Phoenix Suns Introduce Line of Merch Designed by Players
If you follow an NBA team on Instagram or Twitter, you probably have seen the photos of players arriving and walking down the tunnel. It's a great time for them to show off their fashion senses. After all, they spend 90% of their time in the public spotlight in a uniform, why not flex when you can?
The Phoenix Suns are giving players a chance to take their fashion sensibilities a step further by letting them design their own merchandise as part of a line called Valley Threads.
Cam Payne 🤝 Valley Threads
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 25, 2022
The series started with Suns player Cam Payne, who designed a hoodie featuring a phrase his pastor told him on Draft Night in 2015: "Don't wake up, keep dreaming." It also uses his number 15 and a street-art-inspired take on the Suns' sunburst logo.
𝙑𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙮 𝙏𝙝𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙨: 𝘾𝙖𝙢 𝙋𝙖𝙮𝙣𝙚
Introducing Valley Threads, a collection designed by our players, for our fans.
Available in the team shop at 10AM on 2/25.
Watch Cam’s full feature and learn more about the hoodie here ⤵️
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 23, 2022
“Starting the Valley Threads line is huge for me, I’m the first one," Payne said in a press release. "I think the hoodie shows the kind of guy I am, how my personality is and everything on this hoodie is impactful in some kind of way."
Sports teams always try to capture the spirit of the players, the fanbase and the city. Each team has such a distinct identity. What better way to capture the overall vibe of a team than actually getting the players to directly involve themselves in the design process?
Payne's contribution to the Valley Threads line dropped on Feb. 25, with proceeds going toward Phoenix Suns Charities, a nonprofit that facilitates youth mentorship in the Phoenix community.
These days, sports marketing has to go beyond just the magnet schedule you receive on opening day. Yes, that's an extremely useful product that should stick around, but teams need to go the extra mile now and take hints from other apparel and merchandise brands.
We've seen other sports organizations doing this kind of thing recently. The NFL, for example, had four local streetwear brands design apparel capsules for the Super Bowl in Los Angeles. The Minnesota Twins partnered with a local designer for a limited-edition merchandise collection available at their ballpark.
A good product can attract new fans who appreciate a good aesthetic, or in the case of the Suns, might make them fall in love with a new player and team.