Rugby Hall of Famer, Phaidra Knight, has teamed up with leading fashion manufacturer, The Powell Companies Real, LLC (TPCR) to launch PSK Collective, a fusion of activewear and streetwear designed to push the boundaries of today’s fashion offerings, combining top trends with functional details to empower, inspire and unleash the inner athlete, as well as shift existing attitudes surrounding fashion, expression and equality.
As a lifelong athlete, Knight never had the “traditional” female figure and was often forced to turn to custom clothing to fit her strong and athletic build. Realizing she wasn’t alone in her struggle, Knight was inspired to create the PSK Collective – a functional, size-inclusive and sustainably-designed activewear line that gives back a significant amount of proceeds to young women in sports. Identifying this whitespace in the fashion market, PSK Collective caters to athletic-bodied girls, women and individuals alike. Further pushing the boundaries of style and equality are the brand’s team of Ambassadors – a group of 10 champion professional female athletes across diverse backgrounds and sports – each of whom uphold the brand’s core values of perseverance, strength and inclusivity, inspiring the athlete within all of us.
The PSK Collective is a fusion of activewear and streetwear. It is designed to push the boundaries of today’s fashion offerings, combining top trends with functional details to empower, inspire and unleash the inner athlete. It is also designed to shift existing attitudes around fashion, expression and equality. Standing apart from the competition, the brand is launching a full court press for the greater good of social justice, and offers inclusive sizing and accessible price points so that all women can enjoy the shopping experience together, regardless of their age, size or background. The collection features stylish, comfortable apparel across all categories, along with contemporary fashion items including face masks and other PPE, all thoughtfully designed with notions of flawless, confidence-inspiring fits and real women in mind.
The collection is being launched to bring much needed exposure to female athletes worldwide, and in beneficiary partnership with the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) – a sport- and equity-based nonprofit organization with which Knight has been associated for years. Knight’s role in WSF has advanced during that time from an advocacy internship responsibility to a WSF Athlete Ambassador and member of the Board of Trustees. Knight joins many other notable international Collective athletes committed to empowering the next generation of female athletes, and are doing so in many ways, including donating 15% of all PSK Collective net profits to WSF’s efforts.
We spoke with Phaidra Knight, Founder of PSK Collective, to hear from her firsthand about her journey as a champion professional female athlete, her road to creating PSK Collective and more.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a black female athlete and how did you overcome them?
“As a black woman in sport, and as a woman in sport, I’ve experienced gross underfunding. Women’s sports in general don’t get a lot of funding. I don’t think that there are a lot of opportunities for black women athletes especially those that come from a little bit more of marginalized backgrounds to get funding to play sports. It was also hard being a black female athlete in a white male sport; resources were typically allocated to men. Men on an equal playing field to myself and other top female athletes in our positions were routinely favored for sponsorships and media coverage. I was singled out many times or penalized for my physicality, I was told I was too rough. If you think about it I’m a muscular aggressive black woman who is coming in contact with maybe a smaller white woman and clearly dominating the point of contact, there was a lot of judgement passed there. It was not an easy thing originally. I just overcame it, I continued to be aggressive, continue to push the envelope and others began to do the same. I’m stubborn and I decided I was going to do what I wanted to do and be strong in it, even though sometimes it came with criticism and penalty. I also needed to reflect back on my ancestors, on the folks that had created legacies before me. I felt if I’m not going to push the boundaries and do the things that some others are allowed to do then I’m really doing an injustice to myself and to those people who come after me.”
What was your inspiration behind the creation of PSK Collective?
“It was very difficult finding clothing that fit my muscular thighs or broad shoulders while showcasing my street inspired yet androgynous look. It was always an intimidating experience going into stores because all of the product was cut for a different body type. I was really inspired to create this fully inclusive, diversity-focused fusion of street and activewear that would cater to athletically-bodied girls and women. Beyond style and fashion I wanted to combine this love of clothing with my passion for women’s rights and equality.”
How did you come to partner with TPCR for this project?
“After meeting Zahra Bahari, CEO of TPCR, we had an immediate mind melt of what could be done here along with the importance of this line and the importance of giving back. And I think that is an important quality that TPCR brings to the table – they go beyond making amazing clothes, caring very deeply about social causes. It was sort of a match made in heaven.”
Who is PSK Collective created for? Why?
“The PSK Collective is created for everyone. Right now we have a women’s line with clothing that will fit women sized XS – 3XL that is fully inclusive and diversity-focused. Whether you have the body of an athlete or the body of a non-athlete , whether you like wearing leggings, baggy sweats, dresses, or shorts, there is something for everyone. We’ve got things that are universal such as the unisex Equal Pay Rugby Jerseys that are authentic Rugby’s and PPE product, and welcome boys and men wearing PSK Collective as well. We are all about inclusivity and equality for all– there is a place for everyone within this line to find pieces they enjoy and take comfort in.”
What is your hope for PSK Collective?
“My hope for the PSK Collective is that we continue to produce really good clothing, grow the line exponentially, and give back a ton of money to the charities that we care about. I
I’ve teamed up with TPCR, one of the premier diversified apparel and accessories designers and manufacturers. We have amazing brand ambassadors for PSK Collective. This brand stands for so much more than just clothes – we are here to change the way in which female athletes are viewed, while opening up a very important and overdue conversation about the equality of women in sports.”