When it comes to cultural influence, fashion and sports are increasingly intersecting to create clothing and accessories designed for performance and style or make the sporting event more alluring. Its a win: win for sports organisations to collaborate with a fashion brand or get a Creative Director on board; young consumers today are just as passionate about fashion as they are about the sports they follow and well executed partnerships add to the allure of a sporting organisation or event, luring a new fan base who may not have cared for the sport until then.
“Both offer a shared language spoken across the world, communicated in an instant…. One driven by the tangles of social media, the growth of influencer and sneaker culture and a pandemic-spurred shift in cultural consumption. Forget one-off collaborations or athleisure; forget brand ambassadors or NBA stars in the front row. Something more essential has been going on. When you start looking, the connections are everywhere, creating a new root system that’s shaping our sense of self,” per The New York Times.
A prime illustration of the intersection of fashion and sports is America’s leading professional football league, Major League Soccer, hiring cult streetwear designer Guillermo Andrade as Creative Advisor. Founder and creative director of Los Angeles-based store FourTwoFour and streetwear label 424, Andrade will lead the design and development of limited edition co-branded capsule collections for significant moments surrounding Leagues Cup, starting July 2023. “Teaming up with the inaugural edition of Leagues Cup is incredibly humbling and such a unique opportunity. It is beyond an honor – this is a childhood dream come true. I cannot wait to share my journey and how soccer saved my life,” he said in a company release.
“There’s a huge opportunity around the Leagues Cup, our newest event,” David Bruce, Major League Soccer’s Senior Vice President of Brand and Integrated Marketing, told WWD. “So we thought, how can we position and market this in a way that is going to speak to a really diverse audience base? Is there a voice out there that can help bring this to life in a way that both audiences of the Mexican leagues and MLS can understand and respect and will enable us to get immediate credibility? We thought Guillermo’s background perfectly fit that kind of purpose. He’s a soccer person at heart, it really drives him in what he does and how he views the world, and you see it in his work. It just felt like a really authentic match and I think there’s so much that we can do together.”
Andrade’s appointment marks the first time a sports league of this stature has created such a designation although similar moves have been successfully initiated in the past; this includes New York Knicks roping Kith’s Ronnie Fieg as its Creative Director last year and Cleveland Cavaliers hiring American artist Daniel Arsham for the same position in 2020. Italian football club Napoli’s ongoing partnership with Giorgio Armani — which resulted in a collection of on-pitch apparel and special edition pieces — began retailing what became known as football’s most expensive jersey! What’s more, luxury fashion brands Moncler and Dior signed deals to design formalwear or playing gear for major European football clubs, last year. This increasing intersection of fashion and sports is poised to yield invaluable returns of connecting with new communities in meaningful and authentic ways. And, if sports organisations and leagues are looking to fashion as a strategic model, then it is only a matter of time before luxury fashion enters the sports arena in a more entrenched way.
Jasmeen Dugal is a senior writer and author for FashionABC where she is responsible for writing stories that cover the fashion industry as a whole, from fashion events to innovative brands that are transforming the industry through the use of the metaverse, sustainability, and new digital solutions. She is also very active on Instagram with more than 92k followers.
Before joining FashionABC, Jasmeen worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor, and she was instrumental in launching Vogue India’s official website. Her experience in the industry spans over a decade, during which time she has gained invaluable insights into the workings of the fashion world.
Four years ago, Jasmeen embarked on a new adventure and launched her own luxury portal, where she continues to focus on telling the stories of the people behind the brands. Her unique approach to editorial has helped her stand out in the industry, and her work is highly regarded by her peers.
Jasmeen is also an active social media user and can be followed on Twitter at @jasmeenGdugal and Instagram at @jasmeengdugal. Her social media presence showcases her expertise in the industry and provides her followers with valuable insights into the latest trends and developments in the world of fashion.