GAME ON: Adriaen Black founder Andrew Jang has been creating bespoke clothes for pro athletes and is broadening his reach with more casual direct-to-consumer pieces.
The designer’s introductory collection includes $100 T-shirts, $275 hoodies and letterman and bomber jackets starting at $350. Each item has whimsical graphics, like one of a man seated on a bear with a baited fishing pole.
Reached in Dallas on Wednesday, the designer said he had appointments with the Houston Texans’ Jelani Jenkins, the Oakland Raiders’ EJ Manuel, Kansas City Chiefs’ Eric Berry and Baltimore Ravens’ Justin Forsett. On Super Bowl Sunday, Jang will be suiting up Philadelphia Eagles Brandon Graham and Caleb Sturgis off-the-field. Pro athletes have been asking Jang for a while to create styles that their families and friends could buy, so he decided to get into e-commerce. Jang said, “It just became one of those things, when people keep asking, you’re either really smart about it or you’re not. I decided if they’re asking, let’s see what we can do.”
Inspired by athletes that he works with, Jang created styles that are more mainstream and affordable. If first-year sales hit 10,000 units, that would make the company “very profitable,” Jang said.
He will also have a role in the 2018 Pro Athlete Business Combine. At the end of a meeting with the Miami Dolphins, a NFL executive asked if he would be interested in the event. “He said, ‘We’re just trying to help professional football players know that when they need to transition out of their football life, there are these resources available to them to transition to their working life.’” Jang said, “I just thought that was one of the coolest ideas. We’ve always heard about athletes spending all their money and going broke. This is a really great way to help these guys who have worked really hard to keep the money they have but then integrate them into society in a way that they never had a chance.”
Jang will also speak on one of the leadership panels, discussing the challenges of starting a clothing business. He will offer internships to six or so NFLers to give them a better sense of what that is all about. After agreeing on a new design, they will have to source the fabrics and learn how a product is made start-to-finish. There will later be a follow-up to understand pricing and to have them “push it live.” Jermon Bushrod of the Miami Dolphins, a client of Jang’s, has already signed up for an internship.
Jang said, “These are guys who are interested in owning their own clothing line or have already been interested in fashion. They’ll at least get firsthand knowledge if they love it or hate it. I don’t know if it will be successful. That’s the part that we don’t really care about. We just want to put them through it.”
In advance of the Feb. 18 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Jang will be helping Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves decide on their custom-made, off-court attire. Before that happens, he will fly to Minneapolis to help out some Super Bowl-bound players. “It’s a typical crazy schedule for me,” Jang said. “We work with some top-name athletes. The ones that become friends of mine and of the label are the ones who still make a lot of money, are really good but sometimes play for the team that only has a 2-10 record. I’m just naturally attracted to the other 99 percent of all the other leagues.”