Please welcome to the stage the incomparable Ms. Zaya Wade.
Over the weekend, Zaya, the 12-year-old daughter of retired NBA star Dwyane Wade and actress stepmom Gabrielle Union-Wade, made her red carpet debut after recently revealing her gender identity. At the Better Brothers of Los Angeles’ Truth Awards, which honor the accomplishments of the Black LGBTQ community and its allies, Zaya and her parents stunned in color-coordinated white and black geometric suits with fuchsia and jade accents.
Celebrity bespoke tailor and designer Richfresh had just three days to create the colorful suits. “I love big moments like this,” Fresh tells MEL. “I wanted it to be obvious the parents are playing a supportive role, but Zaya is front and center.”
Fresh credits Zaya with choosing the color scheme. While getting fitted, Zaya told Fresh she was feeling her “jade and fuchsia fantasies” recently. “Well shit, you’re going to have a jade moment with a fuschia accent. Let’s go,” Fresh told her. Otherwise, he would have opted for a simple white-and-black patchwork. “It wouldn’t have been as colorful and fun as it was. That’s 100 percent Zaya,” he tells MEL.
As luck would have it, the colors of the genderqueer flag are lavender, white and green.
While evoking the colors in his garments was a happy coincidence for Fresh, he’s got a knack for color-coordinating group looks. For the Secret Life of Pets 2 premiere last June, Fresh created five white, teal and light blue outfits for Kevin Hart’s family. I asked Fresh if he had any qualms about working with Hart, who has a long history of homophobic tweets — including one in which he threatens to break a dollhouse over his son’s head if he tries to play with it. “Kevin [is] not homophobic,” Fresh says. “He was just being a comedian. [He] made a joke that wasn’t as tasteful as he expected. In my experience, there’s nothing homophobic about him at all.”
For the Wades, Fresh wanted Zaya to have a signature spin on his geometric suits. So he created her a jade satin tailcoat and black wool pants accented with a fuchsia satin stripe just below the waist. Gabrielle and Dwyane were fitted in color-blocked white-and-black wool suits. Gabrielle wore a satin teal top while Dwyane rocked a fuchsia dress shirt. Dwyane and his daughter also wore matching chain necklaces.
Fresh says Zaya grinned from ear to ear the moment she saw her suit. “She was like, ‘This is my new favorite outfit. You’re not getting it back.’” “It’s yours,” Fresh told her. “Wear it every day.”
On Instagram, Dwyane praised Fresh for bringing Zaya’s vision to life. “You helped make this night special for our family. Thank you and your team for busting y’all ass and helping Zaya’s vision come to life and creating this magic in ONLY 3 days‼️” Dwyane commented on the tailor’s post.
Zaya’s red-carpet style was a hit on Twitter, where she was praised for her fit and her strut. “It’s just that walk of ‘I know myself. I don’t have to conform to societal norms and ain’t nobody can tell me nothing because I have all the support I need,” Onai Forde, a new fan of Zaya’s, tells MEL.
Fresh had Zaya’s strut in mind when designing. He fit Dwyane and Gabrielle in tapered pants, while Zaya’s pant legs billowed out. “Every time she walked, I wanted there to be some drama and some movements,” the stylist says.
The image of two parents supporting their daughter as an event honoring the Black LGBTQ community was moving for some fans. “It’s great seeing Zaya have two supportive parents who encourage her to explore fashion in the way she wants to explore it,” says Evyan Durham, whose photos of Zaya went viral on Twitter.
Since Zaya revealed her gender identity and name to her family, Dwyane and Gabrielle have spent the last few months publicly embracing their roles as allies to the LGBTQ community and nurturing parents to their daughter. “As we’re becoming educated, we’re trying to educate. That’s part of us being allies in helping change the narrative and helping educate,” Dwyane told a Where Is the Buzz TV reporter at the Truth Awards.
In the same interview, Zaya said, “All people should be able to experience life to the fullest, and that really includes knowing who you are truly and being able to show other people who you are. That’s just what it’s all about.”
As for Fresh, he couldn’t be more honored that the Wades trusted him to create instantly iconic looks for an event like this. “It makes me feel good that they felt I’m the person that could get this done for them,” he says. “This was such a beautiful moment, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”