When Sports Illustrated was sold to The Maven, now The Arena Group (EDITOR’S NOTE: although the licensing deal in question in this piece is between JCPenney and Authentic Brands Group, which oversees SI through a deal with the Arena Group), it was clearly a move designed to license the SI brand in many various ways.
There are still plenty of good writers at SI, managing to get good work done on a regular basis. (It’s hard to find that good work sometimes, but then again, a lot of sports media UI now is less than appealing. It’s never the writer’s fault.)
We’re not here today to talk about the SI editorial in 2022, though. No. Instead, we’re here to discuss the news that SI is releasing its own brand of athletic and athleisure wear via a deal with JCPenney. AdWeek’s Lisa Lacy had that news yesterday.
The clothing drop includes lines for men, women and children, such as tracksuits, T-shirts, shorts, skirts and outerwear.
Michelle Wlazlo, evp and chief merchandising officer at JCPenney, said the activewear collection, Sports Illustrated for JCPenney, was “inspired by iconic moments in sports.” The styles are available online and in more than 650 U.S. JCPenney stores.
“Sports Illustrated is committed to reaching consumers in new and unique ways,” said Dana Carpenter, evp of entertainment at Authentic Brands Group, which bought Sports Illustrated in 2019. While this is its first fashion and lifestyle collection, the brand launched a swimwear collection in 2018.
So what kinds of items is SI offering? We’re glad you asked! Let’s take a look at some choice options.
Who wouldn’t want to wear this pencil skirt, for example?
Is there a real calling out there for a below-the-knee pencil skirt made from some kind of stretchy athletic fabric going for $37? It’s hard to figure there is. I’m not the target market here, but neither LuLuLemon or UnderArmour makes a pencil skirt of any kind. Maybe the market will prove us wrong on this one, but it’s hard to see this trending.
None of these items have a listed country of origin. They’re all just listed as “Imported”, which sort of defeats the purpose of JCPenney offering a “Country of origin” fact line. Feel free to speculate exactly which nation these were produced in, and under what conditions. The material is maybe even better; this one, for example, is 50% nylon, 50% polyester. What a blend! And this is $60, for the option to wear something that would probably melt if left in a car in July.
To say a few positive things: it’s nice they have plus sizes for women. And big & tall for men.
That’s enough both sides-ism. Back to the fun stuff, for one more entry:
Listen, parents: I don’t have children. That usually automatically disqualifies me from giving parenting advice, and I’m almost always more than happy to be excused from that discussion. But I’m going to make a plea here, on the off chance that anyone is willing to listen: please, please, please do not send your kid to school wearing an SI branded $20 t-shirt. Do not even send them to virtual/remote school wearing an SI-branded t-shirt. If a well-meaning relative gifts your child an SI-branded graphic tee, burn it, then spend $20 to buy a normal t-shirt for your child (or to donate to Goodwill in its place.)
I know very little about teen/youth/kid culture today. (I knew very little about it when I was actually a teen/youth/kid.) But I know, with absolute certainty, this falls on the “what not to do” list. If you take nothing else away from this post, let it be that.
Anyway, stay tuned for the upcoming Awful Announcing Summer ’22 collection, produced in conjunction with Ross Dress For Less!