Dance goes far beyond the stage. It takes influence from other creative worlds and delivers influence in return—symbiotic relationships aplenty. At World of Dance, we like to take time to honor a solid piece of music, film, or fashion, as it relates to dance.
That’s why we chatted with Sequanna Manzenita, one of the individuals behind the World of Dance Championship jacket. Yes, that would be the incredibly dope piece you see below.What was the concept behind the World of Dance Champions jacket?
SM: The concept was to create a piece that was meaningful and reflected the ultimate gear for a champion. We wanted it to be special; made of the highest quality materials and made with specific attention to detail and design.
How did you come up with it?
SM: Our CEO, Matt Everitt, was very adamant that he wanted us to have a piece that was for Champions. We crown a lot of champions each year at our WOD events and he wanted to give the winners something to represent their accomplishment beyond a cash prize. So we looked at our collection and first tried to see if anything we already had designed that would fit the bill. We realized that there wasn’t anything that did, so we conceived an addition to the line that would evoke an understood feeling of Championship.
Did others participate in its conception, design, and execution?
SM: Yes, of course. We sat around a table and tossed several ideas out there over several meetings. We agreed eventually that the letterman’s jacket was a good starting point. Our head designer for our apparel program, Emil Soriano, had a vision to redesign the letterman’s jacket just enough to make it unique and give it a little flair that would befit a dancer — a dance champion at that. He took the classic silhouette and went against some of the most common stylistic choices of the letterman’s jacket and added a few details that would give it an edge.
Where do you find or look to for fashion/design inspiration?
SM: We are inspired by music to begin; it is what inspires us all to dance. From there, we can’t help but to be inspired by dancers. Being that dance is a universal language, what any dancer wears on his or her body can be seen an extension of their dance; hence why dancers have long since been known to have a great sense of style. Finally, we find that we stumble upon inspirations in daily life anywhere that we turn — anything from architecture to nature. Structure to free flow and the juxtaposition of opposites.
What do you want the champions to feel while wearing it? Or how do you describe the ultimate vibe in that jacket?
SM: We want the champs to feel warm for starters. 🙂 We also want them to feel proud —proud of their accomplishment. We want the jacket to remind them of how awesome it is that they won in a competition that has contestants from all over the world, from different walks of life and who perform all styles of dance. Overall, we are hoping that it can become a talking point for them to share their passion for dance, which might inspire others to dance. It would be amazing if this also resulted in others who work hard(er) to aim for the extreme creativity, stamina, and drive to win a WOD championship of their own.
Any behind-the-scenes insight to the jacket-making process?
SM: The jackets are hand-made here in Los Angeles by a company that specializes in letterman-style jackets for bikers. They are made to order and weigh a few pounds each. I personally think that it is a piece of art. If I hadn’t retired my dancing shoes 10 years ago, I would be vying for my own.
What’s your favorite jacket that you own?
SM: Right now, my go-to jacket is a lightweight army-green jacket with a random asymmetrical ruffle off-center that goes against the army style that it feigns to be. Even though I live in Southern California, jackets are actually my favorite garment, so I have at least a dozen in rotation. My favorite one would be my reversible dolman-sleeved bomber. It’s blush, crepe fabric on one side and it has an outline of the world map on blush-colored satin on the inside. Blush is NOT a favorite color of mine, by any means; I don’t even wear it out of the house, but I just love it. I love to see it hanging in my closet. I love how it feels, but I am afraid to ruin it. So I try it on a lot, but end up hanging it back up for another day…
Love music and dance as much as us? Tune into NBC’s World of Dance Tuesdays at 10/9 central to see the world’s best dancers battle it out for a whopping $1 million prize. The premiere properly kicked off the competition! Don’t miss exclusive interviews, performances, and more from the definitive source for all things NBC World of Dance.