Dove Men+Care has partnered with men’s streetwear designer, Just Don’s Don C. to release limited-edition basketball jerseys that unite the most notable rivalries in college basketball and celebrate their positive impact on the game. Each jersey will bring together a well-known rival pairing by highlighting their shared histories and cultures through each jersey’s intricate design.
In a time when the country has never felt more divided, rivalries in sports stand apart. Most rivalries stem from undeniable commonalities and actually continue to have a positive impact on athletes, fans and the game. In fact, these storied rivalries of college basketball share many things — except for the jersey. That’s why Dove Men+Care x Don C. will bring college basketball’s biggest rivals together by turning our jerseys into a symbol of unity.
Fans can find out more on their website and by following #RepTheRivalry on social media. We caught up with the legendary Don C. with streetwear designer to discuss style icons, his start in fashion, basketball and of course partnering with Dove Men+Care. Check out our interview below.
The Knockturnal: Tell us about this collab?
Don C.: This collaboration was a fascinating one for me because it combined basketball style with important messages about rivalries, sportsmanship, and care. #REPtheRivalry is rooted in the passion of the game and brings communities together through a jersey. I knew I wanted these jerseys to symbolize unity and pay homage to the similarities shared among these teams. Also, as a fan of the sport, it gave me a chance to tell the story of rivalries.
The Knockturnal: What inspired the designs?
Don C.: I love creating apparel that pays homage to history in some way. Many of these teams have been playing each other for over 100 years, yet remain relevant in sports culture. I looked to the iconic symbols and shared histories of each team to create cohesive designs that unite the rivals.
For instance, the Tobacco Road Rivalry teams are separated by a 10-mile stretch of highway on route 15, hence how I was able to bring the number 15 into that jersey For the Battle of the Bluegrass jersey, I weaved in the rich history of horseracing in the state of Kentucky. With the Crimson & Gold jersey, I paid tribute to the many basketball prodigies that have come from the state of Indiana by integrating white stripes that evoked speed and strength.
The Knockturnal: How did you get your start in fashion?
Don C.: I’ve always been very into fashion and have payed attention to the fashion industry since I was young. However, I got my start at G.O.O.D Music as a tour manager, I connected with many people in the industry and saw how design can serve as an expression of creativity. I first dove into the fashion space when I opened my own store in Chicago called R.S.V.P. Gallery in 2009. After the success of the store in Chicago, I launched Just Don in 2011 as an exciting and new venture.
The Knockturnal: Who are your style icons?
Don C.: I often look to my peers as style icons who are designing innovative clothes in the fashion space. I love what my friend Virgil Abloh is doing and how he’s easily become one of the most influential designers of our time. I’m also inspired by what a lot of the young British designers are doing in the streetwear space. But, I also find style inspiration from the people I interact with every day. Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, I was inspired by brands that told used clothing to tell diverse stories through fashion including Nigo and Karl Kani. Their looks were bold.
The Knockturnal: Who is an important mentor in your career?
Don C.: Over the years, I’ve haven’t had any formal mentors but I’ve always been very inspired by the work of my peers. However – my main inspiration comes from my family. My wife, Kristen is a successful artist/businesswoman, and she teaches me about the best ways to run my own brand and label. I always bounce ideas off her – those are the most helpful conversations.
The Knockturnal: What else are you working on?
Don C.: I’m working on a ton of exciting and top secret projects at the moment but in the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with some awesome brands. I can’t wait to reveal some of my newer projects in the coming months.
The Knockturnal: What are your fave basketball teams?
Don C.: Growing up in Chicago, I’m a big fan of the Bulls and my dad loved the Lakers which has made me a big Lakers fan as well. I also really enjoy following the Golden State Warriors as well. NBA season is one of my favorite times of year and I can turn on just about any game and find a team to root for.