The Story Behind D’Angelo Russell’s ESPYS Red Carpet Look

It’s always fun to check out the style at the ESPY Awards. Where else can you get such a large collection of the world’s greatest athletes strutting out some of the most unique looks on earth? It’s fun to check out all of the players’ style. But this year, there was one man who stood out. 21-year-old Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell arrived in a bespoke ensemble refined entirely out of repurposed, reclaimed fabrics. And he couldn’t have looked cooler.

The design came from Waraire Boswell, one of the brightest stars on the bespoke fashion scene. He’s known for his raw edge, refined complexity, and fearlessness. Boswell has never tried to fit the parameters of ‘normal’ as a fashion designer. Instead he’s always found true style and modern elegance directed by his own internal compass. It doesn’t let him down. His designs are innovative while still feeling classic; subverting industry norms as they wow.

For this red carpet look, Boswell was challenged to create a suit with 1800 Tequila, using only raw, repurposed materials that would speak to the phrase “Just refined enough.” It’s a challenge that was right up his alley. With hard work, passion, and craft, he’s a master at transforming rough, raw materials into an effortlessly stylish final product. Boswell jumped into the project full force by searching for new ways of using old fabrics. He wanted to create a one-of-a-kind suit that would be a work of art as well as being functional and stylish. He sourced surplus and vintage materials, spent hours drawing and redrawing sketches, handworked pieces, and then molded them into a luxury three-piece ensemble that was a perfect fit for one of the most fashionable men on the court. And he did it all in two and a half weeks.

“Shout out to my guy, Boswell,” Russell told us from the red carpet at the ESPYs. “He did his thing with this. It’s different. I just wanted to be different this year.”

The ensemble was not just different. It was spectacular. And we got the exclusive on the exact steps that went into creating the awesome pieces:

Waraire Boswell transforms old army fatigue material into modern, stylish new trousers.

The Pants

Boswell wanted to go with the non-traditional for this project, so he tapped into a massive collection of military surplus from different countries around the world. He tested a wide range of fabrics until he found exactly what he was looking for: 1950s fatigues from the Belgian Congo. The camouflage of the pants featured a refined design and a “brush stroke” effect.

The Shirt

Here’s where the idea of “Just refined enough” comes into play. Boswell tried many unconventional fabrics for the red carpet shirt before ultimately choosing a raw material called Cupro. It’s a cloth similar in feel to rayon but made from recovered cotton waste. Boswell was drawn to both its beauty and its sustainability.

Initially, he planned to make a long-sleeved shirt, but reflection indicated it wasn’t the wisest choice for July. Instead Boswell landed on a sleeveless design. Then, he turned to other trusted artisans to help him craft the final product. The result is a custom-made garment that breathes and moves. The fit, the drape, and the material all work as one to create the ideal look and feel for the red carpet.

The Jacket

When he is struck by a material, Boswell snatches it up and has it stored, even if he doesn’t have an immediate plan for its use. That means there are boxes and boxes of garments and fabrics in his garage, all waiting for the right project, the right garment, and the perfect inspiration. They stay there so when projects develop, he can pull items from his vast hoard of pieces.

“In finding materials,” Boswell said, “there is no place that I won’t look, because you never know when you are going to find something.”

It was in his personal store of fabrics that Boswell found an orange and white billowy parachute leftover from the NASA space program that he decided would make a completely red carpet jacket for Russell. The parachute is made of extremely breathable fabric, making it ideal for a light jacket.

The Finished Look:

“Seeing a completed look,” Boswell said of Russell’s ensemble, “there’s no better feeling.” And looking at the finished product, you can see why. It’s extraordinary, and Russell was proud to rock it on the red carpet. His fashion has changed over the last couple of years, he says, and now he’s staying away from what’s safe, searching instead for innovative style that distinguishes him off the court. He loves taking risks, trying new looks, and rocking the unexpected.

“I think you definitely find yourself in the league, where your fashion is,” Russell told us. “You see a lot of guys trying stuff and having fun with it. So why not do that yourself!”

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In the coming weeks, D’Angelo Russell will be putting his 1800 Tequila suit up for auction and anyone will have the opportunity to own this piece of wearable art. The best part? All proceeds are being donated to Russell’s favorite nonprofit organization, The Humane Society. Keep an eye out for more details!