So next week is big! That’s when we’ll launch the first two designs of our Power of 9 collection – a collaborative project with Title Nine in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Title IX Enactment which really kick started women’s sports in a big way across the country. As I watch my daughters, ages 9 and 13, compete, run, play soccer, and make sports an every day part of their lives, I am floored by the amount of change that has taken place in forty years – and how lucky we all are to not even question that this is the norm.

As for the celebratory tee collection, a bit of background first…

Before I started Oiselle, I worked as a brand strategist for my own company Waywords. And before that, I did the same type of work for a boutique design firm here in Seattle, now owned by Fitch. My work was all about translating business strategies into design ideas (whether it was a company name, logo, set of messages, or website). The work was fun because businesses desperately need creativity…and creativity needs a lot of help getting up the corporate ladder. And it was my experience working with brands like Nike, Reebok, and Nordstrom that gave me the confidence to start Oiselle. (My primary observation, once working with these companies, was that there was no secret sauce – and that when it came to women runners, I knew as much, if not more, than they did. Or at least that’s what entrepreneurial ego told me! Sucker.)

So when I started Oiselle, I always knew that good design would be central to who we are and what we do. Part of apparel design is fabric and silhouettes, and where you put that handy zippered pocket. But for me, another very important part is the texture that graphics can bring to a garment to give it meaning, a personality, or even a message. That’s what’s behind our success in graphic tees – and was also the kernel of the idea for the Power of 9 collection.

The Title IX Anniversary seemed like the ideal occasion to seek collaboration with Title Nine, one of my all time favorite companies. A company that I had been following since its first catalog in the early 90’s, and whose founder Missy Park, I admire a ton. Teaming up with Missy – as well as a select group of top-notch women designers – at first seemed like a fanciful, unlikely dream. But thanks to Missy’s interest – and our agreement on the significance of the anniversary – we agreed the time was right. That was almost a year ago!

Next week, you will see the first two designs (out of a total of seven, that will be unveiled between now and May). No peeking yet! But just keep an eye on the blog later this week. I will introduce you to the first two designers, and tell you more about them. Their work, both for this project, and others – is incredible. (I will just drop one little hint about the first design…it would be PERFECT for a Valentine’s gift, for anyone who LOVES sports.) Viva women in sports! Viva the power of 9!