For the New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, style is everything — both on and off the field. On the field, he rocks a gold Quality Control chain (Kamara is signed to Quality Control Sports but the relationship extends much farther back), and both septum and right nostril piercings. Off the field, he’s equal parts streetwear and designer. Over the last five NFL seasons, he’s become somewhat of a burgeoning fashion icon.
Kamara’s just getting started in fashion. He hails from Atlanta, a city widely known for pioneering streetwear trends and brands, in addition to breaking the hottest rappers in the game. He’s always been a forward thinker as he tells it. “When I was growing up, I just put shit on that people thought was wild,” he tells me over a recent Zoom call. “Out of my friends, I was the first to wear skinny jeans and they’d ask me, ‘Man, what the hell are you doing?’”
Kamara’s iconic look is more accepted nowadays, but it wasn’t always like that. Speaking to The Undefeated in 2018, he revealed that an NFL owner once told him, “You like fashion. Your friends are rappers. You got the look. You got the nose rings. You look like you could probably do something else… like you don’t need football.” But now, as others across sports become more expressive of their unique style, Kamara isn’t just accepted — he’s celebrated.
Despite a recent Las Vegas incident and a resulting arrest, Kamara is in good spirits, excited to talk about his newfound love for brands like Noon Goons. Today, in collaboration with Noon Goons, we discuss all things style, diving deep into the evolution of his taste and the it factors that make him the new face of the Saints.
What do you remember about streetwear growing up? What were some of your favorite brands?
Back in the day, we wore a lot of Pyrex. We wore clothes like Ed Hardy, Supreme, Polo, Dickies. We were also on that designer tip, with Prada and Gucci. In Atlanta, we had a whole trend. They used to call it Black boy, white boy swag. So we used to go Sperrys, like Polo pants, Hollister shirt. Yeah, Hollister shirt and Polo hats, like crazy.
Do you have a pivotal style moment growing up? Like, when you realized, "Yo, this is how I'm going to stand out?"
As far as my style went and how I dressed when I was younger, I was just willing to put shit on that people thought was controversial. There was a time where everybody was baggy, baggy, baggy. And then, people transitioned to straight legs and then skinny jeans. Out of my friends, I was the first to wear skinny jeans and they’d ask me, “Man, what the hell are you doing?” Slowly but surely, they start coming up behind me, with slimmer jeans and smaller, more fitted shirts. I wouldn't say [there was] any pivotal moment, but I think I had a willingness to explore the fashion spectrum, instead of just being stuck in waiting for shit to change.
You’re known for your unique on-field style with your chains and jewelry. What inspired that?
QC, that's my family, so I have [to] wear the chain. That’s how I do — how I rep. Coach, P — everyone over there has been there from the beginning. The chain’s heavy and people always ask me if I’m afraid it’ll get ripped off on the field. That’s not something I worry about because the name carries so much respect.
Your on-field jewelry used to be a point of contention between you and NFL owners. Now, others are expressing themselves in other ways. Do you think it’s become easier for the league to accept you because of that?
I never credit myself for anything really, but I think that was my whole speed when I was coming up. I had nose rings, freaking gold teeth, all that. Some people looked at it like, "That's not right," or, "He hasn't even done anything yet."
I'm on year five now, going into six, and throughout the league, you just see more and more guys expressing themselves and becoming more comfortable being who they are. To the average person, [my style] might seem extra or too much, but that's them. You got to express yourself. It's freedom of expression. And whatever you feel comfortable with and being yourself, I think that's the truest form of happiness. That's what it's really about. You know what I'm saying? Regardless of the sport.
How would you say your personal style evolved over the years, since you've come into the NFL?
Honestly, it's so funny. Everybody, like my uncle [and] my girl, everybody always gets on me because I don't take a lot of pictures. Every time, like my friends will come over and we might do something low key. I'll be having so many fucking fits and so much style, but I just don't document it. So the evolution of my style, if I were to document that shit, it'd be crazy. I really just haven't, because I'll be in the moment so much. I'll just be cooling. Man, I don't need a picture.
I think my style is kind of street. At the same time, I can go smooth and transition into high fashion, but it's really low key. It's minimal. I'm more focused on details.
People have told you you dress like a rapper, and being so close to Quality Control, you actually do hang out with a lot of them. What’s your relationship been like with the label?
I've been there from the beginning. There was a lot of groundwork and bricks being laid way before it was actually born [around] 2012, 13. There were a lot of things that had to be ironed and figured out, as time went. Some people fall off, some people stick through. It's just amazing to see where it's at now. P, Coach, and Twin, that's my family. Seeing them be able to climb and turn into a juggernaut, and then being right there and going through it with them is amazing.
The million dollar question. When are you going to get in the booth? If?
It's so funny because people send me music all the time. Try to get me to "send that to unc," or "put me on with QC." And I always say, "Nah, conflict [of] interest." I got an ear for music, and I'm obviously connected. I can pull some strings sometimes, but that's not my lane. You know what I'm saying? I go for what I know. I didn't create a record label. I'm just there. I'm in line with it. I'm a part of it, but I ain't never really thought of rapping. I can write like a mother fucker though. I could write. I can write a song.
What else do you have going on off the field?
One of the main things I’m into right now is designing houses. I bought a bunch of land and I'm building a house for myself, so that’s fun as hell.
I also have a director of growth and development position with NASCAR. It's been dope to get into that space and just see a sport that stereotypically is not for somebody like me. Just to break into that space and see that, it's not really what you expect.
And man, right now, I'm producing a podcast, actually. Quality Control partnered with The Network Advisory. I ain't going to give too many details on it, but working with that. There’s such a mystique around who I am.