Some of fashion’s greatest moments happen in the most unexpected places, including on the basketball court or soccer field. Contemporary fashion has also become an important part of an athlete’s image. Not only does this represent their stylish personalities, but it’s also an essential part of how everyone sees them as tastemakers outside of the game. One of the most anticipated fashion shows, in addition to the Fashion Week, now takes place during the pre-game tunnel walk. The walk through the tunnel has become a highlight where many athletes can make a name for themselves in the fashion world. They can get as creative as they want wearing the top brands in the fashion industry, and usually their outfits are put together with the help of a stylist.
One of the most notable outfits to emerge from this phenomenon was Washington Wizards player Kyle Kuzma’s oversized pink sweater, and behind that look was stylist, creative director and photographer Toreno Winn. Winn gravitates towards bold looks and brings that adventurous element to all of her clients, which include FaZe Clan and a number of other athletes and celebrities. Winn keeps busy with his creative work, but when he’s not impressing the crowds with tunnel-walking outfits, he relaxes by watching sports or the latest hit shows at home on Hulu + Live TV. Hypebeast and Hulu came together to spend a day with Winn, highlighting how the platform caters to a sports-centric lifestyle and supports creatives on the go.
Hypebeast— Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Win— My name is Toreno Winn and I’m a versatile stylist and creative. I design clothes and I direct the creation, and styling is a vessel that has allowed me to venture into other fields and gives me the freedom to express myself.
How would you describe your approach to fashion and your own style?
I love fun, well-designed things. I really lean into craftsmanship and fabric. I like things that create shapes and I really like clothes that talk and things that grab your attention. I like pieces that look more like art, but are also functional. So I like to distinguish between those two things, especially when it comes to my style.
So versatility is definitely something you are looking for. In terms of your process with styling clients, what does that push and pull look like? How does your styling process work?
Style, to me, is more of a conversation and collaboration than a constitution. There’s no, ‘These are my rules.’ It’s more like, ‘What do you want for yourself? Where do you see yourself taking your style? When you hire me, you’re probably looking for a specific outcome – you want to elevate the image you’re trying to build for that specific period of time. Whether you’re creating a character, like Tyler the Creator does Igor and all his different musical eras or just want to improve your style. I don’t want it to be a dictatorship. We are on the same level. And I like being able to educate. And I think that’s my number one thing – right down to pronouncing designers’ names correctly, understanding the seasons, or understanding why some designers hem and raw edge, like Margiela. It’s about really digging deep and giving my clientele the knowledge to understand when they’re asked a question about their clothes. I love building with someone and seeing their confidence grow.
Fashion can seem intimidating to many, so I love the educational aspect you bring. What is your goal when styling new people and taking on new challenges to shape their image?
I think it’s also about aligning with their goals. For example with Kyle [Kuzma], he told me he wanted to elevate his personal style, in and around the tunnel. I was ready to work with Kyle because I had been able to work with Lecrae beforehand, who is a gospel rapper that I listened to growing up. I grew up listening to him and working with him, and I also grew up watching the Lakers all my life, and then I started working with Kyle. So I’m still grateful and still learning more about the nuances of these industries. And giving my clients the opportunity to grow is always one of my goals, because that’s where their trust comes from, in my opinion. When you instill that confidence in people, it helps them in their daily lives. You feel good, you play well. If you’re wearing a haircut that looks like it’s worth a million dollars, you’re going to play just like that. It’s just a matter of general trust.
In what other ways do you feel fashion plays a role in the lives of your customers, because you also have customers who are not athletes?
Fashion is one of the few universal languages that we as human beings speak. It’s our first impression and that chance for you to say something with your outfit, without saying a word. The way I dress, I give people space to feel invited. My outfit is my icebreaker. So when I apply that to my clientele, I insert some brands and pieces that I really like, especially if they really want to go and they’re not afraid to have fun. Because fashion doesn’t have to be stoic. But for most of my clients, other than fashion being this universal language, it’s about creating a personality. They are already a character and I fill in the gaps to complete that character. It sounds a bit strange, but I like being a bit of a puppeteer and being behind the scenes. It means the world.
