Dwyane Wade is back at it. A year after his first Versace eyewear campaign landed his face on billboards and took his work in the fashion industry to another level, the NBA hall-of-famer—he wore Versace to the induction ceremony, naturally—is once again stepping into the spotlight on behalf of the iconic Milanese fashion house.
"I didn't know what to expect the first time around," he says. "I know in sports how I do in a marketplace, but I didn't know in fashion." Clearly, he had nothing to worry about.
"All the feedback we got—men who came up to me throughout my walks of life, guys I've seen rocking the Versace shades and the conversations I had with them—it was all so dope and unexpected," he says. "I was just excited to be on billboards and have a campaign with Versace. I wasn't thinking about how it was going to change how men shopped or what they went out and bought."
With the second installment rolling out this week, Wade is even more excited. "I've got high expectations," he says. Because aside from the main images you're sure to see everywhere in the near future, this campaign also marks the debut of Versace Profiles, a project that delves into the personalities of stars like Wade. Asked to gather a number of items that represent himself, he chose his first NBA championship ring, a camera, and a photo of his daughter, Kaavia.
"I feel like this one really goes into a little bit more about me as the subject," he says. "It has more depth to it, so I think it's good."
I caught up with Wade while he was in New York to chat about the campaign, how his style and perspective have evolved now that he's 42, and more. Read on for a few highlights (edited for length and clarity) from our conversation.
On the campaign
It looks so different from the year before. I think this one gives a cooler—dare I say sexier?—kind of feel to it than last year, which was a little studious. This one...you take a little bit off or I'm in cooler Versace clothes—stuff like that. I saw the images and I was just sold. I love the way they shot this campaign.
On his place in the fashion world
I'm 42 years old. I'm a retired athlete. It's supposed to be over for me. But I feel like I'm just getting started in so many areas in my life. Over the last ten-plus years, I've been a part of fashion. I've been at the shows. I've sat next to in Anna Wintour. But I haven't had the brand relationships that I'm able to have now. And so it's good now to be in this space and say, "Hey, you're not old. You're not through. You still could be hot. You still could be cool. Donatella Versace wants to put your face all around the world because our values are the same." There's other people who are talking about my values out there because I paint my nails or because I support my transgender daughter. But then you have a brand like Versace, it's like, "No, we love who you are and what you stand for."
On the haters
I don't give a lot of weight to it. In my 20s, a lot of weight would probably been put towards it—that's why God didn't make social media a thing when I was in my 20s. That's what I like to believe. That's what the big guy did for me. But at 42, I'm secure in who I am as a man, and I love taking care of myself from the inside out. If someone wants to have a conversation with me about it, let's have a convo. I don't care. This is what I do. I don't hide it. I don't do it for anybody else. I do it for myself. I like it. And so I really don't care about the reaction. It's cool to talk about, but it isn't going to change what I do. I'm going to go back to nail salon and get the colors I want.
On growing into your personal style as you age
You become more comfortable. You become more aware. David Beckham ain't the only one that can do it. I'm looking at Beckham like, "Dang, okay, I can still go. I got more work to do." But this is actually the most comfortable I've ever felt in this space. And I feel like I'm with the right brand, hopefully continuing to build some stuff and maybe build off of the success that we're having in other areas. And so not only am I having fun with it, it's really becoming a big part of how I move through the world and how they see me, how they view me.
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