Female Basketball Stars in the Skims Spotlight

The branding of the W.N.B.A. as the hottest league in any game continues apace, as does the growing convergence of fashion and sports.

The latest step in the relationship: a Skims ad campaign released just ahead of the start of the women’s basketball season and featuring the rookie Cameron Brink, the newly retired three-time W.N.B.A. champion-turned-president of Adidas basketball Candace Parker and the All-Stars and Olympians Kelsey Plum of the Las Vegas Aces and Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Seattle Storm and DiJonai Carrington of the Connecticut Sun.

The campaign depicts the players in various skin-tone undies — bikini and high-waist briefs, boy shorts, bandeaus and T-shirts — accessorized with basketballs, high-heel pumps and elaborate rhinestone jewelry. It both toys with old pinup tropes and subverts them — the women look less come hither than don’t mess with me. It also frames Skims, which was founded by Kim Kardashian and Jens Grede in 2018 and valued at $4 billion last July, less as shapewear than haute sportswear.

It is the first Skims campaign to celebrate women players, following the brand’s last two big basketball moves: a similar shoot that introduced the Skims men’s line and featured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder, among other athletes, and a campaign just in time for March Madness featuring male all-star college basketball players. (They were mostly in terry loungewear, not underwear.)

DiJonai Carrington.Credit…via Skims
Cameron Brink.Credit…via Skims

At the time, given the record-setting popularity of the women’s N.C.A.A. tournament, some fans criticized Skims for focusing on male athletes rather than women. This is the answer.

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