Sami Miro On Dressing Team USA's Gymnastics Team

Los Angeles-based designer Sami Miro is enjoying a full circle moment. A former gymnast herself, she has teamed up with Nike and USA Gymnastics (USAG) to create a custom jacket for the final USAG Women’s Gymnastics team. A team which, by the way, is the most decorated cohort in USA Gymnastics Olympic Trials history, per ESPN. On the team? None other than Simone Biles, Sunisa "Suni" Lee, Jordan Chiles, Jade Carey and Hezley Rivera.

Miro's custom creation was inspired by the Greek goddess of victory herself, Nike, and made to simultaneously evoke a sense of confidence and strength (via leather inlays) and etherealness (through the luscious silk charmeuse fabric). Given the superhuman feats these atheletes regularly perform, it makes sense to dress them in garments fit for Gods. "Nike's clothing helped her look even more powerful," the designer explained to Hypebae, "and that is how I see these gymnasts: performing at the highest level of power, strength, magnitude and glory. I want them to feel even more powerful wearing the bespoke piece that I made them."

Continue scrolling to learn more about Sami Miro's design process for the special jacket and how gymnastics has shaped the entrepreneur and designer she is today.

Sami Miro, Nike, Team USA, USA Gymnastics
Sami Miro, Nike, Team USA, USA Gymnastics


Sami Miro, Nike, Team USA, USA Gymnastics
Sami Miro, Nike, Team USA, USA Gymnastics

How does it feel as a designer and former gymnast yourself to take on this project with Nike and the USA Women's Gymnastics team?
I was a competitive gymnast for 10 years, so it is the biggest full circle moment I've experienced. Gymnastics was a very important part of my life and it contributed to the person that I am today in terms of my work ethic and drive, as well as my love of health and fitness. I'm honored that I'm the designer Nike and USAG chose to make the first bespoke jackets for the Olympic team – it's all just a perfect storm.

Where did you look to for inspiration for the jacket design?
My inspiration was Nike, the [Greek] goddess of victory. I wanted to lean into the gymnasts' strengths and to symbolize all of the greatness and all of the glory that these women bring to the Games. I was researching the goddess of victory and the images that inspired me the most depicted Nike with her toga flowing in the wind, and it just made her appear even more grandiose than she already was.

Sami Miro, Nike, Team USA, USA Gymnastics
Sami Miro, Nike, Team USA, USA Gymnastics

Your creative process is very technical and focused on elevating the materials. Was functionality important in creating the jacket and how did you design them to complement the mobility and fluidity the gymnasts bring to the sport?
Having been a gymnast myself, I know what these athletes wear and how they want to feel when they enter a competition. I wanted to make sure that everything was extremely cohesive and elevated to create the final perfect look for them. It's fashion-forward, but still a proper outfit that they can wear at the competition, so we’re pushing the boundaries a little bit, but within reason.

I wanted to take a silhouette that is more athletic, but something that I love to do as a designer is figure out how I can take something that's a staple in everyone's closet and add my special, unique touches. My biggest signature design element is the open seams, which are made out of contrasted leather, while the base of the jacket is crafted from silk charmeuse. The USAG logo on the back also arrives in leather. We were going for an all-over cream look, so these elements elevate the monochromatic look by mixing these different fabrications. The open seams broaden the shoulders, while bringing in the waist, so the silhouette of the jacket itself evokes power, too. I just want them to look and feel as amazing as they are.

Sami Miro, Nike, Team USA, USA Gymnastics
Sami Miro, Nike, Team USA, USA Gymnastics

Fashion and gymnastics are both incredibly meticulous and movement driven art forms. Do you feel that doing gymnastics for the majority of your childhood impacted your design process and approach to fashion?
I am the designer that I am because of gymnastics. I learned to be determined and committed as a very young child. It's the only thing I know how to do, the only way I know how to be.

When you are a gymnast, you have to be extremely mindful of every single thing that you're doing and think through every element. Let's say you're doing a flip on the beam: you have to be in the right headspace. You have to be extremely focused on that one thing. You can't be thinking about anything else because it's such a dangerous sport. Every single tiny muscle in your body has to move perfectly to do every single skill and I think that definitely goes into my designs because I approach a red carpet couture dress and a T-shirt with the same meticulousness. I think about it all the same way – how is every single stitch going to really enhance what each garment is.

 

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If you are interested in reading more about inspiring athletes, why not check out Nike's Pegasus 41 Relay or meet Coach Dora?