by John Russel Jones

Settlemier’s Jackets, a premium letterman jacket maker in Northeast Portland, Oregon, announced that Oregon basketball player Jackson Shelstad, who will play for the U.S. team at this Saturday’s Nike Hoop Summit, is their first NIL (name, image, likeness) partner. The partnership emerged from the idea that the best athletes deserve the best trophy jackets, and it unites the local, handmade apparel maker and an elite Oregon high school athlete that are each recognized far beyond the borders of their home state.

Shelstad led the West Linn Lions to a 32-2 record and a #25 Ranking in the USA Today Sports Super 25 in 2023. He signed a national letter of intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Oregon this fall. In mid-March, the West Linn High School senior was named the 2022-2023 Gatorade Oregon Boys Basketball Player of the Year (GPOY) for the second straight year.

Klutch Sports Group, an American sports agency founded by Rich Paul, represents Shelstad and brokered the deal with Settlemier’s. The Los Angeles-based agent manages sports stars like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Anthony Edwards, and Jalen Hurts. The deal will include a back to school advertising campaign by Industry, a global independent brand consultancy, based in Portland.

“Partnering with this local business is big for me. I look for companies that want to think differently about NIL. I like the idea of being grassroots in nature but first class in products and content,” said Shelstad. “When I saw their jackets, it’s obvious they fit that mindset. And when I wore one, it was an easy decision.”

A Settlemier’s letterman jacket comprises a 24 ounce, American-made, 100 percent virgin wool melton body, milled just across the river in Washougal, Wash. by a well-known, 200 year old manufacturer. The 100 percent wool cuffs, collar, and waistband are knitted on equipment purchased from Jantzen Swimwear by the family in the 1960s. The company has sourced its genuine cowhide leather sleeves and pockets from the same company since 1990. Each patch, which makes a jacket truly unique to its athlete, is custom embroidery or chenille made to order on site. Every jacket is cut, sewn, and assembled at Settlemier’s factory on Fremont St. in Northeast Portland, in the same neighborhood where Aaron Settlemier, the current owner, grew up.

“I have vivid memories of my mother, Gloria, sewing names and numbers on team jerseys and cheerleading uniforms in the basement of our house night after night when I was growing up. Eventually she was able to build the business to her goal of a complete varsity jacket factory,” said Aaron Settlemier, owner of Settlemier’s Jackets. “When we see student athletes like Jackson work so hard for his school, his craft, and his dreams, it reminds me of the work my mom put into making this company. He has a saying that made it onto the black-on-black letterman jacket, ‘the Separation is in the preparation,’ and that says a lot about why he’s a good fit for us.”

While the company was founded in 1990 by Gloria Settlemier, its roots go back to Aaron’s grandmother’s company, Nelson’s Jackets, founded in 1967. 55 years later, Aaron Settlemier runs the business with distinct drive and passion, drawing on the same machines and commitment to quality. The company’s commitment to quality materials and construction set it apart in an industry of varsity-style apparel dominated by cheap materials and questionable overseas manufacturing.

Shelstad customized two letterman jackets that commemorate his achievements and awards at West Linn High School, where he is best known for his performance on the basketball court. The first jacket is made of black virgin wool melton and black leather sleeves with large chenille patches that commemorate his achievements on West Linn’s basketball court and football field. It features a custom chenille patch of Shelstad’s new “JS” logo, made with his creative director Alex Hartman, alongside 2022 and 2023 GPOY and the 2022 Les Schwab Invitational MVP trophy patches. The second jacket is grounded in the traditional green and gold of the West Linn Lions.

Settlemier’s has partnered with some of the biggest brands and celebrities in the world, but they wanted their first NIL deal to involve a hometown star like Shelstad that epitomizes the local high school spirit, dedication, and quality found in each one of their jackets.

Settlemier’s work has been featured in high-profile collaborations with athletes, celebrities, and fashion brands including LeBron James, Nike x Tiffany & Co., Gatorade x Serena Williams, Billionaire Boys Club, founded by Pharrell Williams and Nigo, Albino & Preto x BYBORRE, and Beams Boy collaborations. Whether it’s bound for a new varsity athlete or an international superstar, Settlemier’s has crafted more than 125,000 custom jackets since 1990.

For more than 30 years, Settlemier’s has been hand making custom, varsity-style jackets and patches. Pacific Northwest wool is one of the most durable, long lasting fabrics in apparel, and Settlemier’s milling relationship contributes not only to the quality of their letterman jackets, but also an intimate connection to the region in which they are made.

Shelstad is one of the 13 male high school athletes from around the country who will join the 2023 USA Men’s Nike Hoop Summit Team on Saturday, April 8, 2023. The Nike Hoop Summit is a basketball game that pits America’s top high school athletes against a World Team of top teen international players. It will tip at 4:30 p.m. at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.