FL2, a line of men’s performance athleticwear from Fabletics, has created a capsule collection with Olympic track and field star Will Claye.
Claye made his Olympic debut at the 2012 Summer Games in London, winning a silver medal in the triple jump and a bronze medal in the long jump, becoming the first man to earn medals in both events since the 1936 Olympics when Naoto Tajima of Japan took third in the long jump and won the triple jump.
Claye hopes to compete for the U.S. in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro but must earn a place on the team first by competing in the Olympic Trials in July in Eugene, Ore. He is considered a gold medal contender in the long and triple jumps. No one has ever won gold in both events.
The FL2 by Will Claye capsule collection launches July 1 and marks the label’s first collaboration with a professional athlete. “We admire his perseverance, grit and fashion sense as well as his tendency to take risks — in his training and style,” said Shaun Kearney, vice president of design for FL2 and Fabletics. “He’s very cool. He mixes performance pieces with lifestyle pieces for an urban yet sophisticated look. That’s something we wanted to capture, but we will continue to work with many athletes, to tell compelling stores.”
Claye’s seven-piece collection has three outfits, for performance, warm-up and lifestyle, and includes a jacket with sleeves that zip off to create a vest and pants that convert to shorts. Prices range from $34.95 for shorts to $69.95 for the convertible jacket. In the spirit of the Olympics and bringing nations together, some pieces have a “globe” print. FL2 custom-designed Claye’s competition outfits, which became the inspiration for the capsule collection.
Sales of the temporary collection could be affected by how Claye performs. “He is predicted to make history and win gold, but FL2 and this capsule collection is not thoroughly defined by winning,” Kearney said. It’s equally defined by “a balanced point of view reflecting Will’s personable and relatable” demeanor. “His coach described him as the best athlete you never heard of. That means a lot to us.”
Actress Kate Hudson, along with Don Ressler, Adam Goldenberg and JustFab, the subscription e-commerce site, in 2013 launched Fabletics after they perceived a need for stylish, high-quality activewear at “accessible” prices.
Below, Claye discusses his design role at FL2, his training, and what’s up next for him.
WWD: Describe the extent of your involvement in designing the collection.
Will Claye: The FL2 team allowed me to have input in every aspect of the capsule collection. There is a little bit of me in each piece, and all together, it tells a story of my life at this point. We all sat down and took my life — put it into color palettes, different prints and fabrics to show my journey in life as well as in the sport of track and field.
WWD: What attracted you to get into business with FL2?
W.C.: FL2 offers stylish clothes that don’t sacrifice on technical elements. When I compete, I am pushing myself physically, but I also want to show the world who I am.
WWD: Do you see other design projects in your future, maybe as a career?
W.C.: My goal is to definitely do many more projects with apparel as well as footwear. Clothing has been a passion of mine even before I could afford to dress myself. It’s an awesome way to express oneself, and I would love to continue to aid people in this form of self-expression in new and cool ways.
WWD: How is the training going? What’s the workout schedule like and what’s the next competition?
W.C.: Training is going great. I’ve been in grind mode and I’m excited to see how much this work will pay off at the Olympics. My workout schedule is like 9-to-5 except my job still isn’t finished when I get home. I begin my training at the track at 10:30 a.m., which consists of a warm up, stretching, sprinting and plyometrics [jump training] of different sorts. Then from the track, I go to the gym to lift weights. In the weight room, I do variations of squats, cleans, deadlifts, pushes, pulls and more plyometrics. Once we finish with weight training, we begin “prehab” training to strengthen the little muscles to prevent injuries. That leads into massages and ice bathing to aid the body in recovering for the workouts the following day. My next competition will be Drake Relays on April 29.
WWD: Who will be your toughest competition in the Olympics?
W.C.: I expect everyone to be on their “A” game at the Olympics, but the only thing I feel I’m going up against is gravity. It’s the ultimate opponent to a jumper.
WWD: I heard you did a wild water jump somewhere. Was that the craziest thing you ever jumped off of?
W.C.: Last year, I jumped off of a ramp that Red Bull built for Flugtag and that was definitely the craziest thing I’ve jumped off of, but stay tuned because we have some crazier things planned in the future.