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Suits & Sneakers


The tunnel is dark except for the minor flashes from test shots of media and the incoherent small talk from press members to security. They wait in anticipation for the game day arrival of Willie Cauley Stein. Who, you might be asking yourself? The seven foot 240 pound center for the Sacramento Kings may come to mind. My family would best know him as a former Kentucky Wildcat. HIs 8 rebounds a game and 12 point scoring percentage may be less than impressive for the average NBA fan but to me I can only hope the media is waiting to capture his latest “drip.” Or for non millennials his Game Day Attire, with a level of swag that is more impressive than his game performance. Ultimately, I am waiting for his outfit of the day post on Instagram.

To me I know him as a designer, an artist, someone who holds the key to fashion expression, an entrepreneur and idealist. In December, Willie Cauley-Stein worked with artist Treble T to customize a pair of Gucci Slides and spoke about presentation and personalization. What stuck out to me most, was what he said about fashion as an art form and way of representation of one’s self. It made me realize the compromise of social norms when it comes to this cross exterior of sport and fashion and how in 2019 that has began to be mirrored from business to leisure. It is the theory I have self proclaimed as the "Suits and Sneakers Movement."

10 years ago John Doe wouldn’t be caught dead wearing his Air Force 1’s with a suit jacket and pressed slacks to a meeting but fast forward and you see Under Armor coming out with slogans such as “Sports Will Change the World” or Gap coming out with an entire line of athleisure with the campaign “How Athleisure Keeps Changing the Game.” Sports has infiltrated the office and I don’t think there is a foul on this play.

We are in an era of new found freedom, a time where you are encouraged to speak up speak out and be yourself. You are told to embrace who you are and don’t fear what others will think. The beautiful thing is this is beginning to transition into what was previously known as Business Casual or Office Attire. This is why guys like Willie Cauley-Stein have made it okay for me to walk in the office at 7:00 A.M. on Monday wearing cut off Top Shop Slacks, a blouse and tan Air Force 1’s and no one takes a second look.

The time in which we are in is special. Fashion is truly a form of expression. Just because you buy something expensive doesn’t mean you can be “swaggy” you have to earn that title. Fashion lies within the beholder or presenter. Your swag comes from how you present it, the energy you give to it and the attitude you carry behind it. In a way, it is not about the sneakers at all it is about putting it all together and making the most out of the items, in a way that someone who sees the look can best understand and get to know you. It is an invitation into who you are as a person.

The way I represent myself on a day to day basis is different than most. I strive to look at things from a unique angle, to pave my own way and create my own path that is tailored just for me and no one else. I believe my fashion resembles that. I have an opportunity to do things differently a way no one else ever has and I believe everyone everyday has that same opportunity especially today in 2019.

Wear your sneakers with your suits or wear your sandals with your jeans or wear whatever makes you YOU and don’t be afraid of what other people think because at the end of the day we don’t want to be like everyone else anyways right? We want to be different. We want to express our most inner selves. We want to be accepted but only if we are accepted for who we truly are. Let your style speak for yourself and as a member of the Gucci Gang I think Willie Cauley-Stein would say Express Yourself!