Phoenix Suns Charities will be hosting their inaugural fashion show, Rise in Style: Fashion for the Future, presented by Annexus on Saturday at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Digital creator and sneaker aficionado Jacques Slade will be co-hosting the event alongside media personality Rosalyn Gold-Onwude as the two breakdown the styles on the night.
Suns.com spoke with Slade to dive into his rise in the shoe-game community, the Suns diverse locker room collection of sneakers and preview what fans can expect on Saturday night:
How and when did this journey as a sneaker expert begin?
“I would say probably about 10 years ago is when the sneaker road really started taking off for me. That's when I started working in sneakers. I was always a guy that loves sneakers, but it was never my job. So, getting, buying and collecting sneakers wasn't as much of a priority. But about 10 years ago I would say all of that change. The thing that pushed me into sneakers was that I was in between jobs. So, I started writing about sneakers online.”
Did you ever think that your love for sneakers would turn into what it has today?
“I absolutely did not think that this would turn into what it is now. I honestly thought that I would be writing about sneakers until I got another job. It's just something that I kind of fell in love with and started pushing the envelope a little bit and creating video that, back then, wasn't really a big thing. I started pushing it a little more for the publisher that I was working with and eventually started doing it on my own. Even when I started doing it on my own, I'd never expected that it would be what it is now and that I would be in the position that I am now and being able to do the sort of things that I'm able to do.”
How does it feel to have your passion turn into your profession?
“It feels amazing and it's one of those things where you realize you never know where things will take you. Just by being dedicated and being passionate and really just working hard. At the end of the day, it's a little bit of luck. I consider myself very lucky to be in the position that I am in. I don't feel like I have a skill any different or any better than anyone else in this world. I just was in the right place at the right time. That allowed me to get where I am. I don't take much credit for what's been able to happen. I consider it more of a privilege.”
What is most the most important quality in a shoe for you (Fit, playability, design, color, etc.)?
“For me, it's comfort. I absolutely love to play basketball. Basketball was my first love and as a result of that I got into sneakers. So, for me, I need to be comfortable in the shoes that I play in. It can look like the best shoe in the world, but if it's uncomfortable and you're playing in it, that just ruins the experience.”
What is your favorite sneaker of all time?
“My favorite sneaker of all time... It changes. The Air Jordan 11 is probably like the highlight big sneaker that I've always liked. It's always been the sneaker at the top of the pyramid, but that's starting to change a little bit. I'm getting a little bit more into the Air Jordan 1. I've collected a ton of those over the years and it's probably the sneaker that I wear most in my collection at the moment. I've also been running a lot, so I've really been into like the Nike React and the Adidas Ultra Boost quite a bit. Those have helped change my perspective a little.”
How unique is it for the Suns to have such a wide variety of brands of sneakers inside their locker room?
“For one I think, I think it's really awesome that you have such a diverse collection of brands within the locker room. Two, the cool part about you guys is that this is such a young team. It makes it really cool that you guys can experiment. The brands can be a little more fun with those guys because they're younger. I feel like the older you get, the more set in your ways you get. With the Suns, they're such a young team and all of these different brands are in there that they can play with different colors, themes and looks. You can find some really exciting things to do with a young and exciting team like that.”
What is your overall impression on the Suns sneaker game?
“They kill it. They do a really, really great job. The funny thing about the NBA now is that the tunnel look has become such a big conversation for people on social media and around the league. With the Suns guys, they're on top of it. Especially Kelly. He's killing it.”
How excited are you to co-host Rise in Style: Fashion for the Future, brought to you by Annexus on Saturday?
“Saturday night's going to be amazing. Programs like this are really something that I'm super passionate about. Being able to reach into the community and have these players use their influence to help out these communities. The Suns team doing this as part of their community impact plan, I'm really excited about it. I think it's going to be great. I think the kids are going to love it. It's going to be a great experience for them. It's really exciting for me to be able to step in and help for something like this. I'm very appreciative that the Suns decided to use me as a co-host for the event.”
Slade will be co-hosting Rise in Style Fashion for the Future, brought to you by Annexus with Rosalyn Gold-Onwude. Gold-Onwude comes from a basketball background as a Stanford Cardinal from 2005-2010. Her college career included three consecutive trips to the Final Fours and two national championship games. She earned 2010 Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year and finished in the history books as the school’s all-time leader in games played.
Gold-Onwude has spent her career with various media outlets including TNT, Pac-12 Network, NBA TV and most recently joined on with ESPN. Her passion for fashion mixed with her knowledge of basketball makes her the ideal co-host alongside the sneaker aficionado, Slade.
During the interactive event, Suns players will flaunt their style alongside youth representatives from local nonprofit organizations throughout the Valley and the special evening will include a cocktail reception with heavy hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction and much more.
Proceeds from Rise in Style will benefit Phoenix Suns Charities, which works to improve the lives of youth and families throughout Arizona by actively creating and supporting programs which focus on education, recreation, and health and human services. Since its inception in 1988, Phoenix Suns Charities has distributed more than $32 million to local nonprofits and organizations in need and the entire Suns organization has embedded itself locally by supporting community efforts through hundreds of player appearances and thousands of volunteer hours annually by Suns players and staff.
Tickets are still available for this exclusive night and can be purchased HERE!