To say Kristine Anigwe’s collegiate basketball profession was dominant could be an enormous understatement. The 2016 USBWA Freshman of the Yr for the California Golden Bears averaged a mind-boggling 23.1 PPG 16.4 RPG in her senior season. Whereas she repped the “Golden Bears” in school, her shade palette when styling Skylar Diggins-Smith this previous season has been extra about infusing impartial colours and uncooked feelings to Skylar’s stylish swagger.
Kristine Anigwe was drafted to the Connecticut Solar with the ninth choose within the 2019 WNBA draft, with the popularity for her tenacity on the glass as an elite rebounder on the courtroom and her calm, refined model off the courtroom. Her every day method to dressing contains:
- Broad-leg trousers which might be stylish sufficient for upscale occasions.
- Lengthy coats that remind her of London.
- Kind-fitting tops that maintain their form towards the take a look at of time.
These items, in addition to her favourite shade of inexperienced, are the main target of her first assortment from KA Originals, which Anigwe launched in March. Whereas gamers like Skylar Diggins-Smith, Arike Ogunbowale, Azurá Stevens, and Diamond DeShields have worn her model in tunnel walks, Anigwe has solidified her model affect on the league by means of styling and creating customized outfits for All-Star Weekend.
Anigwe’s trend sense additionally applies to how she maneuvers the style trade as a younger enterprise proprietor and creates eye-catching outfits for Diggins-Smith. “I really feel superb after I put on a bomb trench coat,” says Anigwe, “so I simply need everybody to really feel like how I really feel.” She’s extra interested by making garments than being seen in them, and trend is her key to navigating the world. Earlier this season, Anigwe balanced her time between taking part in for the Phoenix Mercury, styling herself and her purchasers, and dealing with all the things from attire design to photoshoots for KA Originals.
Though Anigwe was waived by the Mercury in June, her presence is felt in her purchasers’ appears to be like and at All-Star Weekend when she dressed Ogunbowale and Diggins-Smith in customized KA Originals items. It’s a formidable feat to model two gamers for the Orange Carpet, but it surely aligns with the elevated appears to be like Anigwe naturally wears. Whereas athletes usually gravitate in the direction of informal clothes, Anigwe says her tailor-made trousers are as simple to put on as sweats. “That’s not dressing up in any respect, however for different individuals, that’s rather a lot, and I’m studying that as I work,” explains the rising stylist.
Styling is a means for Anigwe to remain linked to the WNBA and a chance for her to construct a legacy stuffed with stylish athlete model. She’s distinctive for combining her participant’s perspective together with her artistic work. This all-new stylist profile characteristic explores her ongoing connection to the league and the brand new audiences she hopes to achieve with KA Originals.
Kirsten Chen: Why did you resolve to begin styling?
Kristine Anigwe: I actually do it for enjoyable. It’s sort of how I communicate– I discuss much more when it’s about trend than about basketball. I don’t actually discuss that a lot. I exploit trend as my voice outdoors of my job. I’m all about going towards what the norm of society is. I at all times need individuals to really feel liberated.
KC: What’s a standard false impression that individuals have about model within the WNBA?
KA: I really feel like now we have to be in a field; we solely can put on sure issues. [Players] go outdoors of the field, and I really feel like persons are confused. However trend is meant to be complicated. You’re presupposed to attempt new issues, begin developments and see if different individuals observe. They don’t give us sufficient room to develop with trend. I’m not [trying to look] like something for anyone however myself– I’m seeing what I like, what I don’t like, after which I’m transferring on. It’s simply an outfit. I’m not solely dressing up for the sport. I’m dressing up for myself.
KC: What evokes your elevated method to styling athletes?
KA: Within the NBA, everybody’s so streetwear. Why not make it extra intimate? Why not make it extra elegant? Why not clear it up a bit? Let’s herald freaking fits. Let’s convey in additional. Within the W, you don’t actually see a variety of European model. It’s extra streetwear. I’m a bit of streetwear, however a variety of Europe. I used to be born in London. I attempt to take from these high-quality structured items. I’m making an attempt to maneuver away from cotton and stuff that’s at all times resurfacing. I’m making an attempt to get into extra Lycra or stretchier materials, silk put on, and stuff like that.
KC: Inform me about your course of for styling a consumer.
KA: I ask questions, like how they view themselves on the planet and what’s trend to them– I’ll have them clarify it to me. Then, I get their pores and skin tone, and I do all the colour matching. As soon as I do know the colours, I make three totally different PDF recordsdata for his or her physique sort. Then, they have a look at it. They’re like, ‘Kris, I don’t like that.’ I’m like, ‘Let’s simply maintain some stuff that’s dangerous, stuff that individuals don’t put on.’ I do dangerous stuff. I’ll see a film, and I’m like, ‘That’s so cool. That should come into actual life.’
I’ve been working with individuals, determining what they like, how they view themselves, how I view them, after which coming collectively, constructing one thing, exhibiting them why I exploit colours that I exploit. Like, the that means of the colour, ‘How did they really feel once they wore that? Did you must change? Had been you uncomfortable?’ We work off that. No matter they’re comfy in, I attempt to get extra stuff with that.
KC: You stand out together with your styling work for Skylar Diggins-Smith. It’s so totally different from what individuals would possibly count on from a participant.
