THE GILT MAN Q&A: DWYANE WADE
The dapper Miami Heat star on his curated sale for Gilt MAN, the new breed of NBA style, and the inspiration behind his debut book, A Father First
Let’s start with the sale. I’m seeing a lot of color and punchy accessories in the mix. Does that mean those are a big part of your wardrobe?
[Laughs] Yes, no doubt. That’s a huge part of it. I’m the kind of guy who likes to push the envelope, in a sense.
Seems like Miami would be a good spot for that.
One thing about Miami is it’s becoming more fashionable. We pack a little lighter and brighter when coming here. And it’s important to always have your sunglasses here in Miami. I’m all about my eyewear, from the non-prescription, “not-cool” glasses to my shades.
You’re definitely one of the best-dressed guys in the league. Who inspires your look?
I work closely with my stylist [Calyann Barnett], who helps me with what’s in—and what’s out—as well as my own personal feeling and what looks good on me. I’m the kind of person who likes to look at how other people are dressed, and if I see something that they have, I’m not afraid to say “I’ll take this from that person and try to put my own style to it.”
You’ve always got your eyes open.
Always, always, from head to toe. Obviously, this year, the eyewear was big, all the way down to the socks. I’m always looking for inspiration, to be different, but also continue to show fashion as much as I can.
There’s this resurgence of style in the NBA, and you’ve been a leader in that. What advice do you have for younger guys entering the league?
If you’re a young guy coming into the league, this is a perfect time. If you’re a guy who’s edgy, or likes to be a little different, you don’t have to put that to the side. When it comes to playing with colors and pushing the envelope, I think I paved the way for that, but this is a perfect time. Fashion and being an athlete come hand in hand now. They’re lucky, because when I came in the league, it was black, gray, and maybe another color here and there, and some stripes, but it really wasn’t going and doing risky things.
And now the postgame press conference is like a fashion show. Are you guys trying to one-up each other out there?
I think so. When guys see other guys doing something, it makes them step their game up. You know you’re going to be seen not only by basketball players, but worldwide. I think guys see something on another guy, they either try to get in with the trend or try to top it.
Do you and Lebron and Chris Bosh coordinate your looks out there?
No, never. We’re three guys who love to dress, and we love to see what each other wears from game to game, so we’re all surprised when the other walks in. Some days it’s weird, because we’re color coordinated, and you’re like, “why are we picking the same color right now?” and then some days you can see the different styles.
From the fan’s perspective, it’s fun to watch. Let’s talk about your new book, A Father First. What motivated you to write it?
I just wanted to tell, in my own words, why I think being a father first is the most important thing to me. It goes back to my childhood, and the way things did or didn’t go. I just thought for the first time I would share those personal experiences, and hopefully help someone look at things in a different way. Not saying I have the perfect way of parenting, but maybe look at things in a different way. Someone who has a busy life can look at how I try to be a father first, even though I have this crazy schedule.
Becoming a dad can definitely change a guy—I say that as a father of three. How has it changed you?
Yeah, it does [laughs], and you don’t know it until you get to that point. First of all, you never think you could love somebody this much. Every day you wake up with this person on your mind, and every day before you go to sleep they’re the last thing on your mind. Living in Miami, and playing in the NBA, it’s a fast life. Everything moves fast, and my kids kind of slow things down. Becoming a dad matured me. I was already a mature kid, but it matured me a little faster as an adult—to be ready for the responsibilities of being a father.
I hear that. Seems like you’re doing an amazing job of balancing being a dad with being on the road a lot. How do you manage that?
I don’t know if I do an amazing job [laughs], but I try. I think the best way is, no matter if you’re there or not, always giving your kids attention, giving them time. I make sure that I set up Skype dates. I make sure that every day, or at least every other day, my son and I are at least BBM-ing, even if we don’t talk on the phone. I like to ask about their day, talk about silly things, just making sure that I’m engaged in their lives and letting them know how important it is for me to know what’s going on with them when I’m not around, and to let them know what’s going on with me, because they might not understand “why Daddy’s gone.”
And you’ve also got your foundation, the Wade’s World Foundation. Tell me about that.
When I was 7 or 8 years old, it was something that I always wanted to do. I had the vision early on. I looked around my neighborhood when I was growing up in the inner city, and there just weren’t a lot of positive things being done, or being said, to the kids in our community growing up. I just always said, “you know what, some day if God blesses me with to be a role model that someone can look up to, I want to be that to the best of my ability.” We focused on literacy this year, we focused on bullying, we focused on violence—we focus on many different areas. We’re trying to open up doors for kids, to give them opportunities to use their talents, to give them the confidence that they need.
There’s that famous Charles Barkley ad from way back, where he says he’s not a role model. You’re taking a different path, and embracing your status as a role model.
Yeah, I think you have to understand that you are a public figure and what you do, good or bad, is going to be seen, and someone is going to follow your lead. And if they’re going to follow your lead, why not have them try to follow it in a positive sense? None of us is perfect, and we’re going to make mistakes, but just like we tell the kids, you have to learn from your mistakes and not do it again.
And as a dad, you’re inevitably a role model when it comes to style. Are they starting to pick up some of your fashion sense?
Oh, man, it’s getting crazy in the house. I think I’ve created some little monsters, even with socks. My kids, they’ll be wearing my socks. I’ll be having conversations with them, “You cannot be wearing my socks. I bought you your own socks.” They like to wear colorful socks like dad, and it’s a big conversation we have. They’re like, “but yours are cooler, you have more.” It’s this whole thing. When it’s time to go to certain events, they have their ways that they like to dress. I enjoy it, I laugh, I love it, but I’m going to have to work a little bit harder because it’s going to become expensive.
You’ll have to buy multiples of everything.
Yeah, I’ve got to triple everything now. It’s cool to see that they’re getting into it, but before I left home we had to have a discussion about not wearing my socks. And when they get a little bigger, they’re going to be getting into my clothes, and it’s going to really be a problem.
I bet they’re the best-dressed kids around.
They think they are, anyway.