Fashion and basketball have increasingly intertwined in the last decade or so. While former NBA players showed up at games in suits and ties, or the late ’90s, jerseys, and chains, modern fashion is more eclectic. While much of the attention is leveed at superstars like LeBron James, others, like Serge Ibaka and Jordan Clarkson, forged their path to fashion.
Serge Ibaka, NBA fashion star
Ibaka’s eye for fashion made him a natural to build a brand. However, Ibaka didn’t just want to throw his name on someone else’s designs. He wanted to create a brand inspired by things he would actually wear. He worked with several industry leaders to ensure that his growing brand had as much as him as humanly possible.
“We left all trims and materials at Serge’s place, so he was able to pull outlooks and details that he liked, and then we would apply them to the designs,” said fashion designer Michael Kerr in a piece about Ibaka’s fashion for The Star. “He’s got great fashion references, and he knows what he wants. He knows the silhouettes and the looks, and he’s able to call out key features. He’d say, ‘This zipper has to be this way,’ or ‘I want it to pop here and stand back here.'”
Ibaka seconded this, stating that his penchant for fashion does not come from oncoming trends but whatever tickles his fancy and inspires him to go out looking good. He’s already parlayed this into his brand. While Ibaka might not be the first name people think of when it comes to athletic fashion, he’s letting his brand speak for itself.
From genderless vests and parkas to, of course, kilts, Ibaka is a different type of NBA style icon. He put this in perspective when he spoke to The Star.
“Everything you see in the collection is me,” Ibaka said about his brand of fashion. “It’s my vision, my style. It’s what I like in fashion. We started from scratch, and they gave me the opportunity to share my vision with my fans.” The results are in, and other players are joining him in bold fashion choices.
Despite all of the looks that Ibaka has served, the kilt still sticks out among the rest. When he arrived at a game wearing a kilt, he got a text from former teammate Kawhi Leonard allegedly asking him, “what the hell” he was wearing. However, the kilt craze doesn’t start and end with Ibaka.
The similarly fashionable Jordan Clarkson showed up to a game with a kilt, himself. It caused a roar in the locker room as he spoke, but Clarkson made no qualms about his inspiration. According to USA Today, when one media member asked Clarkson about his choice of the kilt, he answered confidently, “It’s swag, baby!”
Like Ibaka, Clarkson loves to serve a unique look. This might lead to a new movement in the NBA. The Fear of God quilt that Clarkson wore is sold out on the company website. However, with Clarkson and Ibaka’s kilts getting more and more attention,
Is the revolution near?
Kilts have come and went several times throughout the years. NFL star Odell Beckham Jr. famously wore one to the Met Gala and set the internet ablaze in the process, details Yahoo Sports. However, the NBA now has two patron saints of kilt-wearing. With every passing year, however, fashion gets weirder across the league. One player’s bold statement can quickly become the norm.
While Ibaka and Clarkson appear to be the only ones who have worn them to an NBA game, perhaps more players can take notice and make them regular. The NBA has come a long way since it decried players for peculiar fashion choices, but with Ibaka and Clarkson bringing on the kilt, perhaps the most incredible fashion days are still ahead.