Gap's Athleta signs Allyson Felix as first-ever sponsored athlete
today Aug 1, 2019
Gap-owned women’s athleticwear brand Athleta announced on Wednesday that it has named Allyson Felix, one of the most decorated track and field athletes in U.S. history, as its first-ever sponsored sportswoman.
As part of the exclusive partnership between Felix and Athleta, the Los Angeles-born athlete will join forces with the brand’s design team to help develop performance running and training gear, with a series of collaborations apparently in the pipeline.
Felix, who is a six-time Olympic gold-medal winner and an 11-time world champion, will also play an important role in Athleta’s upcoming 2020 ‘Power of She’ campaign, as well as working alongside the brand on initiatives seeking to empower women and girls through sport.
Indeed, Athleta is keen to highlight the broader social aspects of the partnership, explaining that Felix is joining the brand as “an athlete, mother and activist.”
The reference to motherhood here could well be seen as a swipe at Nike, as Felix, who was formerly sponsored by the American sportswear giant, called out the company in a New York Times op-ed in May of this year, claiming that the brand wanted to pay her 70% less after her pregnancy.
The way the new sponsorship deal is being framed therefore looks to be emphatically in line with Athleta’s desire to differentiate itself from its industry peers as a sportswear company focused on serving and empowering women.
“We were so moved by Allyson’s purpose and passion, on and off the track, especially as she spoke to the unique experience of female athletes,” said Athleta CMO Sheila Shekar Pollak in a release. “Allyson is giving women and girls the confidence to raise their voices; demonstrating the power in the collective. We are thrilled to welcome her to our family. She is an inspiration to all of us.”
“In talking with Athleta, it quickly became clear – this was the right fit,” added Felix. “It was important for me to find a partner that championed my values. I am particularly moved by the community of women and girls Athleta is empowering through sport.”
Felix has already taken to the track in Athleta gear to celebrate the partnership, competing in her first race since giving birth at the U.S.A. Track & Field Outdoor Championships on July 25-28 wearing the brand’s Lightning Crop and Short in SuperSonic.
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