Jacquelyn Jablonski is Creating a Clothing Line for Everyone
The American model Jacquelyn Jablonski has launched a new unisex athleisure clothing brand, Sports Verified. Her goal: to poke fun at the business of sports and athletics. Juggling a bunch of luggage through New York City? That’s a sport. Fighting with your significant other on a balcony? Yep, that too. The lookbook, curated by Jablonski, puts her close friends in a variety of cheeky paparazzi-shot scenarios, straight out of an early-aughts tabloid. Jablonski hopped on the phone with Interview’s Entertainment Director Lauren Tabach-Bank to discuss her ideal Sports Verified customer, her inspiration for the line, and the undying influence of Mariah Carey. —JULIANA UKIOMOGBE
LAUREN TABACH-BANK: So, let’s start. Tell me what inspired you to start Sports Verified.
JACQUELYN JABLONSKI: Well, I was in quarantine and it kind of started as a joke amongst friends, just about everyone’s lack of motivation to do sports or any sort of activity. Then it led to a private Instagram account with funny little memes and jokes. For example, one was Mariah Carey giving the first pitch and failing and throwing it downwards, and she struts away with so much confidence. I’m like, “That’s sports. That’s everything.”
TABACH-BANK: I saw that yesterday.
JABLONSKI: It’s so funny. Then it kind of led to making a hoodie, a shirt, and socks. It’s Sports. The sock has a basketball on it. For the next collection, we did a ping-pong paddle, because ping-pong is a funny sport. It’s just carrying on the joke. Originally, it was just for friends, and then it kind of slowly evolved into something more. People were wearing it and liking it. We sold it this summer at a store in Montauk, just for fun and as an experiment. Then it just led into a fun little project. I was in quarantine speaking with my charity and, obviously, we couldn’t do much fundraising during COVID. So I was like, “Okay, this is a fun way for me to include the charity and have a portion of the proceeds go to Autism Tomorrow.” In April, we’re working on a fun little thing for Autism Awareness Month.
TABACH-BANK: Who, in your mind, is the best Sports Verified customer?
JABLONSKI: I ran into someone the other day. The guy was like, “Sports! Yay! Go sports!” He was jumping up and down. In the lookbook, I think Sports is up for interpretation. In the lookbook, Ian Bradley is a stylist, and he’s struggling with garment bags. That’s very Sports. That’s like full-on sweat, exercise, struggling. In the lookbook, we leaned into this pap [paparazzi] thing and we had little storylines for everyone that also was very true to them. “Key to Ian’s perfect body? Don’t hire an assistant.” We pull inspiration from the world of athletics while having fun with it. I think it’s funny because fashion and sports are so opposite, but I kind of see them making sports fashion, and maybe the Sports customer prioritizes their snooze alarm over a gym class, and that’s fine.
TABACH-BANK: It’s almost like, if you don’t hire an assistant and you’re a stylist and you have all the bags, there’s your sports for the day.
JABLONSKI: Yeah. That’s your sports for the day. You’re good. If you’d rather snooze longer before work than hitting the SoulCycle class, that’s good because you’re going to carry all those bags. You’re good.
TABACH-BANK: When you were designing this, who was your vision of your ultimate Sports Verified person?
JABLONSKI: Honestly, that Mariah Carey video really stuck with me in the beginning. Just the confidence of, “I’m good.” But also, I just think I was really inspired by my friends in the industry in New York. All these different characters and a lot of brands are community-driven. I feel like I founded Sports with this community in mind. I started modeling over 10 years ago and grew close to people in New York and in the industry, and I feel like they all played a very important role in the lookbook and the collection. So I thought, who better to showcase it than all these characters? I didn’t want just models. There are so many funny, awesome people that I’ve met over the years that are friends and photographers and stylists.” My friends Chris and Alex are in the lookbook as well. They’re fighting on their balcony and it’s like, “Oh my god. So much energy.” That’s like a sport in its own way.
TABACH-BANK: Totally. Fighting with your partner is a sport.
JABLONSKI: Yeah. It’s like, “Leave me alone.” So I think they all played an important role, and [model] Hanne [Gaby] is so Sports. The way she ran after her dog in the park when we were shooting her, I’m like, “That’s a workout. You’re good. You just chased Ozzy all over this place. Your workout: complete.” Just her amount of energy, in general, is Sports.
