In her early days, Eileen Guwasi didn’t see much of a difference between fashion and sport. She was passionate about both, and saw them as two halves of the same coin. It wasn’t until she started to experience some of the effects that sports have on people that she realized there was a big difference between what she saw on TV and in the magazines and what was really going on in the world. In this blog post, Eileen shares her story and how it has shaped her outlook on fashion and sport. She argues that these industries are more than just frivolous distractions; they are tools that can be used to empower and express oneself.
Eileen Gu’s early life and inspirations
Eileen Gu was born in Beijing, China in 1964. She is a fashion designer who specializes in sportswear, and her collections have been exhibited at various fashion weeks around the world. Gu’s early life and inspirations heavily influenced her work as a designer.
Gu’s parents were both academics, and she grew up surrounded by books. She graduated from university with a degree in civil engineering, but quickly realized that she didn’t want to work in an office all day. She began designing clothes in 1993, after moving to New York City to pursue her career.
Gu’s initial inspiration for her designs came from street fashion. She wanted to create stylish clothing that could be worn outside of traditional formalwear situations, such as weddings or social events. Her focus on sportswear allows her designs to be versatile and comfortable enough for everyday wear.
Gu has received numerous awards and accolades for her work as a fashion designer, including the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Award for Accessory Design in 2007. Her collections have been featured in publications such as Vogue, GQ, and W Magazine, and she has collaborated with brands including Nike and Adidas
What led Eileen Gu to pursue a career in fashion and sport?
Eileen Gu first became interested in fashion and sport when she was young, watching her mother dress herself and her sister. She loved the sense of power and control that dressing oneself could create.
Gu pursued a career in fashion and sport because she wanted to empower others through her work. She saw fashion as a way to communicate who you are and what you stand for, while sports can help people build self-confidence, discipline, and teamwork skills.
Today, Gu is the Creative Director at Saint Laurent United States, overseeing all creative developments for the brand’s US operations. Her work focused on creating Saint Laurent’s SS19 collection—the first time the label has ever featured a women’s line separate from its menswear collections. The collection was nominated for six awards at this year’s CFDA Awards, including Best Fashion Collection.
In addition to her work at Saint Laurent, Gu is an active ambassador for numerous charities including Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), Girls Inc., and American Red Cross. She also works with Nike to create special athlete collections inspired by iconic moments in women’s history
Eileen Gu’s latest projects and where she’s going next
In her previous blog posts, Eileen Gu discussed the intersection of fashion and sport. This time, she takes a look at some of her latest projects and where she’s going next.
First up is a collaborative project with Nike that focuses on gender-neutral running shoes. She teamed up with the world’s leading footwear brand to create four different versions of the Nike Flyknit Trainer—two for men and two for women. The sneakers are available for pre-order now and will be released in August 2019.
Apart from this, Eileen has also been working on a capsule collection called “Sofia”. It’s inspired by modern Bulgarian girls and their sartorial sensibilities. The line includes dresses, skirts, blouses, hats, belts and more. It’ll be available exclusively at Colette starting October 1st.
Lastly, Eileen is launching her own clothing line called “Nina” in 2020. The line will focus on modern streetwear staples such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies. You can expect to see it stocked at select retailers such as Zara and Mango later that year.
For Eileen Gu, fashion and sport aren’t so different. “Fashion is power,” the 36-year-old says. “When you dress well, you feel good about yourself.” Gu has been dressing well for years. As a professional beach volleyball player, she was always on the go, and her wardrobe had to be versatile enough to fit in with any location or event. A few years ago, while playing in Europe against top competition, she started experiencing pain in her left shoulder that wouldn’t go away no matter how much resting she did. It turned out to be bursitis—an inflammation of the bursa sac located near the shoulder joint. After consulting several doctors and trying many treatments without success, Gu found out about ketosis and decided to try it as a last resort. She began following a ketogenic diet shortly after returning to the United States and within weeks her shoulder pain was gone! Nowadays Gu splits her time between working as an advisor for Los Angeles-based clothing company Nasty Gal and coaching athletes at her personal training studio West Coast Athletics. Her goal? To share what she’s learned about nutrition through injury recovery (and some hilarious stories along the way) so that others can live their best lives too—dressed comfortably and empowered by their looks.”