Just last week, the fitness conglomerate Peloton announced its latest collection with the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Peloton and Basquiat’s estate came together to create fitness apparel that included some of the artist’s work printed on athleisure wear. To authentically celebrate Black History Month, Peloton wanted to focus on a figure who has influenced and moved communities of color, which Basquiat has done to the fullest.
“I feel like we should mark the celebration for our members and our employees,” VP of Peloton Apparel, Jill Foley told ESSENCE. “So, when I thought, how do you make a collection for Black History Month? It’s about celebrating the contribution black people have made to art, science, politics, sports, etc.,” she exclaimed.
The collection features 13 pieces (5 women’s, 6 unisex and 2 accessories), that best exemplify the thematic connections between Basquiat’s work and Peloton’s values — greatness, diversity, empowerment, and the power of music. ESSENCE got a chance to chat with Foley about how the collection came about, check it out below.
“What’s Black History Month about?” It’s about celebrating America. It’s about celebrating the contribution black people have made.” – Jill Foley
ESSENCE: How did the collection come about?
Foley: Over last spring and summer, we were talking about the cultural moments that Peloton was going to be celebrating this year, and one of which was Black History Month, and I wanted, this year, to support it with apparel. It took me a lot of time to do something that felt right. So, I started really thinking, “What’s Black History Month about?” It’s about celebrating America. It’s about celebrating the contribution black people have made. I’ve loved Basquiat since I was a teen. So, I took out my old book on Basquiat, and I started looking at it, thinking, “Wow, there’s a lot of synergy with the themes we believe at Peloton.” This idea of greatness and empowerment, that’s why we make the products that we make.
ESSENCE: How do you make sure that you are creating an honorary yet respectful collection?
Foley: That gives you anxiety, to be honest, but what is great about working with the estate and Artestar is they’re heavily involved. They make sure that you don’t make any wrong turns. They approve everything. They had to approve the cast. They approved the samples. At one point, we had a legging, and we couldn’t get the red right, so I dropped that legging. They worked very closely with us to make sure we were honoring Basquiat and his legacy.
ESSENCE: How hands-on were you?
Foley: I’m pretty hands-on. It was really a passion project for me but it was truly a cross-collaboration with a lot of our teams.
ESSENCE: What’s one takeaway you want customers to remember when wearing these pieces?
Foley: I’m an employee of Peloton, but I’m also a member, and what’s very important for me from this brand is I want all of our members to feel like they belong with Peloton. I think, by celebrating Black History Month, and by celebrating Basquiat in this way, it sends that message of open-mindedness and inclusivity. So, I want them to buy a piece, put it on, and feel like, “I feel good. I feel I’m a part of something. I feel like I belong.”
Shop the Peloton x Basquiat collection here.