Khalid in Reebok’s Club C sneakers.
Courtesy of Reebok
Reebok has done it again. Earlier this month, the brand teamed up with award-winning R&B singer-songwriter Khalid for the “Sport the Unexpected” campaign. The 22-year-old groundbreaking artist joined the likes of Cardi B, Ariana Grande and more one-of-a-kind stars to take the iconic sneaker powerhouse to the next level.
Not only did he kick (literally) Reebok’s timeless Classic Leather and Club C styles up a notch, Khalid brought a fresh bold perspective to the initiative. “I love how they mix old and new and honor the classics with fresh twists,” he said of the company in a statement. “I hope we can inspire a new generation of people to be themselves and take creative chances.”
The true champ of it all was Khalid’s dog Maui who received a well-deserved spotlight in the campaign. His pup was decked out in a custom red, blue and white tracksuit, which was created by Maryland-based designer Velma Lee. While Reebok’s footwear and apparel game for people is undoubtedly on point, they had to outsource special talent for this project. The best part is, fans can enter online for a chance to win the limited edition doggy track jacket for their own pet.
Who knows, maybe this Khalid collaboration could be the start of something new? Until Reebok comes out with more adorable gear for your pooch, let’s dive into how the partnership came together with the rising Mid-Atlantic designer. It’s not everyday you get a call from a major billion dollar brand requesting you to come up with an outfit for a chart-topping musician’s dog.
Isis Briones: Everything about this was adorable, how did you come up with the design for the tracksuit?
Velma Lee: “My inspiration for my design and construction of Maui’s tracksuit originates from my personal people clothing design philosophy of beautiful, bold, ‘timeless yet edgy’ clean-line designs. When I look at a piece of fabric, my imagination immediately runs numerous possibilities of designs like a video through my mind. Then, I narrow those designs to match the actual construction process of what will have the greatest success. My beautiful mom bought me two of my all-time favorite outfits, which I wore in second grade school pictures and could make and sell to anyone today. They were gorgeous, sleek, unique, edgy and timeless.”
IB: What’s next in pet design for you?
VL: “I have created custom pet clothing for select clients. Their owners had very specific requests such as a dog wool double-lined water repellent hooded belted jacket with two-way zippered large opening for heavy harness and leash. Or a pet harness to aid an ailing ferret. So yes, I plan on creating more dog/pet custom clothing products. I would also like to design and create custom owner/dog matching clothes.”
IB: How does it feel having the opportunity to work with someone as incredible as Khalid and his dog?
VL: “I feel so thankful and joyful to work on this project for Khalid, his dog Maui and Reebok. It has been an honor to create something so special, unique and beautiful for the adorable Maui”
Khalid poses for Reebok’s Sport the Unexpected campaign.
Courtesy of Reebok
IB: What would you say was the most challenging part about bringing the look together?
VL: “The most challenging parts of bringing this look together was thinking about all the possible ways that the dog, Maui, would be moving, standing, walking, posing or jumping in the shoot and what would be used in the final photo product. I was trying to see what the outfit would look like from multiple camera angles.
Another challenge was making sure the tracksuit perfectly fit Maui’s size and stature, while allowing for full movement and somehow continuing to be gentle. I actually built a mannequin that acted like a little Maui double to ensure everything fit just right.”
IB: If you could work with any other celebrity pet, who would it be and why?
VL: “If I could choose the next one, perhaps it would be Lady Gaga’s dog, Asia. I love Lady Gaga’s music and I love her doggy’s name.”