Gigi Hadid on Designing With Reebok, Building Her Confidence & Becoming an Athleisure Street-Style Star

Gigi Hadid’s highly anticipated collection with Reebok has arrived.

On the heels of last year’s capsule line, the model has made available the pieces from her full apparel and footwear collaboration on Reebok.com, featuring an assortment of color-blocked patterns and ’90s-inspired designs in some of the brand’s signature silhouettes — including the trendy Aztrek Double sneaker with its chunky sole and the Freestyle Hi.

Inspired by her background as a teen volleyball player in Malibu, Calif., Hadid celebrated the launch by flying in her former coaches and high school teammates, joining the student volleyball team at the Dream Charter School in East Harlem, N.Y., on Monday for a hands-on session where the 23-year-old demonstrated her impressive athletic skills. She also hosted an educational workshop with Reebok designers, sharing the process behind her latest sartorial venture.

On the inspiration for her collection:

“When I first sat down to talk about what I wanted my collection to be, I just closed my eyes and felt myself walking into my high school gym. I thought about the player and what I would want to work out and sweat in — fabricwise, movementwise and colorwise.”

On bringing in her heritage:

“We were going through old Reebok logos and graphics to try to see how I could take one and make it my own. Reebok used to have a T-shirt with the original Reebok flags. I reinterpreted the American flag, the Dutch flag and the Palestinian flag, which are my parents’ roots, and I incorporated those reimagined flags. That was a theme throughout — trying to merge our heritage.”

A shot from the campaign for Reebok x Gigi Hadid's new collection
A shot from the campaign for Reebok x Gigi Hadid’s new collection.
CREDIT: Reebok

On the importance of comfort:

“Through designing other lines and being a model going through fittings a lot and working with tailors, we did a few [design meetings], and I just tried all this stuff. That’s really important to me — thinking about all the people who are going to wear it and trying to make something that works. I obviously have only my comfortability that I can be sure about, but I try to think about as many people as I can to make it adjustable. Whatever makes you feel cute, comfortable and ready to play is what you should wear.”

On the impact of sports on her modeling career:

“That’s what’s fun about me and Reebok. They see me like the world sees me — in style — but they mostly see me as an athlete, and that’s what I really appreciate about them. You guys love me for the reason that I found confidence in myself growing up, which was through being an athlete. When I came to Reebok, I wanted that story to be about how being an athlete very much made me the person that I am, put me in this situation, gave me a work ethic and a drive to get here. I think these shoes are almost the story of my life: the athlete turned fashion.”

On the dad shoe’s ubiquity:

“I’m a volleyball player, but I also love being active outdoors. [The Aztrek Double] is a shoe that is in style right now — the dad shoe. But a lot of people are buying thousand-dollar dad shoes and can’t actually go to the gym in them. I’m making the dad shoe that can actually support your foot, and you can play anything in it.”

On her sneakers’ unisex sizing:

I thought, ‘Why not be more inclusive if we have the possibility to be? My friends are like, ‘I’m so happy you made it in guys’ sizes.’ Even my coach.”

Reebok x Gigi Hadid Aztrek Double Sneaker
Reebok x Gigi Hadid Aztrek sneaker.
CREDIT: Reebok

On being called an “athleisure street-style star”:

“When I’m comfortable, I can be my most confident self … My style was very practical. I moved to New York from Malibu [Calif.]. I was going to class at the New School, and after class, I would take the subway to the gym, and I didn’t want to change into leggings, so I would wear leggings with a sports bra and a T-shirt, and then I would do a cute coat and a cute scarf and cute boots and a cute bag. I was already in my workout stuff, and I would put my sneakers in my bag or wear my sneakers if it wasn’t winter. As I randomly started to become more successful, one day I’d walk out and there’s paparazzi outside, but I just kept being myself. I wore leggings because they were comfortable, and it felt like me. That turned into what now people call the ‘athleisure street-style star.’ I don’t really see myself as that. That’s just what I wanted to wear, but I’m into it.”

On designing pieces that work in the gym and on the streets:

“That’s also why the partnership with Reebok came so naturally. I was an athlete, but I could also show Reebok collections on the street as fashion. I think that really relates to the consumer now … It was also definitely made for the gym. I don’t agree with activewear lines nowadays that are not made to work out in or not made for the gym. I wanted to make sure it made sense for both my fashion side and my athlete side … Athleisure is what very much comes naturally to me. Through designing a lot of different collections over the years, I think this one is kind of what my teenage self would be really stoked on.”

On building one’s confidence:

“I want people to find the things that inspire them in life and the things that they love that build up who they are. For example, if modeling didn’t work out for me, I could’ve been a college volleyball player. I could’ve continued to study criminal psychology. I built myself and my confidence on things that had nothing to do with my looks. The more you can build yourself in other ways — through talents, hobbies and goals — then you value yourself. That’s what I want the message of this collection to be.”

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