This past February, Track and Field Athlete Jamel Edwards was the first Clemson University student-athlete to attend U of NYFW. U of NYFW is a college program that hosts 30 college students from various universities during New York Fashion Week (NYFW). Edwards first heard of the program through Clemson Student-Athlete Development, which shared the opportunity for an individual to attend. He was immediately interested in the program and quickly completed the necessary requirements to attend.
Come February, Edwards headed to New York City to further develop his love of fashion, specifically within sports. Upon arriving, he shared that he was able to meet the staff and other students from several universities on the trip before diving into NYFW events the next day.
On the first day of activities, Edwards and the rest of the attendees visited the Champion Flagship Headquarters, where they learned more about the sportswear company.
Edwards detailed the experience, sharing, “we were able to see some of their signature collections and their archives. We also had a panel with some of the staff there. Further along that day, we went to the actual store in SoHo. From there, we were able to customize different pieces that we saw in the store. We went in there and they said we could take any item that we liked, and we were able to add different patches and customizations on the garments.”
The following day, the U of NYFW program broke into two groups to see a runway show of their choice. Edwards and the other students within his group attended the Tiffany Brown design show. Following the show, the program reconvened for an IMG Executive Panel Q&A, where the program attendees had the chance to meet different people from IMG and ask them questions. IMG is an events and management company that produced all the NYFW shows for this year. Edwards was given the opportunity to learn from and make connections with the panel to close off his time in New York.
“I wanted to see how I could bring fashion and track and field into one. In order to create these spikes, trainers or shoes that track and field, and other sportswear, there needs to be an engineer there. I brought everything together to bring the creative side to the engineering side of things.”
Being from Brooklyn, Edwards has always had a love for fashion, and he plans on using his experience with the U of NYFW program to help guide him toward his future endeavors. The program specifically helped him further develop his ability to tie fashion to his track and field career.
“I wanted to see how I could bring fashion and track and field into one,” remarked Edwards. “In order to create these spikes, trainers or shoes that track and field, and other sports, wear, there needs to be an engineer there. I brought everything together to bring the creative side to the engineering side of things.”
Tying sports to fashion seems complicated, but Edwards has strengthened the connection between the two over time. He specifically has an interest in incorporating more accessory pieces and materials into track and field clothing. In addition to this, Edwards explained that he wants to think outside of the box regarding trainers and spikes because he sees a lot of room for improvement.
“In five years from now, I still see myself being active in the track and field community. Working for a company like Nike, Adidas or Champion, engineering track spikes, shoes or garments for athletes.”
Edwards has a lot of ideas and developments that he wants to contribute to the fashion of track and field.
“In five years from now, I still see myself being active in the track and field community. Working for a company like Nike, Adidas, or Champion, engineering track spikes, shoes or garments for athletes. I also see myself having my own designs and putting myself out there on social media.”
Through his time with the U of NYFW program, Edwards is setting himself on the right track to be successful in the fashion industry. During his time in New York, he learned not to limit himself, and he has proven that through his success in track and field, as well as fashion.