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Student entrepreneur elevates athletes’ style, secures Super Bowl collaboration

Feb 16, 2024

Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design merchandising major Sam Law has made a business outfitting college and professional athlete... Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design merchandising major Sam Law has made a business outfitting college and professional athletes. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana UniversityIn the space where fashion and sports intersect, Indiana University freshman Sam Law has become the preferred outfitter for a growing roster of athletes. With an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for fashion, Law is making a name for himself, boosted by his recent collaboration with Kansas City Chiefs rookie and former IU football standout Cam Jones on his tunnel fit for Super Bowl LVIII.

(For those not in the know, a tunnel fit is the outfit professional athletes wear on their way to the locker room before a game.)

Making connections

While still in high school, Law launched a business sourcing designer shoes and streetwear. Initially he sold shoes to other high school students via Snapchat and Instagram, but the market was limited and profits were slim.

A Bloomington native, Law had attempted to make connections with IU athletes but wasn’t getting responses. The summer before his senior year of high school, he spotted IU basketball player Xavier Johnson trying to sell some shoes on social media and took a chance.

“I messaged him and said, ‘I sell things; I’ll help you sell them,’” Law said. “And I thought, even if I don’t make a commission, I’ll get to meet him.”

Former IU football player and Kansas City Chiefs rookie Cam Jones wearing a Gallery Dept. shirt. Photo courtesy of the Kansas C... Former IU football player and Kansas City Chiefs rookie Cam Jones wearing a Gallery Dept. shirt. Photo courtesy of the Kansas City ChiefsThe risk paid off. Law forged a relationship with Johnson, who hooked him up with other IU athletes. The business grew over the next year, giving him more capital to work with. As Law began stocking popular brands like Fear of God Essentials and Gallery Dept. and bringing suitcases full of clothes on his sales runs, he built a client base of satisfied customers.

“I like how Sam is consistent with bringing in new clothing trends and how he’s willing to go the extra mile to get you right,” said Kaleb Banks, a sophomore on the IU basketball team.

As a savvy Gen Z’er, Law also used social media to build his brand.

“I’ve always gotten a picture with everyone who’s bought something; I tag them, they tag me, and you get a ton of followers that way,” said Law, now a merchandising major in IU’s Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design. “When an athlete shouts you out, they have followers from so many other teams because they’ve been in those networks since they were kids.”

Expanding his business

The changing landscape of collegiate athletics has been integral to Law’s business. The introduction of the NCAA’s name, image and likeness policy in 2021 made it possible for athletes to earn money from endorsements, which led to more spending money in their pockets.

And with the NCAA’s transfer portal making it easier for athletes to move between programs, players Law worked with at IU are connecting him to their new teammates and broadening his market.

He traveled to Ann Arbor to sell to University of Michigan football players, and he set up showrooms in Bloomington’s Graduate Hotel when teams from the University of Iowa and University of Maryland (and former IU basketball player Jordan Geronimo) came to town.

As the business and profits continue to grow, Law is figuring out what his future holds. He recently signed a contract with Adidas to work on campus as a social media influencer. And his business has expanded further, thanks to his personal and business relationships with players like IU basketball alum Jalen Hood-Schifino who have moved on to professional sports.

Which brings us to the Super Bowl and that tunnel fit.

Going pro

“What’s crazy is, I’ve never met Cam in person,” Law said. “I messaged him, told him I sold to his IU teammates and said I wanted to work with professional athletes, and he said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’”

“I saw the work Sam was doing for people in Bloomington and got good feedback,” Jones said. “Working with Sam for my rookie season has been nothing but great.”

Cam Jones in his Super Bowl tunnel fit with pieces chosen by IU student Sam Law. Photo courtesy of the Kansas City ... Cam Jones in his Super Bowl “tunnel fit” with pieces chosen by IU student Sam Law. Photo courtesy of the Kansas City ChiefsAs Law got to know Jones and his style preferences, he found pieces that lined up with Jones’ casual, clean aesthetic (and later showed up on the Chiefs’ Instagram feed). When the Chiefs clinched the AFC Championship, Law jumped at an opportunity.

“I texted him, ‘Congrats, let’s get you a Super Bowl outfit,’ and he was like, ‘Yes, perfect,’” Law said.

They quickly collaborated over text about pieces, and Law sent Jones a Denim Tears hoodie and mnml flared jeans, black denim jeans and cargo pants to take to Las Vegas. On Super Bowl Sunday, Jones walked through the tunnel wearing the cargo pants with a simple white T-shirt and his own letter jacket.

The collaboration with Jones has been more than professionally rewarding for Law.

“He knows my major, he knows that I’m young, and he’s a very supportive person,” Law said. “It’s definitely been very fun” working with Jones.

For Jones, the admiration is mutual.

“When we work together, there’s no pressure; Sam is open to my ideas and gives ideas himself,” Jones said. “There’s nothing that Sam can’t find or get done. He’s cool as hell.”

Author

University Communications and Marketing

Jen Hockney Bratton

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