KA: When she got here to me, I used to be like, ‘What? Me?’ and she or he was like, ‘Woman, sure. I like the way you gown. I like the way you symbolize your self.’ When she received a variety of consideration, we began working extra carefully. Now, we work collectively day-after-day. With Skylar, she’s consumer, like she trusts my imaginative and prescient. She actually respects me. And we’re doing one thing totally different.
I normally work with those who perceive how I model. Me and Sky have this rule the place she has to present 15% to twenty% of her enter. I’ll do the remainder. With Sky, we’ve been doing a variety of black, and she or he’s like, ‘Okay, some shade, Kris.’ I’m like, ‘Inexperienced,’ as a result of she has actually fairly olive pores and skin. That’s actually good for her undertones. I match [colors] with those who have underlying stuff. For me, I’ve anxiousness, so I work with solely impartial colours.
KC: I like the deeper meanings behind your impartial shade palettes.
KA: I used to be raised like this; shade helped me all through my life. That is really how I see the world. That’s why I take my job off the courtroom severely as a result of it helps me analyze life. I’ve been coping with anxiousness my entire life. [Fashion] was an outlet for me, like having a pastime that helped me settle down. I used to be like, ‘Okay, I’m gonna do it. I’m not gonna maintain doubting myself.’ And having KA Originals has helped me have the boldness to try this.
KC: When did you resolve to begin constructing your model, KA Originals?
KA: Final summer season, after I received away from LA, I used to be like, ‘That is the time I’m going to begin.’ I already had connections inside the trend trade as a result of I used to be touring in London earlier than the COVID occurred. I knew what sort of designer I wished to be. It’s been a rising course of. Individuals didn’t know I used to be into trend or that I made garments. I began doing picture shoots with my teammates abroad in Turkey, and that went loopy after I launched. I did a photoshoot with my workforce right here. Now, I’m going with the stream, taking each alternative and having enjoyable taking part in basketball with my associates and styling them. It’s actually cool.
KC: Do you suppose there are kinds of garments or kinds that assist individuals really feel assured?
KA: Yeah. The inexperienced go well with and the black go well with. Once I made the black go well with, I wished to really feel tremendous highly effective. I wished to really feel daring. I need individuals to be like, ‘Oh my God, what’s she carrying?’ However I additionally wished to be comfy. My mother wore fits when she was going to work, and I’m like, ‘I need to appear like my mother after I put on a go well with, like tremendous cool, smooth, highly effective.’ I made a go well with that matches my physique sort and added the pocket within the entrance. It’s not an actual pocket. It has a variety of totally different components of how I grew up. That’s probably the most highly effective piece in my capsule proper now.
KC: Do you’ve got any private mantras that remind you to be assured?
KA: I’ve been a lot taller than everyone my entire life. No matter I used to be carrying, individuals would stare at me. If I put on something, persons are going to say one thing. So I’m like, ‘What’s the issue?’ I ought to put on no matter I need. If I need to put on a gown that’s all the way down to my ankles in an outsized coat, I’m going to put on it. Everybody’s going to stare at you regardless. You would possibly as properly be a goddess and really feel such as you’re particular, worthy, and highly effective. And the times are too freaking quick. Life is simply too quick.
KC: The season is brief. There’s solely so many appears to be like!
KA: There’s solely so many appears to be like, so many picture ops, even abroad. I simply need to dwell my life totally day-after-day.
KC: You put on many various hats at KA Originals– overseeing ideas for shoots and artistic route, styling, and designing attire. What’s your favourite half in the entire course of?
KA: Designing is my favourite half. I can’t wait to design; I find it irresistible. I’ve an idea for every assortment, so all of it performs into one lens. My thoughts is at all times going. Ideas stream naturally. I can’t do issues that don’t imply one thing to me. That’s why I’ve to put on so many hats till I determine issues out or inform somebody all the things in my head, which isn’t going to occur. I’ve to direct the picture shoots as a result of individuals haven’t labored with [models] which might be 6′ 4″ earlier than, and I’m 6′ 4″, so I understand how to pose, model, all that stuff.
KC: Are you able to inform us about your workforce behind KA originals? Is there anybody you need to shout out?
KA: I’m not going to say all of the names which might be concerned, however my mother, she’s dope. She helps me with all the things. She’s identified me my entire life, so she is aware of how my mind works. With out my household, interval, I wouldn’t have this. And my social media workforce, they’re so good. My assistant is nice. My entire workforce is superb. I can’t thank them sufficient for serving to me get to love this level. Everybody that’s part of my workforce has poured a lot into this challenge. Now, we’re seeing the success of all of our arduous work, and we’re so completely happy and excited.
KC: Your model remains to be in its early levels, however do you’ve got any targets that you just’d wish to share?
KA: Yeah. I’m crossing my fingers. Proper now, a few of the works are going worldwide. So I’m enthusiastic about that. That’s going to assist my household too as a result of my household is all all over the world. I need them to have the ability to put on and purchase the items.
KC: Is there anything you wished so as to add to this interview or say?
KA: Thanking my former teammates and everybody that I’ve ever labored with. Like DB, Tiffany, Jasmine Thomas, the individuals right here that did my picture shoot, Sky, Diamond, Meg, Sam, and each organizations that enable me to precise myself, be myself, and develop.
WNBA reporter Kirsten Chen writes a way of life & trend column on WNBA.com all through the season and will be reached on Twitter by means of @hotgothwriter. The views on this web page don’t essentially replicate the views of the WNBA or its golf equipment.