Good news: Jordan Clarkson, the jazz guardian of Utah, officially wore the first massive NBA fit of 2021 – the kind that can spark trends and possibly even revolutions. On Tuesday night, he left the Barclays Center, where his team competed against the Brooklyn Nets. It wore a black Sacai bomber jacket, yellow and black Nike dunks (with complementary socks), and a plaid kilt from Fear of God.
In the locker room after the game, an interviewer asked Clarkson, “What’s wrong with the kilt?” while the cameraman panned the shiny, checkered copy in the middle of the calf with oversized cords and hand pockets up and down. Clarkson replied with impressive accuracy, “It’s prey, baby!”
In the pantheon of style superstars, the NBA, Clarkson is one of the league’s biggest fashion risk takers. At the end of 2019, he was wearing a tiny Chanel bag as a necklace; In December, he wore a robe tracksuit from Camp High, the wavy loungewear brand loved by his eccentric John Mayer.
But it is the first time that he or a player wears a kilt after the game, as we can best judge – which also, let’s face it, is a skirt! Let’s call a spade a spade! But the garment has been seeping away for a year on the bleeding edges where fashion and professional sport meet. Thom Browne has a handful of off duty athletes dressed in his pleated skirts – Odell Beckham Jr. wore one to the Met Gala, and Serge Ibaka of the Clippers attended Browne’s 2020 Spring Show in a seersucker skirt suit. But it was on the runway that is the NBA arena tunnel that we first saw this blessed, free flowing garment. We have come a long way since Kanye West’s leather kilt, designed by Riccardo Tisci, raised eyebrows around the world in 2012.
The relaxed style of the garment certainly makes it a stylish companion for our troubled times. But it is also about the avant-garde of fashion moving more and more towards the center. Skirts and dresses appeared regularly on the catwalks of the men of Jean-Paul Gaultier, Martin Margiela and Raf Simons in the 80s and 90s. They are now one of Thom Browne’s best-selling products and were worn over jeans in Celine’s TikTok spring 2021 collection last summer. Jeremy O. Harris’ latest capsule collection for Ssense also featured a modest plaid skirt. Like Clarkson’s model model, these skirts have a sporty, almost warlike sensuality that feels like a breeze in these times of gender-specific fashion. Could this be the great fit that brings a thousand kilts to market?