A sprint to a clothing line
Published in Pride Magazine – June 29, 2005
By Donna Kay Kakonge
Ben Johnson, the fastest man in the world according to a 1988 World Record time of 9.79 seconds, is now in the clothing business.
“I just like good clothing, good fabric, good taste and I think that this type of business is the right thing for me to get involved in,” says Johnson. I’ve done this many years ago. I’ve done this for 30 years and this isn’t the first time I’ve had my own clothing line. In 1987 I had my own clothing line in Italy and it didn’t really take off because of the public. So I decided to come back 18 years later and do my own stuff.”
The official launch of Ben Johnson’s new line was held at Metro in Toronto at 296 Richmond St. W. on Thursday, June 23rd. Lucid Options, a multi-service advertising agency helped to organize the event.
“I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants for the last four weeks,” said Christeena Mitchell, Business Director with Lucid Options. “It seems like everyone is having a really good time so far. I think what’s really important is to show Ben’s clothing in the most positive light.”
About two hundred people came out for the event, including media and wholesalers looking to market Johnson’s line.
Although Johnson made an attempt in the clothing business in the past and it didn’t work out he thinks now is a good time. “If you can’t start, you can’t finish. So this is the time to do it.”
“My target market is kids between ages 8 to 35 years old, but the clothes are widespread. Anybody can wear it,” says Johnson.
Johnson describes his clothing as the design being nice and the colours being different.
“It’s good quality stuff,” says Johnson. “It’s not anything cheap. But the price is not high-end stuff, the price is right in between the other apparel clothes, but it’s very good quality.”
Johnson does most of the designing because it’s something that he’s been involved in for 30 years.
“I’ve worn a lot of clothes over the years, I feel the fabric, I feel the quality, and I make the adjustments. I say I don’t want this, I want this. Everything is fresh. It feels very soft, the material is very beautiful.”
Johnson also has running shoes.
“The running shoes are different because they have more support on the heel, on the arch, because most people have a low arch. And the heel is not very thick to get the impact of running – you can have problems in your hip or in your back. So I’ve made sure there’s an extra cushion for everything.”
Di-anne Hudson has a background in law and also helps with the designing of the clothing with Ben Johnson. She mentions that Johnson’s family has been in the clothing business for years. His mom and sister both sew and make clothing and he grew up with that around him.
Where Johnson is responsible for the athletic wear, Hudson is responsible for the casual wear.
All the materials for the clothing are made in Canada, which is something everyone involved with the Ben Johnson Collection, is proud.
To visit Ben Johnson’s Collection online, go to www.benjohnsoncollection.com.