Kelly Oubre Jr. desires to stay genuine as he makes his first strides within the style business.
The Charlotte Hornets star will launch his first official assortment for his model Dope Soul this fall, full with a pop-up set up throughout New York Fashion Week. Oubre Jr. first considered the concept for creating the model in 2018, shortly after his grandmother handed away — he wished to channel his power and emotion into one thing artistic.
“Dope Soul came about as me trying to create a community so that people can feel comfortable and unjudged and loved no matter what they do, whatever they decide to do in life,” Oubre Jr. advised WWD.
He settled on the identify “Dope Soul” as a result of a soul is one thing that belongs to each being, and Oubre Jr. was nonetheless in deep search of his on the time, whereas dope is an ode to everybody who is taken into account as “dope,” together with his grandmother, his household and associates.
“If you’re a dope individual and you’re trying to reach your soul’s full potential unapologetically, then you’re a dope soul,” he mentioned.
Oubre Jr. has discovered inspiration in manufacturers reminiscent of Chrome Hearts, highlighting authenticity and timelessness in his items, whereas additionally acknowledging that style in itself can also be artwork.
“This is an art industry. It’s not just clothing, it’s not just trends and culture,” he mentioned. “This is a wider thing. It’s bigger than all of us. I just want to follow in the footsteps of the greats before me and just take a piece out of everybody’s book.”
Oubre Jr. initially launched a smaller assortment final May known as “Quarantine and Chill,” which was extra “quarantine-type fits,” reminiscent of sweatpants, sweatshirts and T-shirts. This upcoming fall 2021 launch will mark his first official assortment, which might be on show on the Dope Soul pop-up retailer in Tribeca in New York City, marking his first time internet hosting an occasion in the course of the metropolis’s coveted style week.
The capsule, known as “Baptized by Fire,” displays himself as a person “organically” and the experiences he’s needed to endure to be the place he’s in the present day.
“The definition of baptized by fire is someone who learns things the hard way, who doesn’t necessarily get anything handed to them nor anything easy,” Oubre Jr. mentioned. “They have to go through a lot of strife and trials and tribulations in order to learn and grow, and that’s been me my whole life, right? I really want to just depict all the stages of my life throughout these pieces that’ll show the growth and the evolution of not only just Dope Soul, but of who I am as well.”
Taking inspiration from the format of an artwork gallery, Oubre Jr. might be showcasing items of his newest assortment in a minimalistic method, like how work can be displayed in a gallery. The retailer might be open for less than at some point on Sept. 10, the place prospects can go to and buy items from Dope Soul’s newest assortment.
“I want to display the garments, have vibrant lights, have a lot of space to breathe and just to appreciate the art that’s hanging there,” he mentioned. “I really just want people to go in there and just feel free to look at the art.”
His pop-up set up, hosted within the Patron of the New retailer, featured dim, purple LED lights as items of his assortment cling individually on hangers. A emblem of a melted cranium with a coronary heart in the midst of its head is emblazoned on the partitions and decor, in addition to “Dope$oul” on different objects reminiscent of a basketball backboard and hats.
Catchphrases like “The soul never dies,” “Baptized by fire” and “Forgetfulness is true death. Remembrance of it is rebirth” are additionally seen on the partitions or pillars.
When he’s not designing or partaking in style occasions, Oubre Jr. performs within the NBA for the Charlotte Hornets, whom he signed with final month. He beforehand performed for the Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors.
Oubre Jr. acknowledges that whereas he’s been very hands-on with the method of Dope Soul from begin to end, by default he can’t put in “100 percent” as a consequence of the truth that being an NBA participant takes up most of his time within the yr. But he tries to make up for misplaced time now within the low season, earlier than the 2021-2022 season kicks off in October.
Like most basketball gamers, Oubre Jr. has all the time had an affinity to style, attending style week yearly till the pandemic hit final yr. He compares the power in New York, or any metropolis that hosts style weeks, to the sensation of the NBA playoffs “because you have all these people trying to show that they can dress.”
Though Dope Soul is simply getting began, Oubre Jr. hopes that his model will final lifetimes, and that his items are constantly being worn due to its timelessness.
“I really want Dope Soul to never die so that we can just be around,” he mentioned. “I want my garments and the things that I create to be on people in 100 years. Like, ‘Look at this Dope Soul. It’s super vintage right now.’ I want it to be around forever.”
Dope Soul fall 2021 assortment might be out there for buy at its pop-up set up positioned on 151 Franklin Street on Sept. 10. The assortment will even be out there on-line every week or so after.
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