When Dwyane Wade married Gabrielle Union in the summer of 2014, he trusted two people to make sure he was dressed well for the big day: Dean and Dan Caten. Three years later, Wade is joining the Caten twins—who run the renowned fashion house DSquared2—to make sure everyone else looks their best for any occasion.
Wade, Dean and Dan launched their collaborative capsule collection at Saks Fifth Avenue on Monday, a nine-piece set of “sport-luxe” clothing ranging from “cool guy” white jeans to a jacquard tuxedo jacket. If you spend five minutes with the high-energy Catens, it’s not hard to see why Wade would choose them as partners for his latest foray into high-end fashion.
The bubbly brothers, sipping brightly colored drinks while dressed head-to-toe in matching outfits of the pieces they helped design, heaped praise on Wade on Monday, gushing over his passion for clothes and his easy-going demeanor as a partner.
“He’s so into fashion, and that’s such a pleasure for us,” Dean said. “Dwyane is very suave and stylish. And he looks good in clothes!”
Wade described the Catens as family, mentioning that he’s hosted them as house guests in Miami while they’ve returned the favor to him in Milan. Wade said his collection with DSquared2 reflected his personality, including both his love for leisure and formal wear. The Caten brothers were certainly no rookies when it came to the sports world, having previously designed Canada’s Olympic outfits and kits for Juventus and Barcelona.
On the day of the launch, Wade sat down with The Crossover to talk fashion, competing with his famous friends and much more.
Rohan Nadkarni: Give me the Dwyane Wade fashion critique of the outfit I’m wearing right now.
Dwyane Wade: Okay, I got you. So, immediately, I like the gold shoes. I love—I call it a “pop” in the outfit. You wore all black besides the jacket so I appreciate the gold. And then you threw on the jacket with a little army fatigue look. I could rock it.
RN: You could see yourself wearing it?
DW: I could rock it. I might wear it a little differently. Pants would be a little tighter, the shirt would be a little tighter. I could definitely rock it.
RN: So you’ve been in fashion long enough now that when people see your name next to fashion it makes sense.
DW: Oh, that’s good. [Laughs]
RN: But when you were first getting involved, what were the obstacles you faced as the basketball player trying to get into the fashion world?
DW: Well, because I used myself as the billboard right, I didn’t come out with a collection and it was on someone else. Everything that I did I wore it. I took chances. And taking chances with being an athlete, whether it was colors or tightness of my clothes, there was a lot of critique going back and forth. Because a lot of people who cover athletes, there’s a certain imagine in their mind how a basketball player is supposed to dress, act, talk, walk.
And when you get outside of that norm, it becomes shocking. But for me, it was just what I wanted to do. And I’ve always been the type of person, if I want to do something I’m going to do it. I don’t really care about what others think too much. The biggest thing was doing what I wanted to do, understanding there was going to be backlash but I was pushing the wall down for others to come behind and do the same thing.
RN: Did anyone try to stop you? Did anyone say, “No, you don’t belong in this world?”
DW: No. One thing that was great when I started in the fashion space was me and my team, we respected this world. We met with companies. We came to New York and met with all the top companies and magazines. I went in and sold myself to them. When I go to fashion shows I try to meet all the designers and pay my respects. I did the work. It wasn’t just me showing up and saying, “Hey, I know fashion!” I don’t. This isn’t what I went to school for. I play basketball. That’s what I know. The rest is learned. I think I put in the groundwork to get me to this point. This is hopefully only the beginning stages of it but I’m excited about just being here.
RN: How does the 18-year-old Dwyane Wade stepping onto Marquette turn into the guy with a fashion line at Saks Fifth Avenue?
DW: I have no idea. You got to have some luck, some talent, meet the right the people. At 18 years old, all I knew is that I liked watching my dad dress up on Fridays to go to work to drive around and deliver boxes. I admired it. I knew that I liked to dress. I wanted to dress one day when I got some money, that’s what I always said. But I never thought I would be sitting at Saks getting ready to release a collection.
RN: NBA fans know you as a ruthless competitor on the court. Who are you competing with around the league fashion wise?
DW: Well, at this point, I don’t do that no more. Back when the [dress code] first started, it was very competitive. For me, it’s always been my friends more so than anyone else. So when it first started, it was always, let me see what LeBron’s wearing, let me see what Chris Paul is wearing, let me see what Melo is wearing. It was always my friends, no one really else.
And now, I’m 35...
RN: You’re too old for that shit.
DW: [Laughs] I’m not in competition with these guys. I definitely look. I think now everybody's eyes go to Russell Westbrook when it comes to who dresses in the NBA. He does it. You have to respect it. When we were doing it, it was a little more competitive. When we walked into the arena, it was like the runway, cameras were on you. They were having contests of who dressed the best. It’s a little bit different now.
RN: Do you compete with your wife?
DW: Nah, I don’t compete. She wins! Every time. I can’t compete with her. Every time we’re on the red carpet she wins. But I definitely help her. And not on the red carpet stuff. But in our everyday life, I’m definitely more of an influence on her everyday style than she is on mine. Let me say that.
RN: Are you going to get in trouble for that?
RN: Does the banana boat crew ever use the group text to talk about clothes?
DW: Only when someone wears something the other guys want to talk about it.
RN: Have you ever taken a photo of an outfit, sent it to LeBron and said, “Should I wear this?”
DW: No, no. Never. No. [Laughs]
RN: When was the last time you guys roasted someone for something they wore?
DW: Chris Paul recently, when he was out with his thumb injury, he had wore this, it was really like this diarrhea brown—not diarrhea green—diarrhea brown turtleneck with the jacket. Oh man, I went right to the group chat with the eye emoji like “What the?” But they do the same to me. So we definitely have some fun with each other on things like that.
RN: You posted an Instagram about a moment you shared with your son at his school play. You said it meant a lot to him, but what did it mean for you?
DW: It might be something so small, because for a lot of parents it’s a routine thing, but for me, the way we travel and all the things we got going on, just to see when I first walked in. As soon as I stepped in—[pointing to his head] this piece of my hair walked in—my son knew I was there. It was like he was waiting on me to get there. He was looking at me the whole time so excited. And then to watch him do what he loves to do. He went up there and put on a show for everybody.
Afterwards, the way he ran and came to embrace me, it showed me how much it meant for me to be there for him. I spend a lot of time with my older boys playing basketball. When they want to go the gym with me, those are things I’m doing for work so I take them along. It’s a little different with my younger son. Being able to support him and his dramatics, it really hit me in my heart. Kids need that. Not just my kids, but all kids need someone to show up for them.
RN: Your younger son is always stealing the show on your Snapchat.
DW: Yeah, right? Definitely.
RN: Do you think your kids see you more as Dwyane Wade or as their dad? Do you notice that?
DW: I don’t notice it. They definitely see me as a dad. They don’t show me as much, but they definitely go out, like my younger son may brag about me to his friends, but then he’ll come home and pretend like he doesn’t even like basketball. My older son, he’s 15 now, so it’s a little different for him. But they definitely treat me like dad.
RN: What’s your favorite rap lyric mentioning Dwyane Wade?
DW: Jay-Z, when he said “If Jeezy’s paying LeBron, then I’m paying Dwyane Wade.” That wasn’t my first rap song that I was in, but that was mainstream.
RN: That’s, uh, about drugs.
DW: I know. Definitely. I like the wordplay. But another one that I have to give homage to, it never became like a huge song like that, but it was Kanye West.
RN: “The Glory!”
DW: “In two years Dwayne Wayne became Dwyane Wade.” That’s a good one.
RN: That’s a very underrated song.
DW: Very underrated, man.