After dominating the World Cup earlier this summer, Megan Rapinoe is striving towards a new goal. The soccer star has joined forces with her current and former US Women’s soccer teammates Christen Press, Tobin Heath and Meghan Klingenberg to launch re-inc, a gender-inclusive fashion and lifestyle brand that defies convention and reimagines the status quo.
“Streetwear is fully dominated by men and most of everything is kind of geared towards men,” Rapinoe told Variety during a brunch to celebrate re-inc’s launch Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles . “What we want to do is give people the template to make the decision themselves. Not say to them this is what you are going to wear, this is what we think is cool. You get to decide what is cool.”
Press explained that the idea for re-inc was formed following the team’s World Cup victory in 2015 when she and her fellow teammates felt that they weren’t fully capitalizing on the potential and power that the win had afforded them. “We decided the best route to try to capture some of the value that we feel like the federation and the team just leaves on the table would be to start a company that’s women-run, women-founded and be leaders in the incorporated space where there are so few females,” said Press. “We wanted to go into fashion, specifically street-wear, which a lot of our teammates and ourselves wear. Right now, we are all just extra smalls in the men’s clothes and it’s just not right.”
“We wanted to disrupt that industry,” Press continued. “We want to disrupt the incorporated industry and bring novelty, a growth mindset and circular leadership into a space where it’s so secular, CEO, male-dominated and just see what blossomed from there.”
While juggling their busy schedules, the teammates have been deeply involved in the design process and they are aiming to release their first products within the next year. “Forming the company and creating the vision and the mission first was crucial to us,” Heath said. “It was so important to establish our foundation. The next step is creating product. So many companies start with product. For us, we led with our company and our community and now we are following with product.”
The event, produced by Special Projects Media in partnership with The Culinistas, Champagne Armand de Brignac and the McBride Sisters Wine was held at the Hancock Park home of CBS Corp. Chief Creative Officer and Showtime Networks CEO David Nevins and his wife, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Andrea Nevins. The brunch followed a unique format in which guests could write down questions, which were then drawn from a bowl and posed to the group for discussion. A diverse mix of change-makers from a variety of industries were in attendance including U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff(D-CA), actress Sophia Bush, activist DeRay McKesson, rapper Chika, actor Travon Free and GirlBoss founder Sophia Amoruso.
While reflecting on the tragic shootings that had taken place the day before in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Schiff told the assembled crowd, “I do want to thank our hosts as I mentioned earlier to Megan, thank you for giving us something to cheer about in these particularly dark times for our country.”
“It’s honestly just so frustrating and sickening what’s happened,” Rapinoe said of the tragedies. “We obviously need to take action. I don’t know what it’s going to take for this country to come together and realize we have a major white supremacist problem and a major gun problem. And hopefully we can do that soon, since it is only getting worse.”
Known for her political outspokenness and activism off the field, Rapinoe said the events that transpired the day before had further galvanized her to get involved in the upcoming election. “I definitely will be getting involved in someone’s campaign, whether they want me in it or not,” Rapinoe said with a laugh. “I’ll be getting involved in some way.”
Regarding the candidates that she currently supports, she added, “You gotta look at Elizabeth Warren. Kamala Harris is absolute fire and Bernie Sanders is doing really well. Those are the three to me. Obviously Mayor Pete [Buttigieg], I think he has some good things to say. I’m not sure he’s quite ready for it.”
Rapinoe continued, “But I’m ready for it to be whittled down to less than twenty people on stage at one point, so we can kind of get past all the bickering and everything and really come together as a party and unify and unify the voters and unify the country, because we literally have such a grave situation in White House right now and it’s going to take some compromise within the Democratic party. I’m excited to see it get whittled down and then I’ll be latching on.”