LOS ANGELES — Jake Paul approached the ring for his fight against Tommy Fury on Sunday night in an all-black outfit, lit up with flickering lights and black rhinestones on the waistband. The design should look familiar to car enthusiasts, as the idea for Paul’s latest trunks came from the interior design of a luxury vehicle.
The kit was designed by Ché Young, who worked with the team at Neon Cowboys, a company that makes light-up apparel, on the build. The concept that he and Paul collaborated on, Young said, was inspired by a Rolls-Royce, which has stars on the ceiling. Young said Paul referred to the concept as “Stardust Warriors.”
“That was his inspiration, like we’re stardust warriors,” Young, the CEO and founder of CHÉ BY CHÉ, said. “The Rolls-Royce speaks luxury, it speaks essence, it speaks to his lifestyle of wealth and making and grinding it out and actually embracing where he’s at now. And I feel like the shorts have that statement to who he is.”
Young first saw a fiber-optic fabric he liked, but sourcing it proved difficult. Instead, he and Asia Hall, the CEO of Neon Cowboys, found a fabric that they laser cut to look like the galaxy. Hall and Young used an actual photo of the galaxy to make it look as realistic as possible and sewed in the lights. The light pattern was programmed on an app. According to Hall, she used programmable LEDs, in part because of the power consumption and how bright they can get.
“The idea from the beginning was we had to make something that’s going to be talked about,” Young said. “Something that’s going to push the narrative. Like put a dent in the universe, I like to call it.”
This is the sixth pair of trunks Young has designed for Paul. Against Tyron Woodley in August 2021, Paul debuted a pair of trunks that had an LED waistband that scrolled his name during the fight. Those were inspired by the old LED belts that Young said were popular while he was in middle school. The idea was to “flash like a billboard,” Young said, perhaps something that could eventually be a marketing tool for brands to promote themselves while Paul is on stage fighting.
In an interview before that fight, Paul said, “the fit that I will wear to this fight will be copied by boxers for the rest of history.”
“It kind of pushes the narrative of how the world could be [in] the next 10, 20 years from now,” Young said.
But along with making sure the shorts make a statement, Young said, there is a focus on making sure the trunks are comfortable, fit Paul well and most importantly, are mobile. These shorts won’t be heavy, but the comfort of them is Young’s top priority, even over the look. Young flew to Saudi Arabia on Feb. 17 to deliver his work to Paul, giving him plenty of time to test them out before his fight against Fury. Paul went through test runs and training in his trunks, checking things like making sure that the lights weren’t poking him in the ring.
“If you’re not comfortable in it, that moment won’t be the best because you’re worried about how you fit,” Young said. “And especially in boxing where we’ve seen it with former boxers complaining like, ‘Oh, my outfit was too heavy so my legs were weak, so I couldn’t perform as well.’ So all those metrics are taken into place.”
Trying to top the last pair of trunks he has designed for Paul, Young said, has made it so much fun.
“I think [topping the last pair is] Jake’s mindset every time,” Young said. “It’s not challenging at all, because he’s always trying to find the next big thing. … He’s always trying new things. And that’s his like character in a way. So when it comes to fashion or being a celebrity, even dressing. He’s always trying to find ways like, ‘What’s going to make a statement? What’s going to be talked about? How will people perceive this?’ And then it’s never going to be like, ‘Let’s just stick in the box.’
“He’s always at that next level. What’s next? What’s next? What’s next? So this makes my job easier. Honestly. He makes my job easier cause I don’t have to really dig too much because he really understands the balance of where he wants to be at.”