Wolves Fashion

Dressing to Impress

Wolves players strive for a winning look off the court.

By Courtney Lawson
Our next model is wearing a one-of-a-kind, tailor-made suit by Ron and Ron of New York. Notice the intricate pattern on the inside of the jacket, the unique pocket design and the exquisite material. The jacket is accented with a distinctive, contrasting stitching pattern, a Ron and Ron signature design. The model’s suit is perfectly tailored to his 6-5 frame, with his pants falling elegantly on his Italian leather boots.

Is this model on a runway in Paris? Perhaps he is in a fashion show in Italy? Is he at a store opening in New York? Or, is he walking to work; walking down the hallway that leads to the Timberwolves home locker room to put on his number "8” jersey in preparation for game-time?

In one word, Latrell Sprewell, the Timberwolves resident fashion expert, would define his fashion style as “classy.” Whether it's a tailor-made suit fresh in from New York or designer jeans and a Prada sweater, Sprewell, like a growing number of athletes these days, is dressing to impress.

“Part of the reason I started to dress up is because I like to be different,” said Sprewell. “Some guys in the league will dress up, but a lot will still opt for jerseys or more causal wear, so sometimes I’ll wear a suit or something a little classier to sort of do my own thing.

“I do most of my shopping in New York. If I had to give someone one fashion tip, it would be to shop in New York!” Sprewell remarked.

Not surprisingly, Sprewell’s favorite suit designer, Ron and Ron, is based in New York. “I use these particular guys because they know my style, what I like and don’t like, and I don’t really have to tell them what I want. They will just present me with items and if I don’t like any of it, I’ll just send it back. They usually do a good job though. I think in all the years I’ve gone to them, I’ve only sent back four or five suits.” Considering Sprewell owns approximately 70 suits, Ron and Ron is obviously in tune to their client’s fashion sense.

When suit shopping, Sprewell looks for a number of things. While at a quick glance one may miss all the details that are involved in one of Sprewell’s outfits, but when he gets dressed, he is creating his own masterpiece. First and foremost, it is usually a task to find suits that are his size. While he usually doesn’t have trouble finding pants that are long enough, it is sometimes difficult to find jackets and tops that fit his long arm span. Beyond just the fit of the suit, he also focuses on the garment’s design and material. He enjoys designs that are intricate and unique and materials that are classy and impressive to the eye and to the touch. Sprewell puts in the extra effort to seek out items that help to express his own individual style; items like shirts with contrasting patterns on the collar and the cuffs, jackets with detailed stitching schemes and solid colored suits that are lined with plaid, checks, paisley or other patterns.

Accessories are also an important component to Sprewell’s high-fashion wardrobe. Sprewell also orders many of his shoes through Ron and Ron. The store orders the shoes from Italy for the athlete, many of which they select to perfectly compliment his assortment of Ron and Ron suits. He also looks to Gucci, Cartier and other high-end designers for original hats, glasses, scarves, bags and jewelry. “I like having clothes and accessories that people don’t have,” Sprewell boasted. “If there is something that’s in style that other people are wearing, I’ll sometimes follow the trend and do what other people do, but no matter what, I will always add my own individual style to everything.”

Like Sprewell, several of the other Timberwolves players and coaches are also proving to be very fashion conscious. “Sid (Lowe) is definitely the best dressed coach, he has a lot of nice suits. As for the players, I would say that Erv (Ervin Johnson) is the best dressed. He has a lot of nice clothes and they all fit really well, his tailor does a great job with him,” said Sprewell. He went on to say that if there was one player he could do a fashion makeover on, it would be Mark Madsen. “Erv has actually tried to help Mad Dog (Madsen) out, I know he got him one suit.”

What Johnson did was introduce Madsen to his personal tailor. Madsen has gotten a couple of suits through the tailor and a suit from Johnson. But Madsen laughed and said, “Erv did try and give me a makeover of sorts. He’s trying to give me some advice on my clothes, but I haven’t really implemented all of Erv’s fashion tips into my everyday life!”

It has also become a growing trend for athletes to not only sport the latest fashions, but to also design their own fashions. Sam Cassell and Kevin Garnett are both examples of this latest phenomenon.

Cassell, along with partners Kenny Westray, Steve Francis of the Orlando Magic and Nick Van Exel of the Portland Trail Blazers, is part owner of We R One, a clothing company that offers apparel and accessories designed to complement the urban lifestyle. We R One began in 1992 as a t-shirt company and now produces a full line of men’s, women’s and children’s apparel that includes sweat suits, suits and leather jackets. While Westray is the leading designer, Cassell designs some of the T-shirts and has his input on the entire line. Approximately 75 to 80 percent of NBA players own pieces from the We R One line and the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Dallas Mavericks Dance Teams are all equipped with We R One gear.

Garnett has also been working on creating a clothing line called OBF (Official Block Family). The MVP is involved in the creative design of the line and actively takes part in each step of the design process, all the way to the final product. Right now the line is going through a revamping process to ensure that Garnett gets the exact clothing that he wants. When OBF initially launches, it will be a men’s-only line, but as the brand grows, he will look to expand into women’s clothing as well. The men’s line will include athletic wear and an assortment of upscale, top-quality pieces, such as cashmere and leather.

So the next time you are looking for what’s in style or for what the latest trend is, you may not need to look any further than the Timberwolves team. Between Sprewell’s classy and extensive wardrobe, Cassell’s We R One line, Garnett’s OBF designs and Johnson’s impeccable fashion taste, Target Center is on its way to becoming the next fashion capital of the world!