Alaysha Johnson, Olympics, Hurdles

Alaysha Johnson Elevates Black Designer As She Qualifies for Paris 2024 Olympics

Olympic hurdler Alaysha Johnson is using her platform to empower this Black designer as she heads to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

As Johnson, a 100-meter hurdler, qualified to join Team USA at the Paris 2024 Olympics during the Olympic Track and Field Trials in late June, she adorned clothes created by Phillip Mims for his HMN ALNS clothing company. He draws inspiration for his designs from anime, runway fashion, and streetwear.

“It was all God,” she said in a post-race interview held on June 30. “I already knew before the season started what was coming for me. I literally…I knew it was the easiest thing to do because everybody all the time said that I wasn’t good enough, said that I didn’t deserve. So I did this my way. My team’s way and just the way it was meant to be. This is for the hood babies. This is for the people who are born and came from nothing. This is for everybody that looks like me that was ever doubted, and I did it with a Black designer on my chest.”

As a product of the University of Oregon, Johnson expected to have offers from sports brands lined up at her door during her quest to the Olympics, especially since Nike is housed just 111 miles away in Beaverton, Oregon. When that wasn’t the case, she took matters into her own hands and was intentionally out to find Black designers to rock in her journey to the Paris 2024 Olympics. 

Mims was shocked to find out that Johnson had sported a piece from his brand because before the Olympic trials, she approached the HMN ALNS team about wearing some of his pieces, however, he told her that he did not have anything in stock due to their small inventory. Instead, Mims says he believes that Johnson went and purchased the outfit on her own, which included a black bodysuit with shorts, a half bikini, along with a half-high neck top.

“I would have never thought that you could even be running in that,” said Mims, who also highlighted that this particular outfit pairing showcased Johnson’s “creativity.” 

Moreover, although Johnson did not name-drop the Black designer or HMN ALNS during her post-race interview, Mims believes that it is all a part of her strategy to uplift Black-owned brands that don’t always get to shine on the world stage.

“To me, what she was really saying is kind of like, ‘insert any black designer here,’” he said. “She didn’t need to have a Nike or a Lululemon. Like, there’s other designers out there.”

Johnson and Team USA will take the world stage during the Paris 2024 Olympics, which commences on July 26, and continues until Aug. 11.

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