Why are footballers no longer dressing like sh*t?

Why are footballers no longer dressing like sh*t?

by Robyn Pullen
6 min

Straight off the pitch and onto the runway: footballers are finally getting fashionable. Whilst, back in the day, footballers had a reputation for dressing like sh*t, rocking bootcut jeans and Dad-knitwear, 2024 has seen the football and fashion worlds collide, with more footballers working with luxury brands, walking on runways, and even dropping their own labels. Let’s look at the players running sh*t on and off the pitch.

From the back of the net to middle of the runway
Nahmias©

First to score in the fashion sphere was arguably Héctor Bellerín, the Spanish player who many think was the first footballer to actually get a stylist. When he walked for Louis Vuitton at Paris Fashion Week in 2019 the fashion industry took note. Before long, other brands were looking to the field for runway models, with Balenciaga picking Eduardo Camavinga to walk in 2022 and, more recently, Reece James walking for Nahmias earlier this month.

From man of the match to the face of a brand
Burberry©

It’s not only on the runway where footballers are kicking off their boots though; brands are now enlisting them for campaigns, partnerships, and even as brand ambassadors. Kylian Mbappé’s been a brand ambassador for Hublot since 2018; Tottenham Hotspur player Son Heung-Min was made an ambassador for Burberry in 2022; and Trent Alexander-Arnold became the face of GUESS JEANS literally this week.

Off the pitch footballers are copping a new style
@stefanbajcetic ©

They also aren’t just swapping bootcut jeans when they’re paid to. Many footballers are taking it upon themselves to elevate their wardrobes, using the rare moments they’re spotted out of club kits and suits to show off their personal style. Examples include: Portuguese player, Thierry Rendall posting in LOEWE jeans; Liverpool midfielder Stefan Bajetic pairing fits with Maison Margiela Tabis; and football and fashion icon Jules Kounde investing in the new LV by Tyler the Creator collection. Sure, we know they probably have stylists, but that doesn’t mean their fits go any less hard.

Investing footballer’s salaries in fashion brands
@gospelestudios ©

On top of all this, some footballers are taking on the fashion world themselves, dropping their own labels and investing real money in existing brands. Back in 2020, Tiemoué Bakayoko became a shareholder and ambassador of Études Studio, releasing an eyewear drop with the brand in 2021. And more recently, fashion’s favourite baller Héctor Bellerín launched his own sustainable fashion brand, Gospel Estudios. It seems that, for fashionable footy players, it’s not hard to swap the pitch for a new goal: fashion design. 

Why are footy and fashion uniting?
@jkeey4 ©

There’s a ton of reasons football players are changing out of their kits and into high fashion. For one, players are majorly media trained and are dressed by their teams on the pitch and sponsored brands off it, meaning they’re always looking for new ways to show off their personalities. The rare occasions they step off a coach or head to training is an opportunity to portray their true selves, and what they choose to wear is the easiest way of doing that.

As well as this, footballers are being drawn to high fashion because they’ve got the money to spend on it. It’s true that it costs time, money, and effort to even just research buying luxury, and that’s three things footballers usually have a lot of. If we all had as much free time and spare cash as the average premiership baller, we’d be blowing it on designer too. 

Football, like film, music, and all types of sport, have always had an interest in fashion, because fashion as a whole is the pinnacle of cool. It’s the theory of association, boosting Challengers into the luxury sphere because of its LOEWE collab, and now football wants a piece too. And the reverse, fashion’s getting a taste for football, enlisting players in its latest campaigns, hiring them as brand ambassadors and creating their own kits, because it can see that the beautiful game’s not getting any less popular. In fact, it’s only getting more.

Featured image via @jkeey4 ©

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