It all started as an inside joke. Model Jacquelyn Jablonski found herself like many others struggling to find the motivation to workout in the midst of the global pandemic, considering tasks like taking out the trash or a walk around the block to be her equivalent of sports. She started a finsta poking fun at the idea with friends, and eventually inspired by the joy it brought her and her peers, created merch — a line which Jablonski aptly named Sports Verified.
“I had a lot of free time, and the lack of motivation to work out just slowly got just worse and worse,” Jablonski explains over Zoom, adding that scenes from The Simple Life and a clip of Mariah Carey throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game served as playful inspiration from the beginning. “[Carey] walks up with so much confidence and throws [the ball] straight downwards and has the biggest smile, not even like shook ... just waves and walks away with so much confidence. We're like [that is the epitome of] sports ... it's her confidence.”
This playful interpretation of what exactly qualifies as recreational activities translated directly into both the designs and campaign Jablonski chose to create. “We just wanted to keep on with the joke and make little funny socks and put different icons of like quotes about sports. I want to do a martini glass for summer ... something really cheeky. We [also] have basketball and then ping pong which is a sport, technically, but it’s not your typical sport that you practice often.” From socks, hoodies emblazoned simply with the word “Sports” were added to the lineup as well.
But, what started out as a small group of merch just for friends, quickly grew into something larger. Over the summer, a visit to Montauk led to a run-in with a friend who worked at The Surf Lodge and was interested in carrying her playful merch. “Dining wasn't available, but there was [an outdoor event] on the property over the summer and I saw this guy walking with the ‘Sports’ hat I forgot that we were selling in the store,” she explains. “Then we go and look and there's a table of people outside, and there are three guys with the ‘Sports’ sweatshirt, and the characters who bought it were very ‘sports’ in their own way, which was fun to me. I was like ‘I love that they get it.’”
With the brand’s Hamptons success, she took the Instagram public, set up a website, and began to plan a larger collection. “Of course my mind is coming from the fashion side so I'm like, ‘let's do like cashmere jumpsuits,’” she laughs, explaining that instead, her friends convinced her to grow slowly, introducing new colorways and sweatpants to match her cozy hoodies, in addition to one-off pieces like a Coach jacket emblazoned with simply the words ‘Coach’ and ‘Sport,’ leaving the rest up to the wearer’s imagination.
With a bevy of famous model friends available to wear the products, Jablonski put together a lookbook shoot that continued with the brand’s cheeky disposition, shooting her cast of characters paparazzi-style with fellow model and photographer Carlotta Kohl behind the lens. The duo roamed the city shooting friends engaging in the sporty endeavors of everyday life, from grabbing coffee, to cuddling, to walking the dog. The idea was to capture each of her friends in their natural habitats — embodying the low-key definition of what sports can be.
“I really wanted to keep the lightheartedness and this feel of community because I was inspired by a community of people in New York City and in the fashion industry that I've been with for like 10 plus years and I find them all [to be] such funny characters,” she explains of the broad range of characters from models Soo Joo Park and Hanne Gaby Odiele to stylist Ian Bradley. “I was laughing during the whole thing like there was behind the scenes shots of me like a stage mom with this video camera down low, I became so in it.”
But, now almost a year over as the world enters a possible era of sweatpants fatigue, Jablonski explains that the beauty of her pieces is that they’re tailored in a way that makes them easy to dress up and wear beyond time at home. “Having these more tailored sweatpants, I definitely have worn the kit out or just the sweats alone with a more fitted sweater top,” she explains. “If you wear a cool sneaker, it's kind of a vibe with a fun jacket. I would never normally walk out like that, [but] with the waistband and everything [it] feels just a little more like a look.”
Whether you’re still embracing the full cozy look, or more looking to mix and match, shop her pieces below, with a portion of proceeds being donated to Autism Tomorrow.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.