TABACH-BANK: What’s your favorite sporty line, other than your own?
JABLONSKI: Ooh, I don’t know. I feel like I hold a lot of inspiration from a lot of vintage sports lines. I have a lot of vintage Adidas that I was really into. I played soccer a lot as a kid, so I love Kappa. It’s so fun and funny. Really flashy and crazy. I like leaning into the fun of sports. I grew up playing a lot of sports, and I remember specifically joining a sports team because I really liked the red mesh shorts that came with joining the travel team. Literally, I just loved the gear. It was something I’m embarrassed to say. It was a traveling softball team.
TABACH-BANK: A traveling softball team, did you say?
JABLONSKI: Yeah. There was a lot of red gear and I saw people wearing it. I remember my mom picked me up at my friend’s house for practice and I was like, “I don’t want to go. I got the gear. I’m good.”
TABACH-BANK: Got the gear, don’t need to go.
JABLONSKI: Yeah. But I definitely feel like Sports Verified still pulls inspiration from this world of athletics, just with a quirkier, funnier play on the whole thing. Sports is up to your interpretation. I definitely love vintage, so I have all this old vintage sportswear. I think you know I’m a little tomboy. I have these weird mesh shorts that are little gym trunks and gym shorts and old tennis skirts and things like that. I do deep dives on Etsy and eBay for inspiration.
TABACH-BANK: In the past 10 years of your modeling, how do you think that fashion has changed regarding inclusion and unisex clothing? It’s just kind of “shop for your mood”—clothes are much more fluid between the general idea of what men wear and what women wear. With Sports Verified, anyone can wear it.
JABLONSKI: It was really important for me to make everything unisex. I mean, I feel like I find myself shopping the men’s section more sometimes. I wanted a line that’s for everyone. During this time, we’re all at home. So why not lean into some comfort, but with some fun colors and the jokes along with it? The lookbook has so many characters: models, starlets, friends from New York, and friends I’ve met at parties. I love that the lookbook leans into who they are as well.
TABACH-BANK: Right. What is your personal pandemic look? What have you leaned into?
JABLONSKI: I was FaceTiming with Carlotta a lot, who shot the lookbook, and she’s like, “Dude, are you wearing that jumpsuit everyday? The aqua one?” I’m like, “I don’t know. I guess, yeah. I didn’t realize until you got to call me out.” I definitely have been leaning into the comfort thing. Or I’ll do Sports on the bottom and a nicer sweater on top. I’ve been wearing lots of sneakers. We had friends over, meaning the only people we’ve seen in quarantine, and they’re dressed up for no reason. I’m like, “Well, here we are. This is going out these days.”
TABACH-BANK: That leads to my next question. Are you excited to toss the sweats for a day and put on something a little dressier?
JABLONSKI: I am. I mean, I’ve been really wearing this to death, but maybe I’ll wear a little Sports tee with a little skirt and whatnot and still rock the whole thing. But, I’m definitely excited to put on a heel, put on a pump. But I mean, hey, you can wear a pump with a sweatsuit. I’m fine with that.
TABACH-BANK: What are your three essential wardrobe pieces?
JABLONSKI: I definitely have to have a good high-waisted denim. I have this black motorcycle boot that I wear often and a white tee. I feel like I let my jackets run the show a lot of the time. I love a funky jacket and the bottom half is quite basic or more simple. Motorcycle boot, Sports Verified hoodie, a pump, and a Sports Verified dad hat. I love the dad hats. I went to have lunch and I had the dad hat on with something a little more sexy. I felt like it was fun because I was a little tomboy, but a little sexy as well. I think it’s fun to mix it all together.
TABACH-BANK: Where can people buy Sports Verified?
JABLONSKI: Currently, we’re selling on our website.
TABACH-BANK: Finally, what’s your dream store to be carried in?
JABLONSKI: TBD. I will think about that.
TABACH-BANK: Okay. TBD. And then your ultimate person to wear it would be Mariah. That would be like the goal.
JABLONSKI: Mariah Carey would be good. But you know who’s really exciting for me? Marc Jacobs wearing the Sports dad hat with a heel. I was like, “You just summed up Sports. Thank you.” I was like, “Thank you. You are Sports. You’re amazing. Done.”