There’s an even keeled tone and maturity to Elijah Hughes’ voice as we dive into what his basketball journey has been like up to this point. Sitting down with Elijah, we’re joined by Kelli Crawford, the founder of EPIQ customs, and the designer of Elijah’s draft night outfit. Elijah points out the latest of his 13 or so tattoos, this one on his neck, reading ‘Kaizen’…”it means to always be improving, to be the best version of yourself and just wake up everyday and try and be a better you.” He goes on to explain that Coach Snyder of the Jazz brought the term into his life, and it’s something that the team often reflects on at practice. “It keeps me motivated” he tells us, as a reflective smirk falls over his face. It’s evident that positive observation and growth are the cornerstones in not only Elijah Hughes life, but is also emulated in his fashion style.
Elijah describes his style as comfortable and confident. These two elements were the most important parameters when it came to selecting an outfit to set the professional stage of both fashion and basketball in the 2020 NBA Draft. Elijah enlisted the help of Kelli, initially bringing her an inspiration photo and color scheme. From that moment, the creative process flowed effortlessly. “It was so easy working with Elijah just because he had such a specific look that he wanted, which is the great thing about him; he’s very talented but he also has a great sense of style,” Kelli interjected about crafting the look.
The obscure nature of the 2020 NBA Draft didn’t phase Elijah. The self-proclaimed ‘chill’ guy had always envisioned experiencing the moment he made it to the league surrounded by his family. “Even when I was a kid, I’d see how the draft was done and how they have kind of like a table with your mom, dad, sister, whatever, so I always knew to myself I didn’t want to do it like that. I never wanted to just be around those people because I have a lot of loved ones in my life. I have a giant family, I have a giant support group of friends and just loved ones in general, so I knew I wanted to be around all those people for my draft day. So, yeah, it kinda sucked that I wasn’t able to be there, but then I kind of didn’t want to do that from the jump, so it all kind of worked out perfectly and it was a great night and something I’ll never forget.”
The Fit: a perfectly tailored repeated blue pattern created through tints and shades of a primary blue juxtapose with a pure blue hue. This creates a unified look filled with texture seen in the shirt and mask and boldness shown in the absence there of. Clean, casual on the bottom, meets more formal top to create a look that is well balanced and unified not only in tone and hue but in its formality. The finishing touch: Saint Laurent white and camo Andy sneakers.
On the day of the draft, Kelli came by Elijah’s parents home in Beacon, New York. Kelli reminisced on handing off the fit, and on how elated she was to craft something personal for a monumental moment for such a humble individual. Kelli noted that she’ll never forget being in his family’s backyard, shooting hoops and Elijah’s relaxed demeanor. “We were taking some shots and I kept missing and he kept being like ‘good miss, good miss,’ and I’m like ‘what does that mean?’ It was just so funny and I think it just shows, what kind of person he is and he’s so supportive and nice. I was thinking ‘he really deserves this’.”
While Elijah’s draft night look was a showstopper, it’s just the opening chapter of his rookie style files. “I know that platforms like ProTrending just open up a lot more avenues in terms of fashion opportunities with brands and opens up more doors to just express myself more in my fashion.” Style for Elijah is a representation of who he is at that moment. He tells us that his fashion foundation was heavily influenced by his siblings, especially his two older sisters, Amber and Stephanie. “When I was growing up, they were in high school in that Fat Joe era, when there was like Timbs, big jeans, and giant book bags, so that’s what they were wearing. Them growing up and being in high school at that time was huge for me and my fashion and I guess my involvement.” Elijah noted what we all know in that, New York truly has its own style and those influences will always be apart of him. From his earlier fashion days in Timbs, to now his appreciation for the more West Coast vibe of Chucks and Vans, Elijah has always had an affinity for shoes. (He even has a pair of Jordan 1’s tattooed on himself).
Now in the NBA, the fit always starts with the sneakers. Game day tunnel looks are built from the ground up, and Elijah admits that packing for long road trips is an area he’s still getting used to. But, with his observant nature, and some new stylish teammates, Elijah’s fashion story is constantly unfolding. “I’m on a team where we got a lot of different guys when it comes to expressing their fashion. I don’t think theres really competition, we kind of hype each other up when it comes to our outfits and what we’re wearing in the locker room. We have Jordan Clarkson, he’s kind of like an eight ball when it comes to fashion, you just you just don’t know what you’re gonna get. I’ve been picking up A LOT from Jordan Clarkson.” It’s indisputable that the ‘Kaizan’ mentality will continue to flow through Elijah Hughes’ life, and lucky for us and the NBA Tunnel, the fashion fits are very much along for the ride.
For an in-depth look into Elijah’s Draft Day:
Credit: Jaime Boyer of 8EYE MEDIA