Carmelo Anthony hasn’t had much downtime in the NBA off-season.
Amid his recent team shake-ups — officially moving from the Atlanta Hawks to free agent status and on to the Houston Rockets last month — the baller has found somewhat of a second calling in design.
Just one day after the Savage x Fenty New York Fashion Week finale, Anthony took to the city to reveal “Melo Made,” an ongoing series of collaborations featuring pieces he designed in partnership with five brands: Jordan Brand, Rag & Bone, Goorin Brothers, Rochambeau and Famous Nobodys.
News of the Rag & Bone x Air Jordan 20 broke last week, in which two colorways were released — orange and green and a tonal black edition — which are both set to release later this month.
A star-powered posse was there to support Anthony at his event, including his stylist Khalilah Beavers, fellow teammate and reigning NBA MVP James Harden, Lala Anthony and Rag & Bone creative director Marcus Wainwright.
FN was also on hand to get insider insight from the NBA star on the design partnerships, reaction to the Jordan shoe and what’s next.
FN: Have you always been passionate about design, or is it something that you fell into as NBA style become more of a ‘thing’?
Carmelo Anthony: I’ve always had a passion. It’s just that early on the focus wasn’t as much on athletes dressing. Like, if an athlete tried to design before, it was looked upon as if it wasn’t going to be right, we didn’t know what we were talking about, leave that to the fashion world… I think now over the years everything just started to intertwine with one another. Now, people look for athletes to design because they want to see our creativity.
FN: The Rag & Bone x Jordan shoe already has a lot of buzz around it. Why choose Rag & Bone specifically to collaborate on this style?
CA: Me and Rag & Bone have been trying to work together on a collab or capsule for about six or seven years now. I’ve always been a friend of the brand and have always been a friend of Marcus. We were just waiting for that right time, and the timing is perfect for us. I knew Rag & Bone wanted to do a sneaker, but I wanted to bring them something that I felt needed some attention to it. The only sneaker you see from Jordan are 1s, 2s or 11-12s. Anything after 13, 14 you don’t hear anything about, so I wanted to take that sneaker and see how creative we could be by deconstructing it and taking a different fabric approach to it, which I know Jordan Brand was a little skeptical about at first because they don’t like people touching their aesthetics.
FN: Why did you go with the colorways that you chose, the orange and green and then the black?
CA: The colors were easy. The inspiration behind the whole capsule was Japanese military-inspired. That orange is very prominent in the Japanese culture, so I wanted to incorporate that in the line, and once I gave it to Marcus, he was like, ‘This is perfect.’
FN: What has been your biggest challenge or any hiccups you’ve come across during the design process?
CA: There have been a lot of hiccups. The small technicalities of it, the details. [I ask myself,] ‘Are the people going to like this detail?’ For me, it was more mental than anything. ‘Are they going to like this button, this pocket here? Are the cuffs too small? Too wide? Should we put a zipper? Should we put a strap?’ It was so much when it comes to details [regarding] what we had to do and [figuring out] how do we make an overcoat standout from another coat [for example].
FN: What has the reaction been like to the sneaker from your fellow NBA players?
CA: They haven’t seen it. I just released the sneakers, so everybody at first was shocked to see that I did the 20. The first initial reaction to the 20 is it’s an old shoe, it’s bulky, it’s big — who would do the 20? Everybody asked that. ‘Why did you pick the 20?’ Once they saw how I deconstructed it, then it was perfect.
FN: Who do you envision wearing it?
CA: Whoever feels connected to that shoe and that design. I don’t have one person in mind, but whoever. For me, the big thing was making it unisex; the Jordan 20 before wasn’t unisex. So now, you look at that shoe, I see the models, I see the women wearing that shoe, and I actually like it more on women than I do the men.
FN: This is expected to be an ongoing series, so will we see more from the same designers or are you bringing in new designers next time?
CA: This is the first year, so every year will be a whole new group of designers, or even if someone wants to step up as one designer who just does it real big, I’m open to it.
FN: Do you see yourself doing more luxury footwear design or other styles outside of sneakers?
CA: I can see myself doing that. It’d have to be right for me; it’d have to be the right feel. I’d have to stick to my brand and what I believe in. I wouldn’t make pointy-toed dress shoes at this time [for example], that’s not what I’m into at this moment, but next year might be something totally different.
FN: This capsule gives us a taste of your aesthetic, but is this just a precursor of what more is to come for you in design?
CA: This is just to get in the door and see and work my way in there, and show people the different aspect of creativity that I have with these different brands and what they stand for, and taking that brand identity and creating something specifically for that brand.
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