You mentioned watching some of the teams and some of the people you work with now when you were younger, which is a very comprehensive moment. What is your personal connection with basketball?
Basketball was my first love and my first passion, apart from my family. I started playing at age three and stopped playing at age 23. I played all through college and the love of the game never really goes away, especially for a real basketball player. It taught me about my work ethic, honestly. You’re up at 6 a.m. every day working out and doing exercises. I was a huge Kobe fan and still am today. The way he would approach the game is how I think a lot of people who come from basketball approach life. We know that if you put in the work, it gets results. If you don’t work, you can’t expect anything. So I now apply this to the creative space. The same way I watched the movie to see how the players moved, I now watch how this designer crafted his runway collections from the early 80s to today.
How do you think athletes influence the fashion landscape, especially now that the tunnel walk is such a popular time? What kind of attraction do you think athletes have in the fashion world these days?
I would say they definitely have more appeal now since these events are nationally televised. It also allows some people to weigh in and give an opinion. There were many moments with Kuz, including the Raf Simons pink sweater – it was probably the biggest sweater anyone had ever seen. Everyone had an opinion, good or bad – as long as it wasn’t indifferent and they didn’t just walk by, I was happy with that. Seeing people commenting on his photo, like LeBron and other athletes with an opinion, got a lot more people trying in the tunnel and getting more attention about their style. It inspired me to try pushing the needle a few more times. But having an impression is all that matters because that’s where I think real art comes in. When people don’t have an opinion about something, I feel that’s where you fail as an artist.
The Raf Simons pink sweater was sure to be a viral moment. What are some of your other favorite looks you’ve put together for clients?
I think for me it’s just about pushing boundaries and broadening people’s horizons. I think a lot of people explore page swipers and stick with whatever feels comfortable to them. But when you make people uncomfortable, it opens up a whole new world. There’s this outfit that I love where Kyle wears a Marni balaclava with a crochet cardigan. That one is up there, even if that one was more him than me. There was another one of my favorite looks where we used these recycled military surplus, an old backpack and my bunny boots. I think my favorite looks are where I can create character. I’m very passionate about anime, so creating a character through silhouette, color story, fabric, and references really brings me joy in that process. I like to mix all my influences and put them into my work and I think that’s what encompasses my DNA.
What are some styling tips that really make sense to you? And then, what are the things that you would keep people away from?
Some things look better on some people. Some people are really big and some people are really skinny, and you just have to find things that work for you. I feel like fashion has unspoken “rules” and the beauty in it is learning those rules that people have created and learning how to destroy them in order to build your own rules. So at the end of the day, I really feel like fashion has no rules. The things that I would say should be avoided are just things that are not comfortable for your body. A good styling tip is to start with the pants, as they are the longest part of your body. It’s the easiest way to elevate an outfit. Some people look really good in skinny jeans, but others look really good in oversized baggy pants. It’s all based on your preferences, but also on the personal understanding of knowing that “it doesn’t fit me well and I know it doesn’t fit me well”.
About this project with Hulu, what do you like to watch on Hulu when you unpack from work?
Hulu has a great selection of anime that I love to watch, like I mentioned I love anime and it’s creative inspiration for me. They have exclusives there that you can’t watch anywhere else. They also have a good amount of movies, as well as animated movies. I like Wu Tang And Abbott Elementary School. Abbott is hilarious – it’s my current favorite comedy show. My girlfriend and I watch so many different things, so I love that Hulu has a variety of documentaries, including good fashion documentaries like the Andre Leon Talley documentary that are great educational resources for people.
What role does live television play in your life?
I love the direct aspect of Hulu + Live TV. Being able to display a score on my phone when I’m on set or during a break is amazing. I like to see things live and I don’t want to see them afterwards. Seeing things in the moment, especially in sports, makes a big difference. It’s a different feeling to watch a recording again because you really see those men or women achieve greatness. Even when I was on set with Hypebeast, I checked playoff scores on the go. It plays a big role in my day, whether I’m working and doing my hair or on set.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.