If you follow professional basketball on any level, you have witnessed the boldness of Russell Westbrook, he of the nasty crossover and risk-taking personal style. Like Dwyane Wade (whose Stance sockswe love), Westbrook has two lives: athlete and fashion conversation starter.
He just stepped out as a serious collaborator with True Religion, designing a strong collection of tapered jeans and long, eminently layerable shirts. They look good on the Internet but there’s a solidness and soft feel to the pieces that comes through in person.
We caught up with Westbrook on the phone to talk about all that–as well as his fashion industry goals and why he’s not interested in designing a basketball uniform.
Perhaps you’ve been following True Religion premium denim since the brand’s inception in the early 2000s in Manhattan Beach, CA. If so, you already know some designs: the name-making bootcut jean and maybe also the more recent jogger silhouettes–though the boot fit is definitely still in the building.
The brand is growing its audience now with new official spokespeople, basketball star Russell Westbrook and supermodel Joan Smalls. But let’s talk about unofficial spokespeople for a second.
Because there’s a good chance you learned about True Religion from rappers.
In the last decade and change, rappers have shouted out “Trues” 50 billion times in their lyrics, including heavyweights such as Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz and Jim Jones.
To sate our curiosity about how and why this came to be, we sent David Drake, one of our favorite music journalists and rap experts, deep into the True Religion/rap music overlap.
Once best known for bedazzling men’s back sides with eye-catching orange stitching and crystal studs, True Religion has since embraced the continuing move toward thoughtful minimalism in menswear.
The brand’s newest launch, a step-ahead take on jogger pants that they’ve dubbed the ‘Runner,’ eschews overt branding and focuses instead on methodical design: A relaxed fit up top eliminates any fear of “tight pants,” a sturdy button fly reminds you you’re not lounging in PJs, and TR’s signature twisted leg seams help fabric sit favorably above the elastic ankle cuffs.
Tech specs aside, the fact is that they look great on, as our in-house photo crew proved when they styled these suckers out. Keep reading to see three ways to wear ‘Runners’—and to catch a Q&A with Zihaad Wells, True Religion’s men’s senior design director.
“This is a top-shelf varsity jacket as we head into our second year of loving everything collegiate. I appreciate this True Religion one because the brand has authenticated the style to the point where it looks as though it could have been passed down or even vintage. The fit is spot on. All the bells and whistles make it feel original but won’t make a guy look like he’s an extra in Grease.”
—Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director
Each month, the editors of GQ, in collaboration with Nordstrom Men’s Fashion Director Tommy Fazio and the Men’s Shop, will select key items from the pages of GQ to feature right here on Nordstrom.com.
“The trick to buying distressed jeans is finding a pair that looks like I did it myself. What I love about Diesel jeans is the washing and distressing is carefully thought out and only gets better with more wear. The wash on this particular pair has a faded, summer look, as if I jumped in the pool and let them dry off in the sun. The slightly lighter-weight denim has a nice hand to it and the cut, a slim straight leg with a tapered ankle, is easy to roll up and with flip-flops or your favorite loafer for a flash of ankle. These are jeans that would look appropriate with the dressiest suit jacket or that Calvin Klein T-shirt.”
—Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director
Each month for the next six months, the editors of GQ, in collaboration with Nordstrom Men’s Fashion Director Tommy Fazio and the Men’s Shop, will select key items from the pages of GQ to feature right here on Nordstrom.com.