Who is Kevin Love?
Many of us know him as an All-Star power forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who helped deliver the Land its first major championship in 52 years back in 2016. But as Love has proved over the course of his 11-year NBA career, he’s much more than a baller. At 30, he takes pride in being a wine connoisseur, pop-culture junkie, hip-hop head, and social activist, who led important discussions surrounding mental health and depression in the NBA, and beyond. But that’s not all there is to the Lake Oswego, Oregon native.
Kevin Love recently made his debut as a clothing designer, launching his first-ever men’s line with long-standing partner Banana Republic. The exclusive collab, deemed BR/K.LOVE-18, mixes classic and modern looks—including varsity, old-school Hollywood, military-inspired, and sporty casual. The leather jackets, striped sweaters, and cargo pants all emphasize comfort and versatility, which is crucial for someone like K-Love who’s always traveling and wants to look good doing it.
“From the moment Banana Republic and I decided to embark on this collection, I wanted to be intimately involved in all aspects,” Love says. “First I compiled an inspiration book with my stylist, then worked closely with the Banana Republic team to explore raw materials, construction, styling, textures, and fabrics for the collection. I am so happy with how everything came together.”
To celebrate the new collab, we spoke with Love about the experience of designing his own line and solidifying his status as a true, modern-day Renaissance man.
Kevin Loves Creating a Legacy
An athlete much of his life, Love has a special affinity for vintage fashion pieces that call back to his collegiate roots. So when his four-year partnership with Banana Republic evolved into a full collection that the NBA All-Star would personally design and collaborate on, it was only right that the pieces Love created would reflect that aesthetic.
“I’m captivated by everything collegiate—the history and the timelessness,” he says. “I was excited to put my spin on that legacy.”
Love’s creative vision came to life in the form of several statement pieces in an array of premium materials, ranging from an Air Spun Stripe Crew-Neck Sweater to an Italian Melton Wool Blend Double-Breasted Topcoat and an Italian Wool Blend Varsity Jacket with Leather Sleeves. “The varsity jacket is probably one of my favorite pieces in the collection,” Love beams. “It’s a wardrobe staple in my opinion. Also, we included details in a lot of the knits that gave certain styles a little bit of that classic varsity touch, like the two stripes on the varsity sweater. I love it in all colors, especially the one that’s a throwback to the UCLA colors.”
It’s these subtle nods to Love’s rich history that best reflect his meticulous approach to creating BR/K.Love-18.
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Kevin Loves Making a Fashion Statement
Now more than ever, the worlds of fashion and basketball are intertwined. Turn on any given NBA game or check social media, and you’ll see footage of players entering arenas like it’s a runway, flexing their freshest fits. This season, Love’s got an updated and classic wardrobe to choose from that will give him a leg up on other players, because his suits will be self-designed.
“Old Hollywood style is my favorite,” says Love, who tapped into his appreciation of classic iconic actors like Dean Martin and Paul Newman for design inspiration. “The way the stars of that era styled themselves was genius. I wanted to follow suit, literally, but also mixed in stretch for comfort.”
Creating tailored pieces that not only looked good but also fit properly was key for Love. Throughout the design process, he was adamant about making pieces that fit both his active lifestyle and passion for fashion. “Having suiting and trousers that are breathable and movable is so important to me,” he says. “Comfort is key—plus, with travel being so much a part of my life, those fabrics make it easy to pack.”
While the Slim Pinstripe Italian Motion-Stretch Suit Jacket and the Athletic Tapered Pinstripe Italian Motion-Stretch Wool Suit Pant are pieces that embody his Classic Edge aesthetic, Love says his Slim Leather Biker Jacket is one of his personal favorites. “I was inspired by a vintage moto from the Banana Republic archives. I loved the distressed leather that was reminiscent of the ’50s, then added a green buffalo check lining as a nod to the Oregon woodlands,” he explains. “Being in the design studio was so inspiring. We were surrounded by fabrics, vintage clothing, mood boards—all of these things that remind me why I love fashion.”
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Kevin Loves Mixing It Up
While style has always been a passion point for Love, the way he presents himself has altered dramatically since entering the NBA in 2008. As a rookie, he wore baggy pants, extra long shirts, and buzz cuts. Now, it’s tailored suits and tapered pants that he’s designed himself. The transformation parallels those in other facets of his life; namely, becoming a much more self-expressive person. And that growth is what Love values above all else, especially when it comes to fashion.
“Even when I’m dressed down, I want to look polished,” he explains. “The pieces in my collection are comfortable but also reflect a well-tailored, well-crafted vibe.”
As a result, the various pieces in BR/K.LOVE-18 are not meant to be treated as a uniform, but more like fashionable pieces of a puzzle that allow the consumer—just like Love himself—the flexibility to mix things up to create completely original looks. “I wanted the collection to reflect all aspects of my personal style sensibility and have clothes that everyone can relate to, are staples, but can be mixed and matched to create something fresh and new,” he says. “I love that Banana Republic focuses so heavily on performance fabrics.”
A prime example of this dress it up/down aesthetic is the Performance Stretch Wool Track Pant, which gives the athleisure trend a major upgrade. Constructed of a stretch wool from one of Italy’s oldest mills, and featuring a drawstring waist with tuxedo side-stripe detailing, these pants pair well with a suit jacket as they do a Merino Wool Blend Cable-Knit Turtleneck Sweater. That Street Smart mashup in pairings reverberates throughout the entire collection.
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“Growing up in Oregon, wearing functional warm layers was what you had to do every day. That approach to style really influences how I get dressed—I definitely wanted that to be reflected in the collection,” Love says. “With BR/K.LOVE-18, we’ve taken traditional fall menswear and added my spin. For example, a military green raincoat with camo lining, buffalo plaid-lined leather or a classic cargo pant crafted from suiting fabric with tuxedo tabs. Merging the rugged style of the Northwest with elevated tailoring defined the design process. Those little details really personalize the clothes.”
“My ultimate goal is to continue to learn and grow my personal style,” he continues. “This collaboration with Banana Republic has been a huge learning experience, and I’ve appreciated being exposed to the entire process—from magazine tear, to design sketch, to fabric swatch, to first fitting, to final product. Ultimately, I want to learn and start taking some more risks.”
If there’s one thing Kevin Love’s collaboration with Banana Republic demonstrates, it’s that classic menswear never goes out of style and BR/K.LOVE-18 is a slam dunk.