“He’s just as important as Michael Jordan,” said Tremaine Emory.

Emory was referring to Alvin Ailey, the Black activist and choreographer who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958, when Black stories weren’t being told onstage through modern dance. His name isn’t as familiar as Michael Jordan’s, but his impact is far reaching. 

Ailey passed more than three decades ago, but his name still lives on through the dance company that he founded and the work he contributed. In 1960 he produced “Revelations,” a piece that tells the story of African American culture from slavery to freedom, and is still being performed by his company today.

Emory, the designer behind Denim Tears, wanted to honor that with his newest project, an apparel collection called Cry/Revelations that was produced by Champion. Emory said Champion approached him about a collaboration and he immediately knew he wanted to do something connected to Alvin Ailey.

“Dance in general is one of the highest forms of art and sports,” said Emory. “Champion is associated with all of these sports that are typically hetero and machismo sports. And I wanted to show that women, men, every part of the spectrum, the LGBTQ community, and intersexual as well are the highlest level of athletes, too, the highest level of artists, too, and the highest level of creatives as well.”