Maggie Vessey: A Stand Out On The Track.
At Leader of the Track, we love runners who like to take a risk, especially when it comes to on point track apparel. Last Year, Runners World wrote a brilliant article on American, 800m runner, Maggie Vessey who decided to make her mark by not only proving herself as one of the track elite but also as a track style icon, teaming up with high fashion designer Merlin Castell (www.merlincastell.com) who has designed outfits for Paula Abdul, Priscilla Presley and Paris Hilton just to name a few. It’s great to see an athlete daring to be different and expressing their personality through their outfit on the track! More athletes should start taking more risks with their competition apparel and not be afraid to stand out! With the push for sublimated sports apparel, options for colours and design are endless when it comes to producing athletics apparel which stands out.
The following article on Maggie Vessey was featured in the July Issue of Runners World in 2014. Story by Megan Hetzel.
Elite track runner Maggie Vessey debuted personalized, eye-popping outfits at track meets throughout the year, transforming the oval into a high-speed runway.
When her relationship with former backer New Balance ended in January, Vessey resolved to take advantage of her newly blank slate and build a brand that truly reflected her.
“When that ended, it was a really painful thing,” Vessey says of her sponsorship. “I cried about it and mourned the loss of it, but very quickly it came to me, ‘What’s this going to solve?’ I realized I wanted to become the boss of my own life, so I decided to start creating my own outfits.”
Vessey says she’s always been interested in fashion, describing her aesthetic as elegant and regal with a dash of playful and fun. To make her vision a reality, Vessey partnered with Merlin Castell, a Los Angeles-based clothing designer.
“I’ll sketch my idea, then Merlin will offer his expert perspective,” says Vessey, who draws inspiration from clothing already in her closet or from an upcoming race. “Once we agree on the colors, the shape, the size, everything, he’ll create a sample that we draw on and pin to make it as perfect as we can. Then he creates the final product, we do one last fitting, and then usually I’m out the door going to a race.”
The process of producing each outfit — from sketch to the starting line — has typically taken only four or five days.
“Up until now, I have not been practicing in them simply just because of timing, but I’ve learned that that’s a very important part of the process to be able to correct for small stuff,” Vessey says. “When I took about three strides into a race in one of the first outfits I wore, it gave me a wedgie right off the bat. Something shifted in the bra area with another one, and I ran with fabric up around my shoulders.”
But that’s not to say Vessey hasn’t proven the expression “When you look good, you feel good.”
In a black one-piece with cut-outs, the 32-year-old won the 400-meters with a personal best at May’s Occidental Invite in Los Angeles. One week later, she placed second in the 800-meters at the USATF High Performance Distance Classic, running her fastest time at that distance since 2011. (Watch the race hereto see her outfit.)
So far, Vessey says the feedback she’s received has been, for the most part, encouraging.
“Before the trials at USATF Championships, one of the girls pulled me aside and said, ‘I just want to thank you for what you’re doing for track and field,'” Vessey says. “It was such a beautiful moment because we were about to go compete, but yet she’s still felt inclined to say that to me. I was just overwhelmed with gratitude to know that what I was doing was being well-received by my competitors.
“I do want to draw attention to the sport and maybe get people who aren’t necessarily interested in track and field to give them a reason to be interested,” Vessey says. “But it is a very authentic expression of who I am, and I now have this opportunity to be able to put that out there, be bold, and take a risk. However, first and foremost, my focus is just on winning and putting out a a product that represents me.”
Check out a rundown of the outfits she’s worn this season here. More designs are in the works for her fall races overseas.