Football and fashion may have sounded like an unlikely match until recently, but players around the world are increasingly being noticed by fashion brands and, in turn, are embracing the fashion game more openly.
Of course, football has long been associated with strong masculinity, and an interest in fashion – beyond uniforms and sweats – was not really considered appropriate.
In the late ’90s and early ’90s, players including David Beckham helped cement the “football look” that was flashy and often headstrong, too – think creative hairstyles and logo-themed clothing. But it soon took on conservatism, thwarting early fashion experiments that traded for effortless activewear.
How things change. Social media and the continued exposure of players – highly linked to lucrative deals on and off the pitch – now seem to be as important as the wonder they perform on the pitch.
Although marketing-savvy fashion companies with established menswear businesses – from Paul Smith and Thom Browne to Diesel, Boss and Armani – have long recognized the advantages of dressing sports champions, fashionistas are beginning to ultimately partnerships that tend to lean more personal and focused. than in the past.
They reflect both the openness of players to express themselves creatively and affirm their stances on social and cultural issues, as well as fashion’s need for value-based ambassadors.
For some observers, in fact, the new fashion interest in football rests on the values embodied by the new generation of players rather than the popularity of the sport itself.
“Sports have become vehicles for promotion and single players are currently more sought after than entire teams, and particular disciplines are gaining momentum against sports that would normally attract a large following,” says Alessandro Maria Ferreri, a luxury consultant and owner of The Style consultancy. The gate.
Fashion brands are looking to highlight the personality behind the athlete and look for values that align with what the brands promote, he believes.
Conformist mentality of the past that led players to lean into their conservative fashion choices to fit in with the then hyper-masculine environment of the sport would present a risk to brands now as they seek to celebrate inclusiveness and open-mindedness .
However, this is no longer an issue.
“I think the next wave of representation in the soccer community will illuminate the voice of a more inclusive generation in the sport,” says Rachael Gentner, director of activewear at trend forecasting firm Fashion Snoops.
“We used to look at athletes through a lens of unattainable perfection—and now that focus is softer, offering us a chance to connect with our heroes in a closer way,” she adds.
Indeed, the dynamics of the sport have changed for the better and football players seem to enjoy playing with fashion as much as athletes in other disciplines have for much longer.
“Sports marketing strategies, once reserved for football, have expanded across all disciplines, it’s more about the athlete as a role model than the sport itself,” says Ferreri.
Examples can be found in Gucci using a diverse list of sports to choose its sports ambassadors, including tennis stars Jannik Sinner and Serena Williams.
These ambassadors across disciplines – think Lewis Hamilton fronting Valentino’s latest Pink PP campaign – come with huge followings, and football is the biggest sport. According to FIFA, it counts 5 billion fans worldwide.
“When luxury brands and high fashion designers approach these players to model for their collection, they understand that they are not only getting an athletic spokesperson, but also their massive fan base,” says Gentner.
Case in point: Soccer players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi regularly top the list of most-followed celebrities on Instagram, and they’ve both entered fashion with lifestyle and activewear lines.
“These football communities are truly global, providing a unique opportunity to connect with thousands of teams and clubs, allowing individuals to identify as fans in a more shared and inclusive way,” she notes.
At the same time, football has increasingly entered fashion collections and not only because brands associated with football teams offer themed capsule collections. Wales Bonner’s spring 2023 runway at Pitti Uomo last June offered a fashionable reinterpretation of the Adidas Samba, a classic indoor soccer sneaker, while Aimé Leon Dore and New Balance have featured Arsenal champion Bukayo Saka at the center of attention of the “Made in UK” campaign. football bent clothing.
Here, WWD Weekend highlights the latest fashion moments happening off the football field.
Real Madrid player Karim Benzemaan avid eyeglass collector, has recently bonded with him Jean Paul Gaultier to reveal a reprint of the oval-shaped metallic sunglasses known under the code 56-6160. Popularized in the 90s by personalities such as Tupac, they are now available in three colors. Benzema presents the campaign images and a video where he is seen strolling through the monuments of Paris amid a golden sunset.
Adidas’ housemates Paul Pogba, Jude Bellingham, David alabSerge Gnabry, Trinity Rodman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all front images as part of a content creation activity featuring Adidas x Gucci gathering. According to data aggregation firm Launchmetrics, the entire Adidas x Gucci campaign generated $75.8 million in media influence value, or MIV, with its online component garnering $167,000 in MIV. In particular, Real Madrid’s Alaba has played freely with fashion, showing a penchant for dress and gravitating towards brands such as Dior, Maison Margiela, Louis Vuitton and Bottega Veneta. He has appeared on the covers of GQ Hype and has written a curation of fashion articles for Matchesfashion.
Dior tapping Kylian Mbappe Late last year as global ambassador for the French fashion house’s men’s division and its men’s fragrance Sauvage generated $2.8 million in MIV, according to Launchmetrics. Mbappé’s appointment came after Dior launched a two-season collaboration with Paris Saint-Germain, where the French footballer has been its star striker since 2017. As well as boasting 72.4 million followers on Instagram alone, Mbappé embodies modern player values. He is involved in a number of charitable initiatives, sponsoring the “Premiers de Cordée” association, which provides sports initiatives for hospitalized children, and founding “Inspired by KM”, an association that aims to inspire children to achieve goals Theirs. Among his other fashion gigs, the soccer champion is a Hublot ambassador.
Football athletes now also aspire to fashion. Last July at the age of 19, the Real Madrid midfielder Eduardo camavinga walk in Balenciaga The catwalk show, the house’s 51st and the second since creative director Demna restarted it after a 53-year absence. He shared the catwalk with famous models including Kim Kardashian, Nicole Kidman, Dua Lipa and Selling Sunset star Christine Quinn. Launchmetrics estimated that his appearance generated $585,000 in MIV. He followed in the footsteps of current FC Barcelona full-back Héctor Bellerín, who made a surprise walk in the late Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton show in Paris for the Spring 2020 men’s runway show.
Although it maintains strong ties with the sports community in general, Gucci recruited to Manchester City Jack Grealish as its ambassador this year. The British soccer prodigy, often referred to as a modern-day Beckham, is often seen wearing Gucci items off-duty and for special magazine features and cover photos, such as the cover of The Face magazine last May. Launchmetrics estimates that the announcement has generated $2.3 million in MIV to date.
At the end of 2021, Burberry together with an international footballer Marcus Rashford, a leader of her campaigns in the past, to support children’s literacy programs, connecting with organizations that work with disadvantaged children and helping them develop their skills. As part of the partnership, the brand also donates books and funds the creation of libraries across the UK, US and Asia.