Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend.

One of my favorite parts about the 4th? Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. On the morning of July 4 (9 am PST / 12 pm EST) the GOAT, Joey Chesnut, will compete for his 14th title in 15 years. Truly legendary stuff.

A summary of recent events happening in the sports and outdoor industry.

9-time Olympic medalist, Alyson Felix, clinched a spot on the U.S. T&F team for the 5th (!!!) time. What stood out more, however, were the track spikes she ran in. It was later revealed that the spikes were from her own brand, Saysh. Since Felix's departure from Nike back in 2019, she decided it was time to start her own brand. Saysh's mission is to "represent women who have been overlooked or haven't had their voices heard," Felix said. Felix and Simone Biles, are a few of the female superstar athletes to recently leave Nike.
My Thoughts

This move by Alyson Felix is largely unprecedented in the industry. We've seen athletes like Dwyane Wade move on from large brands to pursue equity and more control over their personal brand in a smaller company, but nothing like the scale that Felix is pursuing. As I've addressed in prior newsletters, I think it's encouraging to see female athletes receiving the recognition they deserve. What better way to accomplish that than to have a female-focused brand co-founded by one of the greatest female athletes ever.

Nike linked up with Piñatex to release their latest footwear collection. The biomaterial company uses the fibers of discarded pineapple leaves to create eco-minded leather. Other brands such as Chanel and H&M have used Piñatex's pineapple leather on their own products, a big step towards incorporating all products with sustainable materials. The market for next-gen materials continues to grow.
My Thoughts

In my second newsletter, I talked about leather alternatives in the industry, highlighting Cacto's Organic Cactus Leather. I'm all for this. I believe that having more sustainable alternatives is much better than not having enough. One of the best ways to achieve sustainability goals is through a collective effort. It's encouraging to see that Piñatex works with a variety of brands in the textile industry.

As of yesterday, NCAA athletes are now able to profit off of their own success while competing in intercollegiate sports. What does this mean for the future of college athletes? For starters, many what-if scenarios have been mentioned regarding prior college stars who were later penalized for accepting money as an "amateur." One of those stars, Reggie Bush, took his thoughts to Twitter about his Heisman Trophy that was taken away by the NCAA.
My Thoughts

Allowing college athletes to engage in NIL opportunities is another way for brands to reach their consumers in a unique way. Although the chances of making it as a pro athlete are extremely slim, many college athletes are able to engage with their local communities in an authentic way. If brands capitalize on a hyper-local marketing strategy that leverages college athletes in those markets, brands could benefit just as much as college athletes will.

Designer, Ryan Yasin, has figured out a solution to kids quickly growing out of clothes in their early years. Welcome to the stage, Petit Pli, a new line of origami-inspired children's garments that grow with the wearer. Waste is a huge issue in the textile industry, especially in youth clothing as they outgrow clothes at a rapid rate.

Going into further detail, this McKinsey Report breaks down the environmental implications of the textile industry for future years. TL;DR (too long, didn't read) it's scary to think how our world will end up if we continue to produce as much waste as we do.
My Thoughts

The way that Petit Pli approached its strategy to sell sustainable clothing is perfect. Yes, most people care about sustainability if you ask them. However, just like any other garment, there is an increased incentive to purchase if there are several added benefits, such as style. As the garment draws inspiration from abstract, futuristic silhouettes, fashion-forward parents will be drawn to make that purchase for their kids. Similar to how Nike is exploring this strategy with their Space Hippie collection, Petit Pli is striving to sell sustainability through a fashion-first approach. I can't wait for them to make adult sizing so I can wear one when I put on my "winter coat!"
Chris Nikic is an inspiration to so many people around the world. On July 10, he is set to join an exclusive list of people in the sports world who have been inspirations in our lives, receiving the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.

If you haven't watched the short documentary that highlights his journey to becoming an Ironman finisher, I encourage you to give it a watch!
Wearable sneakers made partly out of LEGO?! Count me in.

Maybe the next iteration of this collab will include LEGO's recycled plastic bricks?