From the beautiful game to beautiful garms, football players have become fashion icons in their own right. Often seen on the front row at Fashion Weeks and the face of show-stopping campaigns, these athletes have become some of the most in-demand faces in fashion.
Martine Rose teamed up with Nike for the Women’s world, removing gender from menswear as she crafted co-branded tailoring designed to be worn off the pitch and donned by the USA Women’s team. The collection was released alongside a solid goalie glove-inspired Shox MR4 mule that was at the top of everyone’s wish list since they were previewed at the designer’s SS24 show.
Fronting the campaign was England Captain, Leah Williamson, proving that menswear is for the girls too. One of the UK’s most popular and culturally relevant designers designing kits for the women’s team is huge.
Since retiring in 2013, David Beckham has been a full-time style icon, but even during his playing days, England’s former golden boy was serving looks. In 1996 Beckham scored an absolute screamer from the halfway line, a goal that has been played over and over again. Two years later, Beckham cemented himself as a style icon, sporting a sarong during the 1998 France World Cup. Skirts might be the lengest item in legwear in 2023, but in the 90s, Beckham was chewed up by the tabloids for his style decision, which they deemed to be for the girls only. By sticking to his guns, Beckham set a precedent for footballers being at the forefront of fashion.
Fast-forward to today, and you’ll see Bukayo Saka in Aimé Leon Dore and Memphis Depay for Valentino. Picture expertly crafted Italian menswear shot against the backdrop of a nautical backdrop. That’s what Valentino brought to the table for their football-meets-fashion campaign.
Similarly, Dior Artistic Director Kim Jones designed a tailoring dedicated to Paris Saint Germain, who has also been the feature of a Jordan Brand collab. Football clubs have cottoned on to their fashionable appeal, even appointing creative directors to head off-pitch projects. Crystal Palace hired Kenny Annan-Jonathon as Creative Director to design Crystal Palace’s Fall Winter 23 collection, with plans to launch products beyond typical sports merchandise. Annan-Jonathon also founded the sports marketing and management agency THE MAILROOM.
Back in the day, actors were favoured by fashion houses to star in campaigns, but the shift to footballers does make sense. In a world before the internet, actors were shown on our screens and at the forefront of the zeitgeist.
In today’s social-savvy landscape, footballers appeal to fashion brand’s thanks to not only playing the world’s most popular sport, with over 3 billion fans, but also being able to bring these followers away from Sky Sports and onto our Instagram feeds. This captivating quality is too good to miss for the fashion industry.
From Beckham’s pre-Instagram Sarong moment to Martine Rose decking out the Lionesses, football is fashionable, and we’re here for it.
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