MLB’s Marcus Stroman to launch Shugo collection – WWD
Marcus Stroman is not the typical Major League Baseball player. At 5 feet 7 inches tall, it would have been easy for him to listen to naysayers who said he would never play professionally. But nine years into his career — he started with the Toronto Blue Jays and played for the New York Mets before joining the Chicago Cubs in 2022 — he’s proven them wrong.
And it’s that same drive and determination that Stroman is now applying to Shugo, a footwear and apparel brand launching Nov. 14.
The name means protector in Japanese, Stroman said. “It’s a word I thought of, then did some research and it ended up being perfect. I like the way it sounds and how you pronounce it.
And the logo, which includes an “O” crossed by a line, also works for him, since he wears the number 0 on his baseball uniform. “I wear zero for form,” he said. “It’s endless. It’s pretty even – it has so many different meanings. It’s also representative of the pitcher’s mound, where I do most of my work. So there’s a bunch of subtle little things that remind me of and all the things that went into the brand.
Shugo will launch with a baseball cleat and practice sneakers along with an apparel collection including a coaches jacket, t-shirt, hoodie, shorts, and joggers. The collection was made in Portland, Oregon by Studio Noyes, a female-led design and production studio.
There will also be a baseball glove created from SSK leather from Japan, which Stroman described as the “Wagyu of leather.” It’s the best leather you can find and they’ve never collaborated with another brand in their history,” he said of the 75-year-old family business.
Although Stroman is hosting an event in New York on Wednesday for friends to help spread the word about Shugo’s launch, supply chain issues will prevent some products from shipping for a few weeks. But Stroman is in no rush. He actually started conceptualizing Shugo after he tore his ACL in 2015. During his rehabilitation for the injury, his doctors banned him from wearing any of the commercial spikes on the market. So he worked with Adidas and later Jordan – he was sponsored by both brands for a few years, along with Nike – to customize the spikes for him, but he still had issues with fit and performance. He then undertook to create his own, which he tested in the field for a season before offering it to other players or selling it to the public.
“I started Shugo because I couldn’t find the right combination with traditional cleat brands that really met my needs, amplified my game, and provided the structural integrity I needed when throwing,” he said. -he declares. “Shugo started as a passion project – to create a pointe shoe for myself, made from the highest quality premium materials, that built-in innovation to meet my needs. When people started seeing me wearing Shugo, this sparked their intrigue and curiosity. Suddenly it was clear that Shugo could be more than a cleat for me – it was an opportunity to disrupt current market benchmarks for what a cleat is capable of. And with Shugo, I am not only filling a void in the industry, but rather creating a new space where performance, endurance and luxury co-exist in harmony.
These same qualities are also evident in clothing. Stroman said he sees Shugo as “the next dope streetwear brand,” something that can be worn in a yacht club or even on a red carpet. “These are interchangeable pieces that you can mix and match,” he said.
He said he had always been a fan of fashion, and when he signed his first professional contract he spent time in stores trying on everything from luxury brands such as Saint Laurent and Givenchy and ” I learned to love the clothes and the fit, but I’m a different body type to most people, so I wanted to create a luxury resort brand in neutral tones with fits based on all that body testing. ‘wear.
Pricing for the apparel has yet to be set, but the spikes and sneakers will cost $250 and the glove around $400, and they will be sold exclusively through Shugo’s website. Going forward, the plan is to continue to expand the apparel offering – denim is on the to-do list – and offer more affordable shoe and glove options for younger consumers.
Stroman will be able to focus on Shugo for the next few months since he won’t officially have to show up for spring training until mid-February. But off season, he still trains, plays wrestling, does Pilates, travels and hangs out with his girlfriend and 11-month-old baby boy.
But baseball is never far from his mind. Stroman said that while he was shooting for the Phillies and his friend Bryce Harper to win the World Series, he was happy Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker won.
“The Astros have a little dynasty there,” he said. “They make very good teams every year. And Dusty is the man – he deserves it. He’s been in the league for so long and he’s got so much respect from every single person, coach, general manager. [general manager], organizational person in the league. So everyone was happy for him.
And for him, he is happy to return to the Cubs. “Chicago has always been one of my favorite cities when I visit,” he said. “I’ve done the architectural boat tour several times, the food is amazing, and now that I’ve been there, it’s opened up a whole new world to me. I’m on the river all the time. And the fan base is probably the best in baseball. We have 40,000 to 45,000 people at each game. So I’m just grateful to be a Cub.