June Ambrose is leading Puma’s first women’s basketball collection. Ambrose, who serves as Puma’s creative director for women’s basketball, will release her first collection on December 1 which includes on-court and off-court apparel.
Puma is hoping to capture a significant share of the market with the High Court collection that includes a fur coat, leggings, hoodies and a jacket. Ambrose also wants to shine a brighter light on female athletes, according to Business Insider.
“We work on three seasons at a time, so while I’m talking to you about fall 2021, I’m working up to spring 2023!” Ambrose told Vogue. “I’m trying to predict the future of this category and use style to guide the narrative of it.”
Ambrose joined Puma in 2020 and has designed for celebrities including Jay-Z, Diddy and Missy Elliott.
The coming collection, which has 25 pieces, forms part of Puma’s plan to become a major player in the growing popularity of women’s basketball. Puma partnered with WNBA in 2018 and signed a succession of top female players, including Jackie Young and Katie Lou Samuelson.
“Puma has made a decision to make an investment in women, in sports and athletes,” Ambrose told Business Insider. “We’ve signed some great new players.”
In May, WNBA player Breanna Stewart signed as a Puma athlete, and according to ESPN’s Nick DePaula, she is expected to get her own signature shoe, which will be the first for a WNBA player in 10 years and the 10th overall.
According to analysts, Under Armour controls about 50% of the WNBA market and Nike’s Jordan brand has about one-third.
“Puma does not show up in the data,” said Matt Powell, NPD Group senior industry analyst. “There is an incredible opportunity in women’s basketball. Brands are leaving millions on the table.”
Ambrose has always been a fan of the Puma brand because it is deeply rooted in the hip-hop culture where she started her career.
She got her position at PUMA after rapper Jay-Z introduced her to Puma’s global director of brand marketing Adam Petrick and CEO Bjørn Gulden to improve the brand by combining sports and fashion.
“I’ve worked with the brand on redefining what it means to be stylish in sport,” said Ambrose. “That’s been my goal, to bring style to sports.”