A GLAM SLAM TALKS PRO ATHLETES, CUSTOM CLOTHING & PERSONAL STYLE WITH WARAIRE BOSWELL
Dressing professional athletes is a tall order. These days many sports pros choose the made-to-measure route, as custom creations allow them to reveal elements of their personality through their fashion choices. At 6’7, designer Waraire Boswell has dealt with the difficulties of finding clothing to suit his larger frame. His foray into the fashion world was built out of his own need for access to garments that would flatter his physique. Since he began designing in 2002, his “WB Custom” business has blossomed. The LA-based designer’s work has been featured in top fashion magazines and his accolades include being named the 2005 Mercedes-Benz Classic Designer of the Year.
With an aesthetic marked by high quality, functionality and great attention to detail in terms of design and customer service, Waraire Boswell has attracted a wide range of celebrity clientele, from professional athletes to Hollywood stars. He routinely dresses sportsman like LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Tyson Chandler and Matt Kemp outside the game, be it for awards shows, media appearances, post-game press conferences or magazine covers. His bespoke suits range from flashy to conservative, with colored linings, funky fabrics, intricate details, and a great fit. Items are both personalized and perfectly tailored to the wearer, showing off players’ athletic frames and their unique sense of style.
Boswell will be launching a ready-to-wear collection this Fall. The line will be for individuals of regular height and include a spectrum of items. For more information on Waraire Boswell and his custom designs, visit www.waraireboswell.com.
A Glam Slam caught up with Waraire to discuss his business, challenges in dressing pro athletes, what sets him apart from other designers, and the most fashionable sports stars. Check it out:
How long have you been designing?
Began designing in 2002. Prior to launching the brand I worked at UTA, William Morris and Amen Ra Films. The moment I gained professional clarity, I focused on the things I needed. Being 6’7 I always had a difficult time finding quality and well fitting clothing. Being resourceful I set out and created my own goods.
How did you begin the process of working with pro athletes?
Early on, attending a spectrum of events you meet a spectrum of individuals. The commonality between an athlete and I is linear which made the transition in dealing with their fits easy. As my background also encompasses entertainment, I have the ability to outfit athletes, agents, attorneys and entertainers.
Your NBA clientele includes players like LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Tyson Chandler. What’s the biggest challenge in designing for guys that size?
Believe it or not, I have very few challenges in dressing gentlemen of specific builds. The commonality of custom is based on a set of specific measurements and style. If one is a craftsman, student and lover of fine items, the process is harmonious.
What is the biggest fashion mistake that athletes make?
Some do not overstand the importance of appearance. What works for one person, will not work for all. Realize what looks good on you and perfect it. When one presents themselves properly, the onus of furthering a conversation or a potential business opportunity is based on the person’s mind power. Being well groomed grants access, gets you in the room.
Tyson Chandler’s blue tuxedo from the 2012 Met Ball was one of my favorite looks and it landed him on Vogue’s best-dressed list. Can you share some of the looks that are most memorable to you?
(Tyson Chandler, Matt Kemp & LeBron James in Waraire Boswell. To check out additional looks, visit here)
Athletes nowadays are accustomed to wearing one-of-a-kind outfits and in general, take a greater interest in fashion. Do they play an active role in helping to design their own garments, choose fabrics etc.?
Most definitely, the shift is now athletes want everyday pieces, not “one off” outfits. The beauty in everyday pieces is they are fantastic for all round everyday use.
Who is the most stylish athlete (current or former) you’ve ever seen?
Tyson Chandler, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, D’Wayne Wade, Matt Kemp, vintage Walt Frazier and David Beckham. They are all great for different reasons.
In addition to sports pros, you’re a go-to designer for a range of Hollywood stars. What’s the greatest difference in dressing athletes and those celebrities?
None. The client I admire is one who overstands my skill set and allows me to enhance their natural attributes. As a professional it is important to get the lay of the land on where the clients wants to go and build on that base.
How would you describe your personal style?
A spectrum of style and culture. Less is always more, even in wearing colors that grab attention. Master chameleon, able to adapt in any environment.
Is there a sportsman or celebrity that you’d like to dress, that you have yet to work with?
None yet. My business is organic. Clients I encounter are specifically for me.
What sets you apart from other designers?
My ability to dress 10 men in the exact same outfit and they all be equally different and elegant is my gift. The details are the foundation of my operation. Attention to fit and the little things make a world of difference.
What is your greatest fashion weakness? Shoes, ties, etc?
White shirts!!!! One can never have to many.
What would you say are the top 3 items every guy should have in his closet?
Suits: Black, Grey and Navy.
Shoes: Selections that can be worn for business and casual.
Shirts & Tees: White basic.