Sports Illustrated is seizing on what many in the fashion world already know — that many pro-athletes are into nice clothes.
With a company mandate to grow alternate streams of revenue, the Time Inc.-owned magazine is launching a new initiative to celebrate the most stylish athletes.
Called “The Fashionable 50,” the new franchise will include an editorial feature on those sports stars, as well as a party to fete the winners. SI ranks the top ten most fashionable athletes, who will appear on SI.com on Monday and will be featured on a special flip cover of the magazine’s NFL Draft preview double issue hitting newsstands on April 13.
JC Penney is sponsoring the editorial coverage and the party, which will start on April 12 at Vandal on 199 Bowery in New York.
“This isn’t our first dive into the intersection of lifestyle and sports,” SI managing editor Chris Stone told WWD. “What we do best is storytelling.”
Stone called that intersection “natural,” but he noted that the top 50 weren’t chosen just by editors of SI, but also by a panel of stylists, SI Swimsuit models, fashion executives and fashion journalists, including InStyle fashion director Melissa Rubini.
The list of 50 — 12 women, 38 men — will be rolled out over the course of the week, and in a 12-page spread in the magazine. SI said it would run three flip covers featuring athletes from the list.
Although he wouldn’t divulge names, he offered that 2016 Swimsuit models Hannah Davis, Chanel Iman would attend the event, as would athletes Michael Strahan, Victor Cruz, Darrelle Revis and Swin Cash, of the New York Liberty, are all in the top 50 and will attend at the event.
By no coincidence, Strahan, who has a men’s wear line with J.C. Penney, will likely play a key role in the event, as select guests will be dressed in Collection by Michael Strahan.
“It seems that every day, another athlete is joining the ranks of the style pioneers, while the post-game press conference continues to look more and more like a fashion show,” said Jon Tuck, vice president of sales for the SI Group. “Sports Illustrated is excited to immerse itself in this crossover category, and JCPenney, with the Collection by Michael Strahan, has been the perfect partner for the launch of this new franchise.”
The magazine noted that the retailer will also be partnering with its branded content studio, SI Overtime, for a video production that “brings to life the intersection of sports and fashion.”