Off the court, NBA basketball player Evan Turner is a hands-on investor with a diverse portfolio: commercial real-estate holdings, commodities, literature, art, sports, technology and most recently fashion retail, with his art-inclined fashion hub, Madison-USA – a street style boutique hand-curated by Turner himself. Photographer Jady Bates met up with Turner at The Nines’ Hotel in downtown Portland for a shoot for The Untitled Magazine. Turner chatted with us about NBA basketball and personal style in an exclusive interview below.
Our motto is “Educate and be educated. Inspire and be inspired.” – Evan Turner
Was being a pro-basketball player your childhood dream?
Yes. Growing up, my father always told me that I would become a professional basketball player – but most importantly, it was my mother who instilled the discipline and work ethic within me that would ensure I’d be able to reach my goals.
When did you start becoming interested in fashion as a business?
When I noticed the gap in retail between where I grew up on the west side of Chicago and some of the places I visited frequently once I made it to the NBA.
You currently own a boutique titled Madison USA. What inspired you to open that?
Growing up in Chicago, we were always into fashion, but couldn’t really afford the clothing that we wanted or didn’t have access to what we wanted, just because it seemed so far out of reach. Watching guys like Cam’ron when we were younger really heightened our interest in not just clothing, but style as a whole. Once we saw the opportunity to do some of that ourselves and provide that, we knew it was something we wanted to do.
Do you personally curate your boutique?
Most of what’s carried in the shop are brands that we’ve been fans since before the shop was even an idea, like Stone Island and Comme des Garçons. It’s constantly evolving so we also try to pay attention to what people, mostly the youth, are coming in and asking for.
What sort of clients does your boutique cater to?
Being right next to Ohio State’s campus, we get a lot of students who have a genuine interest in streetwear or are just interested in learning more about fashion. Young professionals who have an appreciation for some of the designers or are looking for something a little more than what they see amongst their peers are the key clients. They’re the combination of being youthful, but also as relatively recent graduates, they do well enough for themselves to be able to buy some of the pieces they’ve always wanted to buy.
The physical store is in Ohio. Is there a specific reason for that location?
Interest in clothing and the sport of fashion continued to grow as we got older and at the same time, we recognized a lack of representation in Columbus, Ohio. Being a former Ohio State Buckeye and often spending summers there, providing some of the designers that we carry and creating that culture for the kids and the people who have always been interested but just never had enough access gives me different level of fulfillment.
What’s your brand’s motto?
A lot of our influences come from sports and music, even more so than the world of traditional fashion. In turn, our motto is “Educate and be educated. Inspire and be inspired.” Because part of the goal is teaching people about our influences and our favorite designers, but we also want to learn from our customers, learn the stories of the brands we carry along with being put on to something new in the process.
Any other exciting plans for 2019 you can share?
The shop is adding more designers that we’re excited to be getting in. We’re going to be activating and collaborating more with some of the people who we grew up with and are from our generation who are now running their own brands and share influences. It should be fun for everybody!
Interview by The Untitled Magazine
Photographer: Jady Bates
Makeup Artist: Cherrity Patt
Assistant: Jeff Cowan
Photography assistant: Kevin Cota
Retoucher: Julia Bates
Fashion Designer: Gustavo Apiti Couture