Domo Wells Makes History as the First Ever Creative Director & Designer for the Washington Spirit

In a trendsetting move, the Washington Spirit proudly named Domo Wells as their inaugural Creative Director and Designer, marking a pivotal moment for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) franchise and the DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) community.

A native of the region, Wells is best known for her work in music. She formerly served as the Editorial Lead of Black Music and Culture at Spotify and played a pivotal role in developing the “Frequency” franchise, conceptualizing the company’s first fashion show. Now at the helm of Dead Dirt, her new brand and creative firm, Wells promises to infuse the Washington Spirit’s identity with the same boldness and originality that has defined her work.

Initially, Wells was approached to collaborate with the team on a one-off project, but she saw a broader opportunity to use her cultural expertise to elevate the Washington Spirit brand in a way that could really resonate with consumers. As a result, the journey to this pivotal role was as organic as it was inspiring.

“I kind of pitched it, if I’m being honest. [The team] saw Dead Dirt. They noticed us after we launched last spring, and that garnered enough attention that it showed up for them. A big catalyst was Natasha Cloud, a former player on the Washington Mystics. We were doing the work, but Natasha Cloud had picked up a pair of pants and wore them to a game, and it caught a lot of people’s attention…so it was a good moment to continue bolstering,” Wells told Because Of Them We Can.

From her initial conversation with the team, Wells identified a huge opportunity to strengthen the Spirit’s presence in the DMV community, particularly as it relates to a growing sect of soccer and women’s sports consumers who may be interacting with the franchise for the first time. 

“This is the team in my hometown. Even though I’m not based there anymore, I’m still very connected to DMV culture. It really influences everything that I am. I understood what the Washington Spirit was trying to build. And I felt like I could help strengthen some of that positioning, but it would require a lot more time, effort, and investment than a one-off could facilitate,” Wells explained. 

The result was a first-of-its-kind partnership for the franchise, Wells making history as the first-ever Creative Director and Designer for the Washington Spirit. In her role, Wells will lead the design direction for the team’s merchandise, beginning with an exclusive limited edition Cherry Blossom capsule collection. Wells will also update the team’s core collection, focusing on consumer-facing products while continuing to build the Spirit brand in a way that’s relevant and innovative. 

Domo Wells Makes History as the First Ever Creative Director & Designer for the Washington Spirit/Photo credit: Breanna Biorato/Washington Spirit

“We are excited to welcome Domo to the Spirit family. Her creativity, passion, and roots in the DMV will lift our brand. Her original designs will give our fans exciting new ways to show their team pride,” remarked Theresa McDonnell, Spirit COO.

Wells expressed her enthusiasm for joining the Washington Spirit, “I’m honored to contribute to such a dynamic organization led by powerful women on and off the field. It’s a privilege to bring my love for design to my hometown team.”

She recently joined the Spirit for their 2024 season home opener and the capsule collection launch. Witnessing attendees engage with the new merchandise at the game was a poignant moment for Wells. She recalls, “Walking up to that stadium and being able to lay my hands on it for the first time… I was about to cry.” Seeing soccer enthusiasts embrace the designs firsthand underscored the impact of her creative vision.

For Wells, it’s a vision rooted in her everyday experiences, noting other trailblazing creatives like Joe Fresh Goods, who lead with intention and seek to highlight the importance of nuance in their work by tapping into things important to various subcultures around the country. Wells’ appointment comes on the heels of widespread diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) rollbacks, but for her, diverse perspectives lead to optimum innovations. It’s an interconnected web that Wells said she first discovered through her love of DC’s beloved Go-Go music.

Domo Wells Makes History as the First Ever Creative Director & Designer for the Washington Spirit/Photo credit: Jay Kyri/Dead Dirt

The new capsule collection perfectly exemplifies that cultural intentionality, featuring several athleisure pieces designed with the District’s treasured Cherry Blossom trees. The trees were a gift to the nation’s capital from Japan in the early 1900s and only bloom for a short period annually. Cherry blossoms are also a staple in East Asia, where Michele Kang, the South Korean owner of the Washington Spirit, is from. Wells said Kang’s mission to amplify women’s sports inspired her.

“What Michele Kang is doing in women’s sports, in sports in general, she’s really changing the game,” she said. 

Domo Wells Makes History as the First Ever Creative Director & Designer for the Washington Spirit/(l to r) Domo Wells with Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang at team’s home season opener against Bay FC at Audi Field on March 23rd, 2024 in Washington, D.C./Photo credit: Breanna Biorato/Washington Spirit

As the first Black woman to hold the role of Creative Director for the Washington Spirit, Wells recognizes the significance of her historic role. She envisions a future where design and branding continue to evolve in the sports arena, driven by authenticity and innovation. She also acknowledges the changing landscape of women’s sports and the growing recognition of soccer in the United States. Through her work, the Dead Dirt founder seeks to elevate the Spirit’s brand while staying true to her roots and ushering in a new generation of Spirit consumers.

In addition to her work with the Spirit, Wells has a number of other upcoming projects for Dead Dirt, including collaborations in D.C. and Los Angeles. The announcement comes just in time for Women’s History Month with Wells poised to make a lasting mark on the sports and design industries. As she pivots into her next chapter of excellence, her journey exemplifies the power of creativity, community, culture, resilience, and unwavering dedication to one’s craft.

“I want to be clear that there is an element of our work that is for my community, and that’s the brand. Community and culture always matter because, at the end of the day, those are the things that don’t go away. It persists no matter what,” said Wells. 

The new Washington Spirit Cherry Blossom capsule collection is now available in the stadium and online.

Cover photo: Domo Wells Makes History as the First Ever Creative Director & Designer for the Washington Spirit/Photo credit: Dead Dirt


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