Sorting through photos of Andre Drummond in bandanas, beanie caps, logo tees, and layered chains, I found myself on a quest to figure out what the Detroit Pistons center’s sartorial sensibility communicates to the world. In a sense, my perception would measure the success of the team helping to shape his image — primarily New York City-based fashion consultant and stylist Browne Andrews, and Jason “Tailz” Torres, Drummond’s fashion-savvy best friend who helps the 25-year-old manage his social media accounts. This was an unsolicited litmus test, but an experiment nevertheless.
Full disclosure: I have never met Drummond. A medical emergency on my end forced us to reschedule the interview that was slated to take place at a photo studio in Midtown Detroit in late March. An aggressive schedule packed with weekly travel and hours-long practices in the weeks that followed amid the team’s big playoff push, made rescheduling an in-person chat impossible. That meant, we had to catch up over a call between his away games. All of this is to say that, like many reading this, prior to the call, my knowledge of Drummond’s style was informed by photos and televised interviews.
I thought I’d use this as an opportunity to test a theory on image in our age of highly manufactured perception. In a general sense, social media profiles are littered with staged photos and carefully crafted captions. What once was your “personality” has been redefined as your “brand.” For Drummond, being a public figure means the stakes are even higher. His social media photos which collectively reach more than 1.2 million people, have the potential to be seen by millions. And if the old adage rings true, that a picture is worth a thousand words, the easiest way to say something through an image is through fashion.
“I would say you’re unique, not in that you’ll try crazy outfits, but in that you’re not one to jump on the trend train,” I tell Drummond when we speak. Mere hours before we chatted, the Pistons had suffered a seven-point loss to the Golden State Warriors. Drummond led the team in rebounds and this season, he leads the NBA in rebounds overall. “My sense is that you’re true to who you are, what you like, and what you’re comfortable in. Sometimes that means you’ll throw on a pair of glittery Timberlands, other times that might translate to lounging in a simple sweat suit or a casual pair of Jordans.” Like I’d won some fantasy basketball bracket, I reveled in his approval of my assessment. “That’s definitely accurate,” he says.
“My style is unique. I kind of ride my own wave.” This is a sentiment that Andrews, can attest to. “Andre has always been a risk-taker,” he says. “He was always going against the norm for an athlete let alone a man who’s 6-feet-10 inches.” Bold colors, wild prints, bandanas — I’ve always appreciated that he’s really done whatever he wanted to try.”
I’m signed by Jordan Brands so every month, I’ll get 20-30 pairs of sneakers. You can do the math — every month over the past four years … my whole house is full of Jordans. I’ll sign any pair except the 3s, 12s, 13s, 1s, and 4s. ([Wearing a size 18,] some can look bulky but those are flattering on my feet.) Every other shoe is free game. A couple people in Detroit wear my size so I bring them to the house and let them take whatever they want.”
— Andre Drummond
Drummond traces his contrarian roots back to his teenage years. “My style growing up was very backwards.” He says when baggy clothes were in style, he was drawn to more fitted styles — and vice-versa. “When tighter clothes started coming in, I started wearing baggier clothes.” Standing at nearly 7 feet and wearing a size-18 shoe, many would assume his large stature could be limiting when it came to the style department. But, for Drummond, his size was never a concern. “I’m not afraid to try new things,” he says. “If I see something that’s in fashion-wise, I’ll try it out for a couple weeks to see if I like it. My height doesn’t really bother me.”
A Connecticut native, Drummond was raised in a household with his mother, Christine, and younger sister, Ariana. Coming from humble beginnings, his financial status didn’t allow for expensive shopping trips. “When I was growing up, I couldn’t really afford to buy cool shoes. Whatever I could put on my feet I was cool with.” Still, he had fun with fashion. “My personality matches my style. I’m a very upbeat person and I enjoy being around people, so the clothes I wear have an inviting feel.” Drummond’s Jamaican heritage spills into his upbeat style, often in the form of bold colors and vibrant prints. “I wear a lot of bright colors in the summertime to go with the island feel. I’ll wear pink shorts, yellow shorts, and bright, neon green shirts and stuff like that.”
