To make our players proud and representative of our rich brand history through logos and core elements from our current and past uniforms
To pay tribute to our city’s DNA and diverse fan culture using symbolic colors, shapes, patterns and terminologies
To reflect the regional landscape featuring local well known works of art, architecture and familiar skylines
To be unique and creative within this new branded opportunity by driving player, fan and organizational excitement through celebrated and strategic designs
Stance is the official sock of the NBA, and now, it’s the official sock of another renowned sports organization.
The brand announced today it is now the official sock of Major League Baseball. In an email statement, Stance confirmed it has entered a long-term global partnership with the league.
“There is nothing as prolific as the Major League Baseball uniform, and we have been eyeing it for years as a potential canvas for the unique style Stance can bring,” Clarke Miyasaki, EVP of business development at Stance, said in a statement. “It’s extremely rare for any brand to have such an impactful and unique opportunity, so we can’t wait to work with the league to bring an incredible performance sock to the best players in the world.”
Stance said it created the Fusion Baseball sock for the league, building it to provide the durability and comfort needed to cater to the specific needs of baseball players.
“Socks were a forgotten piece of apparel and completely overlooked as a piece of technical equipment,” said Taylor Shupe, a Stance founder and its chief product officer. “There hasn’t been any real innovation in the space despite how important socks actually are in achieving comfort and function to protect the foot. This particular sock is going to open the eyes of a lot of players to what they’ve been missing out on.”
One technique I use to make sure we hit our target creatively is to clearly define the objectives of any major project. This allows the entire design team to align with upper management and it also gives us a way to start the project on the right foot, by asking a lot of questions, which is always good. Especially for a scope of work that could impact our brand for the next x plus years as part of our official on-field uniform. This on-field sock project was something we all needed to be proud of, not only organizational-wide and fans, but for the players themselves as well. This is why I always start any major creative proposal with the objectives - this allows us to level set in the boardroom with key stakeholders and also lets everyone know the "why". Then, the last stage of my process before I submit is always to circle back to the objectives when we're done - then we know, design-wise, we not only have made something that looks beautiful but we also know why our creative matters.
A project this size, with many stakeholders and a lot on the line, requires some major communication on the art direction and the ability to execute. Using mood boards to help capture an idea or ideas and manage expectations is an essential tool. This doesn't mean to under deliver, it actually means to bring them along for the journey and make them part of the process. Every project has its own set of challenges, but when large baseball operations (clubhouse) budgets are on the line in addition to large retail merchandise orders (team store) and large partnership deals (Stance Socks), it is imperative to over communicate the creative direction and get complete buyin on the execution. Mood boards allow us to do that as creatives, at a very high level. When speaking to c-suite leaders, it is important to define the objective and educate on the creative process. Especially when fan affinity and brand integrity are directly affected by the design - you have to factor in the city and the team, which both have rich history - but also you can't forget the tap into national trends and local jargon (HTX and H-TOWN) in order to surpass design expectations and visually define what is being agreed to.
The GEO-REPRESENT concept (center) did not make it to the final approval, never saw production and got left on the cutting room floor. It is all part of the process . Sometimes it takes developing what you "don't want" before your can discover exactly "what you want" and deliver to stakeholders what they don't know. Sounds crazy, but works and is absolutely not a waste of time - just depends how your stakeholders digest creative.
CREATIVE DIRECTION // Chris David Garcia
DESIGNER - Modern Retro Sock // Chris David Garcia
DESIGNER - H-Town Represent Sock // Joe Smaldone