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Puma: attracting the youth and helping the planet

MANILA got an advanced view of Puma’s Autumn Winter 2023 collection, which will hit stores by August, via a fashion show at Whitespace on April 19.

On the catwalk were a lot of whites, some neons, and even items in lilac, and of course, black. Walking the runway were celebrities like former motorsports and racing driver Marlon Stöckinger, Miss International 2016 Kylie Versoza, and actor Daniel Matsunaga, and Santino Rosales, the son of actor Jericho Rosales.

PUMA South East Asia General Manager Sanjay Roy said in a statement, “Sports is at the heart of Puma. We are eager to play our part and help nurture it in the country, with emphasis on youth development. For 75 years, Puma continues to push sports and culture forward by challenging conventions, innovating through design, and supporting the next generation.”

Puma, based in Germany, was founded by Rudolf Dassler (the brother of Adidas founder Adolf “Adi” Dassler) in 1948. While several Olympians have worn Puma over the years, names that are not sporty at first glance have also been connected with the brand. One is entrepreneur and singer Rihanna, who stepped in as Creative Director in 2014, and revived her collaboration with Puma and her brand, Fenty, earlier this year. Asked about the faces for the Autumn Winter Campaign,  Mr. Roy said, “There’s going to be Rihanna, globally.”

“Each of these celebrities stand for something unique. They have a very strong style proposition of their own, they have their own personality,” he said. Rapper and Beyonce’s husband Jay-Z is another celebrity attached to the brand, being named Creative Director in 2018. “When they collaborate with Puma, they bring that to Puma. They bring that element of design, their personality… and that’s how it helps us,” said Mr. Roy.

“The youngsters do look up to them, and when we collaborate with them, these youngsters do look at Puma from that lens,” he added. “I think the Puma DNA is something that is young, colorful, joyful, and passionate.”

Perhaps it’s this touch on the pulse of the youth that is leading Puma to take sustainability seriously. Earlier this year, it announced that it would stop using kangaroo leather in its products, and won the German Sustainability Award in 2010. It also ranked as the Most Sustainable Brand on the Sustainability Index for 2022 by publication Business of Fashion. “We are one of the most sustainable companies in Europe,” said Mr. Roy.

“It used to be a gimmicky word,” he said. “Now we find that consumers actually resonate (with that), and are willing to pay that extra to wear the most sustainable product.

“I think that’s a fantastic thing happening for the planet.” — Joseph L. Garcia

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