NEW YORK — Dwyane Wade might not be ready to retire, but he’s already plotting his next chapter.
In a presentation at the Bloomberg headquarters here Tuesday night, the 36-year-old Miami Heat shooting guard said he’s working to create a “lifestyle brand” that will capitalize on the fame he’s had on the court.
During an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek editor Joel Weber, Wade discussed his eclectic portfolio of businesses that include everything from wine and automobiles to luggage and socks.
“I want to build a lifestyle brand and all these things are a part of a lifestyle,” he said.
Perhaps his biggest project is with Stance, the sock brand he partnered with back in 2013 for a collection of hosiery.
“I’ve got this weird sock fetish, I guess,” he said.
The relationship has expanded, and he is now serving as chief executive officer of a more-affordable division of Stance, called Pkwy. Although the line already offers collections for the major sport leagues, the first Dwyane Wade collection will launch for fall.
“We’re going down to the cheaper price point, to the masses,” he told WWD. “But we’re trying to bring a lot of the same ideas from a design standpoint and [create] coolness at the lower tier of socks. It’s something I’m excited about. It’s something I wanted to do in the beginning before my partnership with Stance and I’m glad we’re finally getting a chance to do it. Pkwy, the brand is already out, but my collection and my imprint comes out in the fall.”
Admitting that he has always been a sock fan, Wade said that before meeting the Stance team, he’d entertained launching his own brand. “I wanted to start my own sock company, and I was sure my team was rolling their eyes behind my head,” he said. Instead, they suggested he partner with Stance, which was “looking for a face of the brand. We just clicked, and it worked, and we’ve had some good success.”
In addition to Pkwy, Wade is also partnering with luggage brand Away for a two-part, limited-edition collection of aluminum suitcases that will launch on June 26.
Like socks, this is another category that Wade has developed an affinity for.
“It’s one of those things I’ve always wanted to do, I have no idea why,” he said. “I definitely travel for a living so when I met Away, I just liked what they’re doing.”
Over the years, Wade has collaborated with a couple of brands on apparel and accessories, including Dsquared2 and Tie Bar, but there’s nothing coming down the pike immediately, he said.
Wearing head to toe Gucci — “I’m doing a little Gucci vibe right now” — he said his focus instead is on his footwear collaboration with Chinese brand, Li Ning. He first met the former Olympic gymnast in 2012 and shortly after, made the decision to leave Nike and work with Li Ning instead to create a sneaker brand.
The brand has developed a following in Asia and Wade said he will be working to further build that business. “They’re taking it to where it’s not just athletic, but premium, and I’m really involved in that.”
Although he has 10 stores in Asia and “the business is going great,” it doesn’t yet have much of a presence in the U.S. — but that could change. “It’s been a conversation,” he said. “We’ll see where that goes.”
Over the years, Wade has become known for more than just his accessories. Although he pooh-poohed the idea that he was a style icon, he did concede that his wardrobe has markedly improved over the years.
“I have no idea how that happened. I mean when you see old pictures — I used to dress terrible,” he said. “I think for me where it changed is when I stopped really caring about what people said I can’t do or what I should do and just started trying things.”