Dwyane Wade owns more than 400 pairs of socks. He has boxes and chests and cases of them. You get the idea. The guy’s a sock nut.
What’s his favorite pair of the collection? He can’t pick just one, but near the top of the rotation is a tubular duo featuring pictures of basketball Hall of Famer and cultural icon Bill Walton. The print on the socks is of Walton during his days with the Portland Trail Blazers and it does Walton proud. That red beard was far out, man, and so are the socks in his honor.
“It’s Bill Walton on socks,” Wade said. “I mean, come on.”
Walton was one of a kind and Wade likes to fashion himself as a bit of a revolutionary when it comes to style.
On Thursday night in the Design District, Wade will host his second annual “Night on the RunWade,” a fashion show presented by Neiman Marcus Coral Gables and watch manufacturer Hublot that will promote Wade’s colorful sensibility.
It’s a charity event to benefit the Wade’s World Foundation, but it’s also a coming out party of sorts for Wade, who has launched himself socks first into the fashion industry by turning a hobby into something more.
Wade will be wearing an audacious pair of socks on Thursday night at The Moore Building, but they won’t be his trusty Waltons. Capturing the momentum of the Heat’s success while also capitalizing on his own public image as a fashion entrepreneur, Wade now has his own sock collection with designer sock company Stance, which is the maker of those fashionable NBA throwbacks. Stance’s designers and Wade have been working together for about a year and his socks are set to hit stores in mid-October.
But Wade isn’t stopping at socks, of course.
In November, he and The Tie Bar, a neckwear company, will launch “The Gentleman Collection by Dwyane Wade,” which will feature about 40 different bowtie designs as well as other men’s fashion accessories. A generation ago, Michael Jordan tapped into the shoe market and launched an empire. A lot has changed about the branding of the NBA since then, and Wade’s bold fashion sense — classy, sophisticated and independent — has helped establish the league’s new image.
Now he wants to make some money off it.
“The best things are unplanned,” Wade said. “It just started from liking to dress. For me it was just always having fun with it and looking nice and taking chances, but to get to the point of being known for fashion and then one day have my own line, I never could have imagined that.”
Don’t let Wade’s modesty fool you, of course. He’s a smart businessman with a team of smart people behind him. First by ditching Jordan Brand for Li-Ning and now with the brightly patterned socks and ties, Wade has crafted an image based upon individuality.
“The funniest thing is saying I wanted to do these things and then to actually have them come true,” said Wade, whose fashion sense has been praised by President Barack Obama and others. “Right now, I’m trying to build my brand and my fashion brand.”
Of course, there’s a caveat to all of this, and that’s Wade’s knee. In other words, it would really help Wade the budding fashion mogul grow his brand if Wade the basketball player cooperated with the plans, dominated on the court, won a third title in a row and, in the process, convinced teammate LeBron James to stay in Miami. Wade, James and Chris Bosh can opt out of their contracts after this year and those clauses in their contracts will dominate the buzz around the Heat this season.