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Securing the Bag

This UCF alum is improving travel experiences with his one-of-a-kind bags endorsed by some of the biggest names in sports, music and more. 

Anthony Fernandez ’09 and his family make their way through the airport. They reach the security checkpoint — the final stop before boarding their flight to Puerto Rico. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) pulls Fernandez’s luggage aside to conduct a thorough search. To his dismay, his perfectly packed belongings are drenched in cologne.

It was an all-to-common travel mishap.

Fernandez spent a portion of his trip sketching an efficient travel bag that would kickstart his company, Sole Premise. Launched in 2017, the luxury travel bag and equipment carrier business is a go-to for many travelers and major professional sports leagues, including the NBA, NFL, MLS and WNBA.

“The sneaker market [and avid travelers] love the bag because it finally addresses the big problem: protecting the items inside,” says Fernandez, who earned his business administration and management degree with a minor in sports business management from UCF.

A basketball player through early high school, Fernandez knows firsthand what a hassle it is to travel with several pairs of shoes, especially sneakers, that take up space. That’s why he spent more than four years perfecting a TSA-approved and patented carry-on bag that makes packing easier and ensures belongings stay safe during travel. It features individualized compartments that hold up to five pairs of shoes among other travel essentials.

Anthony Fernandez '09 showcases his variety of products from his company, Sole Premise.

Since debuting his signature polyester Sole Premise bag at SneakerCon NYC six years ago, Fernandez has added premium leather bags to his inventory in a variety of colors and prints. Customers can also choose from a range of styles such as duffle bags, toiletry bags and hardcase luggage.

Ideal for the everyday traveler and a dream come true for athletes, Sole Premise bags have received a stamp of approval from public figures like pro bodybuilder Robert “NDO Champ” Wilmote, NBA player Jalen Williams and R&B singer Usher.

The addition of sports equipment carriers is what opened the floodgates for his company, Fernandez says. After connecting with an equipment manager for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, Fernandez designed a wheeled sports equipment carrier that can hold at least 18 pairs of shoes, jerseys and more. Today, that carrier is being used by top collegiate and professional sports programs across the country, including the Brooklyn Nets, University of Connecticut’s men’s basketball team, Orlando City Soccer Club and the San Francisco 49ers.

Sole Premise is shaking up the sports world — much like how sneaker culture took the NBA and basketball scene by storm in the ’80s.

Fernandez recalls growing up watching NBA players dominate the court while wearing sneakers that embodied their bold personalities and personal styles. He admires the rise of brands such as AND1 and Nike that helped usher in a new era of basketball where style and functionality converge.

“Basketball just has a certain swag,” Fernandez says. “It introduced me to fashion and, more importantly, innovative marketing. Players really showcase their personality [through the sport]— and sneakers are an important part of that.”

Just as sneakers challenged the status quo in basketball, he continues to challenge himself to think outside the box with his business. Fernandez says he’s motivated by the daily grind of entrepreneurship, which he was introduced to as a child by his grandfather who ran many businesses, including a flea market that sold sports memorabilia. This gave Fernandez an early look at what it takes to run a company and set it apart from others. And he built on this knowledge as a student by engaging with several business leaders through UCF’s DeVos Sport Business Management program, which he credits with helping him advance as an entrepreneurial trailblazer and successful networker.

With more than 50,000 units sold so far, he says he’s aiming to reach more travelers, athletes and sports teams. He’s even partnered with WNBA players to bring more awareness to women’s basketball by launching a docuseries titled Women With Wings in 2022.

The docuseries highlights incredible stories of female athletes, like 2021 WNBA first round draft pick Chelsea Dungee, and what it takes to make it to the pros. Most recently, Sole Premise has partnered with the WNBA’s Chicago Sky to share even more inspiring stories from women on the team.

The sacrifices made by these world-class athletes and their unique journeys are often overlooked, Fernandez says. He wants his company to help propel all athletes — from up-and-comers to professional stars.

“I want Sole Premise to be recognized as a leader in innovation in the travel market [alongside] notable household brands,” he says. “I also want to create a community of athletes who’re following their sole premise in life and uplift them by sharing their experiences to inspire others.”

Anthony Fernandez ’09
The Pitch:
Multifunctional patented travel bags and equipment carriers that protect items while maintaining versatility and style.
A desire to bring an ideal travel bag to the market that makes traveling more efficient, especially when taking sneakers along.
Find It:

Items in Anthony's bag include his wallet, keys, notebook, bottle of cologne, smartwatch, sneakers and more.

What’s in his bag? Anthony Fernandez ’09 rarely leaves home without his Sole Premise daily commuter bag filled with everyday essentials including his wallet, keys, notebook, bottle of cologne, smartwatch, bracelet, phone, glasses and favorite pair of sneakers — the Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 ‘Mocha.’