WNBA, 2024 Season, Basketball

Esther Wallace Drops 2024 Playa Society Summer Collection For WNBA

Playa Society's new hoodie and T-shirt for the WNBA says, "If You're Just Now Tuning Into Women's Basketball, We Told You So."

Esther Wallace, the visionary founder and owner of Playa Society, has unveiled the latest apparel collaboration with the WNBA, paying tribute to the players who have propelled the burgeoning popularity of women’s basketball.

The summer 2024 drop features a hoodie and T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase, “If You’re Just Now Tuning Into Women’s Basketball, We Told You So.” According to Andscape, the tagline encapsulates Wallace’s mission with Playa Society and her unwavering commitment to elevate the players. “This collection pays homage to those who built this — the players, the creators — everyone who knew we were dope and did the work to get us here,” Wallace said.

Wallace’s passion for apparel design ignited during her childhood, and as a former basketball player, she aspired to impact women’s basketball as a designer rather than a coach. Her entrepreneurial journey commenced after returning to the U.S. from playing overseas while pursuing her master’s degree.

The pivotal moment that propelled the brand into prominence occurred in 2017 with the unveiling of a T-shirt design with a strike through the word “Female” positioned above the word “Athlete” on a separate line. “When I designed it, I had a feeling this could probably be big,” she said. Initially selling at farmers’ markets, the overwhelming demand prompted her to shift sales online. “So at first, I was nervous to put it out because I wasn’t sure, but I finally put it out, and all of a sudden, I was selling hundreds of these T-shirts.”

Playa Society’s inception in 2018 drew inspiration from the iconic “Love & Basketball” scene where Monica declares, “I’m a ball playa.” WNBA players immediately embraced Wallace’s designs, with Candace Parker donning the “Female Athlete” shirt on TNT’s Area 21 in 2018.

“I was giving shirts to all the players in the NBA during a time when no other brand was giving any thought to the WNBA or women’s basketball, so I was building these connections,” the designer said.

The pre-COVID-19 summer of 2020 witnessed an unprecedented surge in demand for the “Female Athlete” T-shirt, selling by the thousands. The following year, Wallace seized the opportunity to pitch a Playa Society collaboration to the WNBA, and the league was intrigued. The inaugural WNBA collection, launched in September 2021, featured a hoodie, sweatpants with team logos, and a T-shirt flaunting the WNBA logo.

Wallace’s latest WNBA collaboration, the summer 2024 collection, will be available for purchase on the Playa Society website starting Friday.