Football fans aren’t the exact cause of this rise for brands like Stone Island or Fila. I am sure their marketing team would argue their case for the success, but it is not rare to see brands that now have collections inspired by the famed football terraces.
Fans in the 80s and 90s may have inspired collections and made brands a fair few bucks, but players have been intertwined with fashion for decades.
Footballers are in the media spotlight constantly, and especially in today’s social media age having a footballer on your brand’s side will massively increase revenue.
You don’t have to look too far back to find the first footballer who crossed the line between player and celebrity. The late George Best is often seen as the first “rock ‘n’ roll” footballer, and he is even known as the fifth Beatle to some.
Best’s personal life was the envy of even the biggest rockstar at the time. This made him a fashion icon off the field, and much was made of his outfits each time he stepped out. Best also owned a boutique store for many years in Manchester named the Edwardia, which sold lots of the biggest fashion items of the 60s- including Best’s signature looks.
As the years passed by, other players came close to Best but the player who outdid him was David Beckham. Becks, helped by his wife Victoria, made sure the press focused just as much on his image as they did his fantastic right foot.
To this day, Beckham is still on-trend with his clothes and still demands lots of attention about his outfit choice at any event. Posh and Becks even managed to be a media vocal point at a Royal Wedding.
Football kits x Big Brands
Football is a big-money industry. It is hard to find another industry in the world that generates such money year in year out. Clothing companies have been quick to see the financial potential of having their brand’s logo on a football top, especially as it is going to be seen by fans worldwide.
We have seen a range of one-off special collaboration kits over the past few years. Standouts include the Juventus x Palace collection that is now a collector’s item and Human Race’s team up with various Adidas teams to make special edition tops. Palace is a brand you wouldn’t normally pair with football, but the draw of having CR7 work for their brand was too strong.
One collaboration that has taken off over the past few years is Nike Air Jordan and PSG. Jordan is known mainly for its links with U.S. basketball, but by collaborating with PSG it was a real winner for Nike. They already had Mbappe and Neymar on their books when Jordan’s made the link-up, but when they added Lionel Messi this summer, the image of the greatest footballer ever in Jordan’s kit was perfect for Nike.
The Jordan PSG collection is something that goes beyond football. It is a collection that is made for streetwear and is a reflection of how football is now a big part of fashion.
It is cool to wear a footy top again, yano
To some fans, wearing their team’s football top to an actual game is a big no-no. Football tops are now coming back into fashion, with the rise of retro tops at the forefront. Companies are making big money by sourcing retro tops and reselling them. I’m sure if you went to a festival this summer you saw hundreds of different football tops, old and new, dotted about.
Clubs have also been savvy about this, quick to spot the trend of nostalgia for the good old days. In recent years we have seen Arsenal try to recreate their famous Bruised Banana kit, and Manchester United recreate their famous 91-93 away kit. It is up for debate if these recreations were a success (in my opinion, they weren’t), but clubs are looking to profit from a newfound love for retro kits.
It isn’t just retro kits that are now fashionable, modern kits are also starting to take on a new level, away from the field. Most noticeably in recent years, Nigeria has produced kits that are instantly recognisable and earn respect from passers-by at events or in the streets- and these are big crowd-pleasers at festivals.
The relationship between football and fashion may have started in the 60s with Best, blossomed in the 90s` with Posh and Becks, and solidified in recent years with PSG x Jordan- but there is so much more to come from this. Although I feel we might be a far way off seeing a Supreme x Sheffield Wednesday collection…