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Q&Amex: Fashion Designer Waraire Boswell on Dressing Ausar and Amen Thompson for the 2023 NBA Draft

June 22, 2023


Photo: Courtesy of American Express


Fashion designer Waraire Boswell has entered the 2023 NBA Draft night conversation. He has created WARAIRE suits for top NBA Draft selections and identical twins, Ausar and Amen Thompson, for the 2023 NBA Draft taking place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on June 22, 2023.

Recognized as a moment when NBA fashion is on full display, the Los Angeles-based designer worked with the Thompson brothers to create special, double-breasted suits that are reflective of their personal journeys. The suits have identical silhouettes but different color schemes – Ausar’s in navy and Amen’s in cream – acknowledging that while they have grown up as identical twins, they are showing up as individual people and players.

Photo: Courtesy of American Express

Boswell also teamed up with American Express, a long-time sponsor of the NBA, to create a limited-edition jacket – available only to American Express® Card Members1 on waraireamexnba.com  from 8 p.m. ET on June 22 through July 20, 2023.

Inspired by his experience designing for the Thompsons, Boswell created the Amex-exclusive jacket – dubbed “The Association Bomber” – available in cream and navy to pair with the color of the suits designed for Ausar and Amen, as well as Amex’s signature color scheme.

"On the back of the jacket it says `association,’” Boswell said. “That word can mean different things to different people. As it applies to Card Members, in this instance we’re all associated with one another for one passion – the NBA. For the Thompson twins, they are brothers and so their association is family. The association for the entire project is that both fans and players have an appreciation for each other – connected by an appreciation for the game.”

Photo: Courtesy of American Express

Boswell joined Amex for a Q&A to talk about how he worked with Ausar and Amen Thompson to design their NBA Draft night suits and the exclusive set of jackets for Card Members:

Tell us about your story – and how you went from a corporate career to designing for some of the best dressed players in the NBA.

WB: I worked at a couple of different agencies and ended up at a production company which had a studio deal. But when that deal ended, I took the severance package and started making stuff for myself. I started to go out and reconnect with a lot of agents and their clients – and that’s when my brand, WARAIRE, was born.

Soon after, I started to add a ready-to-wear line to the business and met a couple of NBA guys. And since I’m 6’7 – didn't stop growing until I was 29 – it was two tall people seeing each other and automatically understanding each other’s story, which is how I started doing stuff for players in the NBA.

Why do you think NBA fashion is so respected within the fashion community and sports culture?

WB: I think people attach a lot of their hopes and dreams to athletes because they represent the best of the best. NBA players embracing fashion have a platform that makes it possible for their style to be seen on a nightly basis during the season. And when they excel in the game, and they look good, it really makes for a positive explosion of creativity and encourages another level of fandom.

How did the players inspire the suits you created for them, and how does this connect to your approach to designing for individual players?

WB: Prior to designing for a lot of players, what I learned from doing this in the agency world is something that we all know, which is that we are all individuals, and everyone has their own approach to fashion. So now, when I’m sitting with an athlete or thinking about what I’m going to make, it’s important that I’m talking to them and understanding what they like. Because all those things – color, cut, silhouette – are important to making them feel their absolute best.

What was your vision for the jackets you designed for Amex Card Members?

WB: Something comfortable. On the back of the jacket, it says “association.” The association towards the entire project is that we as fans appreciate the game, the players play the game well and have fans that appreciate them – we are all collectively associated.

How is designing for the NBA a unique experience for a creator like yourself?

WB: It is a unique experience because a lot of the guys are just so tall and have a unique frame. And when you don’t necessarily fit on the traditional sizing scale offered at stores, you still want to be able to find clothes that look good and are comfortable.

I understand this experience and the problems that exist; and can be there as the creative vessel that’s going to help them show up as their best and get what they want.

1 American Express Card Members can purchase a jacket on https://www.waraireamexnba.com/ from 8:00pm ET on June 22nd, 2023, to 11:59pm ET on July 20th, 2023, or while supply lasts. Must pay with an eligible American Express® Card. American Express Prepaid Cards are not eligible. Jackets are limited in nature. American Express does not guarantee that every Card Member who wishes to purchase a jacket will have the opportunity to do so. Once supply of jackets is depleted, no more will become available. Limit one (1) jacket per Card Member. Jacket is provided “as is.” Void where prohibited. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges, unless otherwise specified. Fulfillment of this offer is the sole responsibility Waraire. Offer may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice.

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