Russell Westbrook On The Fourth Chapter Of Why Not?
Russ talks about the Why Not? Zer0.4, the Why Not? x FACETASM collaboration, his new apparel collection and more.
For Russell Westbrook, it’s not enough to have an innovative signature line, or even one that debuts with a FACETASM collection and artist-commissioned graphics. Every colorway has a story — a tribute to family, friends, memories or the culture. His on-court product features the latest technological innovations, while his off-court product reflects his style and upbringing.
The fourth chapter of Why Not? has all of the above, including the Why Not? Zer0.4 and an apparel collection inspired by L.A. workwear. The new signature shoe was designed to have double the responsiveness, cushioning and containment, while the apparel has a plaid jumper and shorts, a black T-shirt, sweatshirt and pants and Why Not? graphics and accents throughout. To help showcase the new apparel, as well as the “Upbringing” and “Family” colorways of the WNZ.4, Russ asked his kids and his wife, Nina Westbrook, to join his photo shoot.
“What I treasure most about growing up in Los Angeles is the community,” Russ says of the “Upbringing” and “Family” WNZ.4. “I think when you’re from L.A., especially the inner city, you treasure and own where you’re from. You own your streets, your neighborhoods. That’s something I keep with me at all times, because I’m grateful that I’m from Los Angeles.”
Below, Russell Westbrook talks about the fourth chapter of Why Not?, which includes the Why Not? Zer0.4, the FACETASM collaboration, a new apparel collection and more to come.
Why is it important for you to drop new Why Not apparel collections each year?
Designing the apparel and shooting the collection are very important to me. The process allows me to be creative in multiple areas. It helps set the tone of my signature shoes, too. Since I’m into fashion, I understand how important it is to stay in touch with my creative side. Being able to do that through both apparel and footwear is pretty special.
How were you inspired by the L.A. workwear aesthetic for this year’s Why Not apparel collection?
L.A. will always be important and inspiring to me. When I create and design different things, such as the plaid outfit, I see how they resemble where I’m from. This collection helps you see what L.A. is all about, being able to wear plaid, different designs and different materials.
You’ve applied the words “Why Not” to your collections in creative ways throughout the years. What was your overall approach this year?
My favorite approach is just to put it on every piece. Every material, color and font tells a different story. That’s what’s great about this collection. People see the Why Not and know exactly what it is when they see it.
A lot has changed since the Why Not? Zer0.1. How have your style and design sensibilities evolved over the years?
Since my first shoe, there has definitely been an evolution on my part. I’ve gotten older, and I understand more about the design process. With each shoe, I have an opportunity to play a full season and figure out the pros and the cons before I design the next shoe. I’m at a point now, where I feel more comfortable just getting into a room, designing, using materials and creating stories that can play out best throughout the season.
What is your favorite part of designing each new signature shoe?
My favorite part is being able to use different fabrics and materials to create a dope shoe, and not just on court, but off the floor. This is a huge cultural brand that resonates across the globe, and I think having the elements of different fabrics makes the shoe special.
What’s the biggest change from the Why Not? Zer0.3 to the Why Not? Zer0.4?
The biggest change is the overall design, including the double-stacked Zoom Air bag in the forefoot. I’m a big fan of comfort while being able to move and use my athleticism when I’m on the floor. It’s great to have comfort all around the shoe, especially on the bottom of your foot.
Different designs also give you an opportunity to play with fabrics and materials a lot. Some are lighter materials, and some have different textures, which allow you to do different things.
What’s special about the traction on the Why Not? Zer0.4?
The traction on the outsole of the shoe has hundreds of thin blades. The traction pattern was something new for me, in the design process. I didn’t understand how important it actually was, but now I have a better understanding of why certain traction patterns are designed in certain ways.
How would you describe the material innovation in the Why Not? Zer0.4?
The mixture of materials, fabrics and cushioning bring everything together while making the shoe lighter. It gives the shoe some texture, some culture. It gives us an opportunity to do different things while designing, and to bring different stories to life through a basketball shoe.
How does the Why Not? Zer0.4 feel and perform on-court?
The WNZ.4 is light and comfortable, which are the most important features for me, when I’m on the floor. Being comfortable and being able to jump and move fast are crucial.
Why did you want to work with FACETASM on one of the debut colorways of the Why Not? Zer0.4, as well as the full apparel collection?
I’m a huge fan of the FACETASM brand. I’ve traveled to Japan and Tokyo, and I had an opportunity to buy some of their clothes. Once the opportunity to collaborate became real, I was super excited.
What can we expect from the Why Not? Zer0.4 PEs?
From a PE perspective, there are going to be a lot of different stories. We used the shoe to show who I am, where I’m from and what I believe in through colorways.
Your family always plays a role in your shoes. How does that apply to the Why Not? Zer0.4?
There’s a crest in the shoe’s insole with the initials of everybody in my family. It was important for me to bring that to life on the shoe. Each year that I’m blessed to have another shoe, I will always implement a “Family” colorway, too.
You’ve also emphasized the power of women, including the admiration you have for your wife, Nina. Why was it important for you to do a forthcoming WNZ.4 colorway focused on Equality?
I honestly believe that women run the world. I believe that they are equal to men in this world. It was important for me to bring gender equality to life in a shoe.
You’re also extremely involved with your community. Why does that remain important to you?
Giving back to the community is important for me on many levels. It’s not just about giving back, it’s about showing support and showing that you’re with the community. I think that giving back is easy to do. The most important part is standing with the community and showing that you understand their struggles.
How can a simple phrase like “Why Not?” help the youth get through tough times like we’ve experienced in 2020?
This year has definitely been a crazy one. Through everything that’s been going on, I’ve leaned on using elements of the Why Not? mentality. It’s tough, because there are times when you may feel like you want to give up, or you don’t feel like any doors are opening in your life. I ask myself Why Not?, because I feel like if somebody is going to do something, it could be me.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I think that a lot of people look at your accomplishments on the floor, in regards to your legacy — whether that’s how many championships you have, or how many points you score. To me, that’s not what legacy is. For me, legacy is leaving a stamp on where you’re from and your community. It’s how many people you’ve touched and inspired to do great things in the world. I continue to build my legacy each day, based on that — not just the things I do on the basketball floor.
The Why Not? Zer0.4 “Upbringing,” “Family” and apparel collection launch in January on Jordan.com and at select retailers.