Dime Q&A: NBA Stylist Talks Player Fashion & Branding

Nowadays, if you have been paying attention to players such as Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Chris Paul, you will notice that these NBA stars have distinctive styles and are among the best dressed in the league. Players are starting to care a lot about what they are wearing and their off-court appearance, and that’s why I decided to talk with a stylist about some of the trends emerging among the more sartorial choices of your favorite NBA player.

Athletes are starting to build their own looks and it shows that there is more to NBA players than just the game of basketball. The list goes on and on as to why NBA players want to show more of a fashion sense, but one thing remains clear: the stylist is a big part of building their personal fashion Modus Operadi. The approach of the stylist is to show their innovative vision while bringing the personality out of the client.

Currently, the NBA and American Express teamed up for an initiative to look at everything NBA players are into off the court. From fashion, to music and everything in-between, the partnership provides fans the opportunity to know their favorite superstars beyond the NBA hardwoord.

This month fans can submit their courtside style to NBA.com for a chance to meet Rajon Rondo. That said, through this new venture I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with the hottest stylist in the NBA, Calyann Barnett.

In our chat, we talked about everything from the many different styles of NBA players, to who she would love to work with.
*** *** ***
Dime: So what’s the new trend in the league, what are a lot of NBA stars wearing as far as brands, new look etc?
Calyann Barnett: Well, everybody is trying to do their own thing and make their own statement right now. In the past, everybody was wearing suits, but now you see players trying to find their niche. For example when you see Rajon [Rondo], he is trying to do the “Collegiate Fresh” look or Tyson Chandler doing the all black Rick Owens look proves everybody is trying to be different.

Dime: That’s cool, so just now you mentioned Rajon Rondo, who are some NBA players that you worked with?
CB: I worked with Matt Barnes, Josh Smith and currently working with Dwayne Wade.

Dime: Since your currently working with Dwayne Wade, what are his style or favorite brands to wear?
CB: Well as you know, in the past Dwayne has worn bold, bright and colorful clothes and he loves all that, but for this season, he has toned down a lot and is actually wearing a lot of suits especially from Dolce.

Dime: Now I have to ask you this question, and this been on my mind for a while. Are you responsible for Dwayne Wade‘s “Geek Chic” look?
CB: Haha, yea I am. I heard Russell say he was and I was like ‘Um no we actually came up with that style.’

Dime: Yea I figured that. Now to backpedal a little to Rajon Rondo. How did his style come about because when he first got into the league he wasn’t the most fashionable guy?
CB: Well what actually happened with Rajon was, we had a few encounters and I would see him off the court say ‘There is so much I can do with you.’ See because Rajon is a pretty normal size, he has longer arms and broad shoulders so he can wear pretty much anything that most players can’t wear because they are so big. My thoughts were just because you play basketball you don’t have to dress like that, so we did a little shopping over the summer then he did his GQ internship and realized he didn’t have to just have an on-court presence, he can express himself off the court also. It was really just about figuring out who he was because Rajon had the ‘cool guy on campus’ persona, so we came up with the collegiate fresh look and tried not to make him older than he actually was perceived.

Keep reading to find out who Calyann would like to work with…

Dime: Cool, good call on your part. Now I’m putting you on the hot seat a little bit: who are five players in the league you would love the chance to work with?
CB: Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, John Wall, James Harden and Serge Ibaka. I wouldn’t work with Serge Ibaka because he needed help, but because he has such a great sense of style, it would be fun.

Dime: Ok, so what about the other four players, why are you so curious to work with them?
CB: Well with Derrick Rose, he has a similar build to Rajon Rondo so it baffles me as to why he wears oversized shirts and logo Polo shirts. Kevin Durant keeps missing that mark, like he will have an OK day then he will miss it. I think he been hanging with Russell Westbrook a little bit too much.

Dime: Haha, you are hilarious. What about the last two?
CB: I prefer that smaller build and John wall has a great sense of style. I just think he needs a little bit of tweaking. Then we get to James Harden. I mean who doesn’t want to dress the beard? And with Serge, he has such a great style, I would just want to continue to build on that.

Dime: Now, I’m going to ask you one more hot seat question. Who are three players that need your help badly in the fashion department?
CB: Let’s start with Tim Duncan. Like he needs my help real bad. Next is Pau Gasol. It’s like he just walks out the house like ‘I don’t Care.’For the last person can I go outside of the NBA like somebody that is not on the court?

Dime: Sure, who are you thinking?
CB: Charles. Charles Barkley.

Dime: Hilarious, so let’s switch gears a little bit. What are some trends that are catching your eye and some brands that NBA players should get into?
CB: First of all, everybody needs to make sure their clothes fit. That’s the most important thing. This season there is a lot of plaid and wool winter suiting. Also separates are big, along with the sneaker dress shoe. Cole Hann actually does a great job of making them, and you can wear it with your suits.

Dime: Next question is, how would you describe your vision and style for NBA players?
CB: I actually started in the music industry and I was working underneath a different stylist and started working with clients. And after I worked with my first NBA player, I realized there was a market for it. First of all, they can wear the clothes and after the NBA started the dress code, nobody was really looking at them like that. So I was like ‘Hey lets bring fashion and basketball together.’ So at first a lot of people were like ‘Hmm, sports and fashion?’ But now you realize a lot of NBA players are into it, and you see another side of them, so it was all about finding a niche nobody was into and perfecting it.

Dime: Now my last question for you is what is next on the horizon for Ms. Barnett?
CB: Well, I have an agency called the WWB Lifestyle Agency that consists of me and other stylists that dress players in the NBA realm. I also do the style directing behind my guys who have a lot of other things going on and breaking into other fields. For example, Dwayne Wade has his tie and sock line and Rondo who is working with John Varvatos. It’s like I’m working with these guys off the court fashion passions.

Dime: What is your vision for these NBA players?
CB: Well it’s my job for me to let the fans and everybody else see the other side of them. Like you see them on the court and as role models but what the other sides to them are. That’s why it’s great that American Express decided to do this “Off The Court” campaign because you get to see another side of them. I want to bring their sense of style to everybody.

What do you think?

Follow Andrew on Twitter at @Drewtheabstract.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.