Westbrook Pops Up at OKC Auto Shop
By Nick Gallo | Thunder Basketball Writer | email@example.com
The checkerboard floor, the endless wall clocks and the shining metal of cars already started to bring you back. Weather-worn leather car seats were nestled atop tires to create makeshift lounge chairs, but instead of motor oil and air fresheners, there were clothes lining the windows of the Penn Automotive storefront on Saturday afternoon.
As a part of the launch of Russell Westbrook’s new clothing line, Honor the Gift, Westbrook unveiled a vintage inspired fashion line of streetwear to hundreds of Oklahoma City patrons who lined up outside for the chance to grab some of their point guard’s new gear. A DJ booth graced the body shop to help keep the fans entertained, while Westbrook hosted fans inside as they shopped from his new line. Teammates Patrick Patterson, Andre Roberson and Dakari Johnson even strolled through to check out the threads.
“It’s an unbelievable blessing to be able to put something out and give back to the people,” Westbrook said. “Obviously me being in Oklahoma, to bring different events here and different people and different ideas is something I try to do.”
Westbrook’s vision was to inspire others to show gratefulness both spiritually and to family members who helped him along the way. Much of the clothing is adorned with 1988 or 88, a reflection of Westbrook’s birth year. The racing stripes, the block letters and script, in addition to the setting, reminded of a late 80’s-early 90’s era, capturing the new-but-vintage athletic wear look that Westbrook feels people connect with these days.
Watch: Russell Westbrook Launches Honor the Gift in OKC
It took a year from the conception of the idea for the clothing line’s release to come to fruition. Even though it’s not his main career, Westbrook takes a methodical and patient approach to his fashion. He is a part of every detail from the basic things like fabrics, the word choices and the design to even more creative aspects – like the fact that the clothes are given a washed look, and many of the selections are stitched inside out, to avoid scratchy seams touching the skin.
Oklahoma City was of course Westbrook’s choice for the very first pop up shop, giving him another chance to connect with the community. The fans return the favor by dressing up in his gear all over town, and inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. The line will be available to the broader public on Nov. 21 at www.honorthegift.co
What Westbrook has done off the court, both in the fashion world and with the way he gives back to Oklahoma City, has inspired the next generation too. Beyond donating his old clothing to charity, Westbrook’s creativity and bravery when it comes to fashion has caused others to find themselves interested in that line of business.
One 16-year-old, Greyson Gomez even brought in a special project that he’s been working on. Gomez intends to go to college for fashion, so he asked Westbrook to look over the portfolio he put together for a sneaker design. Westbrook intently studied the binder of Gomez’s work, and even took the design with him. That meant the world to Gomez.
“I never really thought this would happen, but I’m really glad I got to get out to him and reach out,” Gomez said. “He was a little bit surprised that a kid spent that much time making a shoe for him. I appreciate him taking it and looking over it.”
“He inspired me with his outgoing outfits. Some of the wings I put on the shoe, it applies to his style,” Gomez added.
“That’s an honor,” Westbrook said. “That’s something you don’t take for granted. I’m very grateful to have kids inspired by me.”
Westbrook often explains that even though his style is unique, he is still influenced by others in the industry, and that gives him ideas for bigger and better things for his brand. In turn, Westbrook is infusing that attitude into Oklahoma City, where more and more, the people in town are expanding their creative horizons.
“I just really appreciate what he’s doing for the fans here and the culture of Oklahoma City,” Gomez said.