Since the 2012 NBA draft in which Drummond was the ninth pick by the Pistons, he has earned titles such as 2012-2013 All-Rookie and 2015-2016 All-NBA. In 2016, the now two-time All Star, and two-time TRB Champ re-signed with the Pistons on a five-year contract, earning an annual average salary of more than $25 million. As his financial means grew, Drummond started to recognize the value in investing in his personal style. “Later on in life, I got to be more fashion-forward and knew what was cool.”
In 2017, Drummond connected with Andrews whose clientele includes other celebrity athletes such as Lakers center Tyson Chandler and Brooklyn Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell. “When you play professional sports, you don’t really have the time or the access or the resources to communicate your style the best way,” Andrews says. “When we connected, we wanted to find a way to communicate something that was clean, something that was a little bit more refined as he was no longer a rookie. Initially, his overall style was youthful rock ‘n’ roll with a sporty undertone, now it’s more of an elevated version of that.”
“I wear a lot of bright colors in the summertime to go with the island feel. I’ll wear pink shorts, yellow shorts, and bright, neon green shirts … Bright orange speaks to my heritage being Jamaican. A bright, relaxed, feel-good shirt brings the best out of me.”
— Andre Drummond
Much of Andrews’ duties when it comes to developing Drummond’s style is making sure his life and interests are reflected in his aesthetic. One area in particular that Drummond has been exploring: Music. Last year, the basketball player released FYI, his first rap EP under the rap name, Drummxnd. To reflect that, Andrews has been introducing sartorial elements that reflect Drummond’s musically inclined side like draping him in an edgy moto jacket or layering delicate chains around his neck. “I was able to understand what he wanted to say as an athlete, as a man, but also how he wanted to communicate as a musician.”
Andrews says today’s musicians, particularly in the hip-hop community, draw heavily from rock legend Jimi Hendrix. “I ask, how can I support Andre in having that rock star story, but have it be a little bit more youthful, and playful? That’s the thing about Andre’s style, it always has to have a little playfulness.” Drummond looks to established individuals in the hip-hop industry for style inspiration, with two artists in particular that he has eyes on. “ASAP Rocky has more of a European style where he dresses in more fitted clothes and suits,” Drummond says. “Chris Brown has a more urban and street wear style, which I really enjoy.”
True to his social-savvy nature, much of Drummond’s knowledge of fashion brands comes by way of social media. Trendy labels such as Amiri, Off-White, and Louis Vuitton are among his favorite.
If tropical colors and relaxed fits are nods to his island past and layered chains offer glimmers of his rap future, pairs of Cartier Buffs and Bad Boys caps are indicative of Drummond’s present — a bold embrace of the city he’s called home for the past seven years. To this he says, “I just love the community out in Detroit. It’s hard not to embrace the culture.”
Grooming by Ken Mason. Makeup by Shannon Leigh. Photo assistance by Johnnie Carpenter, Jr. Special thanks to Eightfold Studio.
Pro Styling Tip No. 1: Have Fun With Fashion.
To remain true to his fun-loving personality, every outfit that Browne Andrews styles for Drummond has an air of whimsy. “How can we communicate Andre being a bigger-than-life personality and bridge that with his rock star musical talents and performance abilities, but also bring that playfulness?” Andrews asks. Logo tees scribbled with cheeky terms and phrases add humorous touches to his otherwise masculine, edgy ensembles.
Pro Styling Tip No. 2: Bring Your A-Game.
As a stylist to elite athletes, Andrews holds his clients’ style to the same high standard as their game-time performance. “I have to find ways to present my clients in such a way that they can continue the momentum that they have on the court,” he says. “When they get off the court, they should be just as dynamic.”
Pro Styling Tip No. 3: Always Look On the Bright Side
Andrews draws inspiration from the locales that have influenced Drummond’s life. “Andre really loves to travel,” he says adding that Drummond spends most of his off seasons in Miami and enjoys spending time in the Caribbean whenever possible. “I like to work ethnic colors and patterns into his story. I’m also really into communicating art through fashion.” Andrews recommends opting for brands by designers who infuse delicate fabrics with bold colorways and art shapes. Other orange hues, Andrews says, pair well with the Detroit Tigers orange.