant update, an exchange of visions - "Sometimes we’re up at 2am sending screenshots and links to pieces and inspo we like" Winn told us - which allow Toreno to make Kyle's style unique. It's exactly the singularity of the choices of the two that makes Kuzma's aesthetics so iconic and recognizable, whose ideological manifesto is perfectly summed up in the attitude of "purposely going left when others want to go right". Where a superficial glance stops at Walter Van Beirendonck's mirror jacket,  Kuzma and Toreno add that piece of the puzzle that gives even more value to the stylistic choices of the 2020 NBA champion.

Kuzma's fashion attitude is also linked to heart motifs, with Winnie Harlow bringing order to the chaos that Kyle often creates on and off the pitch. On the other hand, there are those who use chaos as inspiration, as a starting point to create combinations that convey Kuzma's personality:

"I work in chaos, but only to bring harmony and create matches that work well. It makes it challenging for myself because I’m always trying to outdo what I just did. It’s just how I’m built creatively, mentally as well".


Danny Green

From one NBA champion Laker in the Orlando bubble to another, even if he is no longer a yellow-purple player. Veteran Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers player, has a very different style from the # 0 in LA, with a fashion idea that London Wilmot declines in her own way but trying to show the style of the former Spurs. The NBA at the time of the rookie season of 

"New Jersey Gangsta" (2009) looks like another world when compared to the one we live in today, even if "the NBA has always been a part of fashion culture just unrecognized" as Mrs. Wilmot reminds us.

Green, unlike Kuz, experienced the transition phase that led an NBA player from a pure role of "athlete" to "new model of the catwalk". In his 12 pro seasons, the 3-time NBA champion with 3 different teams (Spurs, Raptors and Lakers) moved from Stern's dress code to what London wisely calls the era of "look good, feel good, play good".

While Toreno Winn compares the creative process and the selection of the look to a constant exchange of opinions, London Wilmot uses the journey as the path that a stylist must take to bring out the personality and style that is already in every player.

In addition to being a Sixers shooting guard, Danny Green is one of the main players in the basketball division of Roc Nation Sports alongside Kyrie Irving. Last August, before Game 2 of the series against the Trail Blazers, Green arrived at the arena wearing the new AC Milan jersey by PUMA, complete with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's # 21. A strategic move - which will be repeated even a month later with the third jersey of the Italian team - the result of the collaboration between the Rossoneri and the Jay-Z agency and which has reopened the trend of soccer jerseys among NBA players opened by James Harden (Arsenal) a few years earlier and brought to the bubble also thanks to LeBron James (Liverpool). When we explained to Wilmot the hype that generated the news of an NBA player wearing the football shirt of an Italian team, she was not surprised:

"Originally I’m from the UK, so football has been a part of my life for as long as I’ve known. I’ve always loved how form fitting the jerseys were how slim the sweatpants were. It’s always current. I also believe supporting other sports worldwide is game changing and I think the comradery is important. I’d love to see more guys in other team jerseys other than their own!"

Understanding NBA style from the inside helps to understand the magnitude of the phenomenon, the importance of the pre-match runway and the switch from athletes to models that makes so many players special today. The testimonies of two "supporting actors" like Toreno Winn e London Wilmot show another side of the moon, that of those who work behind the scenes and live the world of fashion at 100%.

The second part of the NBA stylist interviews will be online next Friday. Stay tuned for Game 2 of NBA stars' style.