High-performance compression apparel is a relatively narrow, but increasingly mainstream, slice of the health and wellness space that has been the focus of a handful of collaborations and endorsement deals involving athletes and other celebrities over the past eight years.
Compression garments made from a variety of materials—including many infused with copper—are purported to help pro and amateur athletes recover from workouts more quickly, as well as serving a number of other functions, such as managing pain; offering anti-microbial, anti-odor, and moisture-wicking properties; healing and rejuvenating skin; and increasing blood flow, which can alleviate issues tied to diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.
Not surprisingly, partnerships in this sector often feature celebrities who have a connection to sports or wellness:
- Gwyneth Paltrow signed a brand ambassadorship deal with Copper Fit in December. It includes a collection of copper-infused elbow and knee sleeves, compression gloves and socks, and other pieces, all in Serenity Blue and Powder Pink hues. She is the brand’s first-ever female endorser; Copper Fit’s other partnerships, going back to the mid-2010s, have been with former NFL athletes, namely wide receiver Jerry Rice and quarterback Brett Favre, both of whom have recently appeared in commercials for the brand. The Gwyneth Paltrow x Copper Fit Collection debuted on January 1 of this year, on Copper Fit’s e-commerce site.
- Zensah signed NBA athlete Justin Holiday early last year, marking the first celebrity collaboration for the high-performance, seamless compression sportswear maker. Holiday serves as the face of the brand, as well as releasing signature collections, the first of which debuted in March 2021. The range included base layer tights and heat-recovery socks featuring infrared technology.
- In January 2021, Copper Compression signed New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who retired that year, to a brand ambassadorship. The goal of the multi-year deal was for Brees to help attract additional athletes, sports fans, and health-minded consumers to Copper Compression’s products, which include copper-infused sleeves, socks, braces, shorts, gloves, leggings, and more.
- Australian firm 2XU paired with Kanye West’s Yeezy label in 2017, marking the performance sports brand’s first foray into fashion. The products included a neoprene line of form-fitting pieces that could be worn to a bar or the beach, as well as compression gear from leggings to tops. The items were incorporated into two seasons of the Yeezy brand’s broader collections.
- Going back to 2013, Tommie Copper signed with champion swimmer and five-time Olympian Dara Torres, who served as a brand ambassador for the company’s copper-infused Energy Wear. The partnership ended two years later in a contract dispute. That same year, 2015, the company was cited by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive practices, but it remains a leader in the copper compression space today, with a focus on pain management and support. Prior to the Torres agreement, Tommie Copper had partnered with Montel Williams in an endorsement deal that saw the talk show host appear in ads and infomercials.
The number of celebrity collaborations in the compression gear space is on the rise, albeit at a slow pace. There is likely an opportunity for more partnerships, including with non-athlete celebrities who are getting older or have particular conditions that compression technology can help address. But in order to be effective as spokespeople and collaborators, it is important that the celebrities be authentic proponents and users of the product.
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