Now more than ever, an athlete’s walk from the parking lot to the stadium has become a catwalk of sorts. Athletes are constantly looking to outdo each other in their pre-game and post-game fits, surely upsetting some old school purists in the process. And while MLS players do not receive the same attention, laud or jokes that elaborate dressers in the NBA or NFL do, the Red Bulls locker room is a place full fashion conscious athletes.
One of them being, Tyler Adams, the 19 year-old phenom is just like others his age, he loves copping new clothes and collecting sneakers.
Tyler Adams: Balling out and looking fresh while doing it
It’s been a rapid rise for Adams, his first pro contract at 16, USL Cup winner at 17, now a mainstay in the Red Bulls and U.S Mens National Team lineup’s. A lot has changed from his days at Roy C. Ketcham high school in Dutchess County, New York.
“In high school, I was wearing whatever my mom got me”, said Adams. Though when it came to athletic wear, Nike had him covered. “Fortunately enough I had a Nike contract in high school. I was the kid that came in with the windbreaker on and sweatpants every single day, you know, comfort.”
It was when Adams began to walk into the locker room of Red Bull Arena when dressing became a bigger point of emphasis for him. “On gamedays, I started to explore a bit more and look to what other guys in the locker room were wearing.” A clear inspiration for Adams is Red Bulls forward and fashion-head, Bradley Wright-Phillips. “Obviously Brad has a unique sense of style. Something you could go off of, but Brad is wearing stuff even I can’t quite afford.”
While Bradley Wright-Phillips may don some high-end pieces, so does Tyler Adams. After the Red Bulls’ historic Supporters’ Shield win, Adams handled his clothes and OFF-WHITE x Nike Blazer Mids with great care after nearly dropping them in the champagne puddled floor of the Red Bulls locker room.
According to Lyst, OFF-WHITE is 2018’s hottest fashion brand in the world, meaning very limited stock and exorbitant resale prices. One key to OFF-WHITE’s success has been it’s creator, Virgil Abloh, and his onslaught of collaborations with Nike. Subsequently the brand has become a must-have, with rappers sporting and writing bars about the brand, to athletes wearing them before games.
Adams wears OFF-WHITE shirts, jerseys and their Nike shoe collaborations seemingly on a game-by-game basis. “A lot of the exclusive stuff that Nike has been coming out with I’ve been fortunate enough to get my hands on”. He chuckled at a reference to a Complex piece released earlier this season in which Sean Davis, an adidas athlete, had a hard time getting a pair of Kanye West’s signature adidas “Yeezy” runner.
With the backdrop of the World Trade Center, native New Yorker’s, Timothy Weah and Tyler Adams rocked the OFF WHITE x Nike collaboration at an event debuting the World Cup inspired line. The “Football, Mon Amour” collection paid homage to the Dutch lion on the Holland national team crest, along with the infamous of stamps of Virgil Abloh.
No place like home
Adams very much relishes living in such close proximity to one of the fashion capitals of the world, “for me it’s definitely nice to grow up in an area like this where you’re exposed to so many different things. The fashion district in New York is something, obviously a popular place.”
New York is something very near and dear to Adams’ heart and he prides himself in dressing like a New Yorker too, “People see me wearing [Timberland boots] and are like ‘what are you wearing Timbs for?’ I’m from New York! You wouldn’t understand. We don’t have that connection.” Timberland 6-Inch boots being the often meme’d and unofficial shoe of every New Yorker.
Earlier this month, Bradley Wright-Phillips’ clothing line, Two Nines, collaborated with New Era x New York Red Bulls to create a limited capsule including hats and tops. Unfortunately due to Adams’ Nike contract he can’t wear the line, but he is a huge fan of it and what Wright-Phillips is doing off the field.
I asked him about a clothing line of his own somewhere down the line which he saw as a possibility. “Eventually in my career, I think that’s something you have to segue yourself into and not for the money or anything like that, that’s not what Brad’s doing it for. He’s expressing and exposing his brand to more people than those just watching games every weekend. I think its something really cool and it is definitely something I would get into.”
As of now, Adams has a couple of kicks lined up for the playoffs. He said he has “hundreds of pairs of shoes” and voiced the element of timing his outfits for the perfect occasion. It’s a feeling he feeds off of and further boosts his poised and confident demeanor, he says “it’s cool to show up to the game and people be like ‘you look fresh today’, yeah I’m going to do the same thing on the field today. I’m going to ball out and look fresh.”
Look out for what Tyler Adams has in store for the remainder of the Red Bulls’ MLS Cup chase, both on and off the field. Maybe take some notes of your own if your wardrobe needs updating!