Sports and fashion won big together this year

Last Sunday, when Lionel Messi and the Argentina national team stood on the podium, Qatar With the World Cup trophy in hand, the overall mood was one of joy and admiration, but in some corners of the Internet, we noticed details that raised some eyebrows for some viewers.

Why the Gold Statuette Arrived on the Field Steel Louis Vuitton trunk with logo?

Before the finals, more than 150 designers from 50 countries took part, for the same reason Qatar hosted what has been described as “the world’s biggest fashion show”, the former French Vogue editor ‘s Karine Roitfeld coordinated everything.

When it comes to cultural influences, fashion and sports increasingly work together to power the game.

Both provide a common language that is spoken around the world and communicated instantly. And in 2022, the relationship has reached a new level. Social media, the growth of influencer and sneaker culture, and the shift in cultural consumption spurred by the pandemic. Something more substantive is happening. Connections are everywhere when you start looking.

About a week before the World Cup started, the New York Knicks announced they had named Ronnie Feig. streetwear Culture” as the first creative director.

Just weeks earlier, the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League announced the appointment of Rhuigi Villaseñor, founder of Los Angeles menswear line Rhude, as creative strategist. Swiss luxury brand Bally.

The news came after Serena Williams announced she would be retiring from tennis and hitting the runway as the opening model for the Vogue World show. Tom Brady introduces Brady. Brady is a lifestyle his casual wear brand created with Jens Grede. Kim Kardashian Skims line) and was previously designed by Dao-Yi Chow for the Public School label. Track and field athlete Allyson Felix introduces her brand Cyche. Ferrari will host its first fashion show on the official schedule of Milan Fashion Week. Michael Jordan’s brand has chosen to open his first concept store in Milan instead of Chicago.

As to why, “This is the fashion capital of the world,” brand president Craig Williams told WWD. Because we’re thinking about what’s going to be popular later, in the industry, in streetwear, and even in culture, when you think about the impact we want to have on consumers, there’s a lot of synergy between our aspirations and everything. milan represents ”

Mr Grede said: they converged. ”

language of influence

Villasenor said the deal with Coyote “dresses the team at both street and formal levels, from the campaign, to the arena’s color palette, drinks, lighting, logos and designs, including outside of stereotypical merchandise programs.” up.

And just as he’s trying to reinvent Barry, he’s added some flashy sparkle to Alpine’s ephemera. said Villasenor.

It’s fashion talk like you’d traditionally find in a design atelier, not a weight room. New York Islanders, the connection doesn’t stop there. Malkin is also the founder of Value Retail, his group of luxury outlets in Europe and Asia, and this year he built his new shopping village next to UBS He Arena in Elmont, New York. did.

Both sports and fashion are “creative energies coupled with execution”, often not easily fitting into rigid structures, and are about managing talents that, like society, must evolve. He said he can deal with a constant schedule with people, have enormous mental impact and influence, and loves to talk about “curating experiences.”

Both are about branding on a macro and micro level.

After all, what is a brand but a name, a logo or a collection of values ​​contained in an object? A symbol that stands for tradition, know-how and beauty. Or excellence, desire, power, grace, behaviorism, all adjectives attached to athletes. It can also mean handbags and sneakers.

“People really care about what the brand stands for,” said Tory Burch, who merged the Mainline and Sport lines to create this year’s Billie Jean King Cup winner’s jacket. , the brand is very focused on building community.”

One way to do this is by sharing live experiences that create deep connections. Emotional connection. Another way is through individuals who represent the citizens of the brand. It’s a virtuous circle of group identities, flying their flags of allegiance. It’s not just flags, it’s clothes.

This is how the whole concept of so-called brand ambassadors began: celebrities became the personification of a brand and a shortcut to knowing what it stood for. thought; sometimes, like Kanye West, there are surprises.)

But while the idea may have originated with traditional Hollywood stars and starlets, it’s now fully moved to sports.From basketball and tennis to soccer, football, and even soccer. baseball —Think Joc Pederson (now with the San Francisco Giants), his pearls, and hockey.

“Anyone who has a deep level of understanding of who they are and what they present to the world attracts influence,” said Jerry Lorenzo, founder of Fear of God. With Adidas, which will be introduced in 2023.

And clout sells products.

Branding for everyone

Sports stars have long understood the role of image-making in expanding and improving their fame ever since Rene Lacoste put a small alligator on the left chest of his polo. shirt And Stan Smith named some kicks after him. I used it.

However, Endeavor president Mark Shapiro said it owns multiple fashion weeks and Ultimate Fighting Championships around the world. modeling And the sports representative’s arm – it really was ‘Michael Jordan’ that changed everything when he started coming to press conferences decked out completely in custom-made suits and ties.

Even before he started his line with Nike, Jordan understood the power of clothing that complements play and created a model that David emulated. Beckham, Odell Beckham Jr., Venus Williams, Russell Westbrook, Roger Federer, Naomi Osaka and others. As Brady said in an email, “He paved the way for most of us.”

Players found that branding themselves through what they wore extended their performance beyond the action and “opened the door to the next step in their career.” They gave themselves a platform independent profile.

So, draft day was born, which worked like a runway show, with rookie athletes taking advantage of their moment in the spotlight to brand themselves even before joining a team. A game-day walk from the car to the locker room turned into a daily photo shoot, spawning his LeagueFits, BlitzFits, Slam x Kicks, and other Instagram accounts that track athletes’ fashion choices.

“In the age of social media, Instagram moving products and always-on cameras create legends in the field,” says Shapiro. “But the waking moment is an image-making performance of what we’re wearing, the products we’re using, and how it’s being shared.”

The rise of social media has bypassed the old power structures of fame and enabled direct communication between stars (and would-be stars) and fans, but has also led to a fragmented audience. . As Ben Affleck said at the New York Times Dealbook conference about his new production company, Artists Equity, which he founded with Matt Damon, the reason there aren’t more mega movie stars is the actors’ charisma and talent. Audiences are becoming niche and divided into increasingly specific interest groups, not because they are inferior.

Greed agreed. Celebrity now available purely through social media “may be the only unfair advantage in consumer culture,” he said. “Skims benefited from it, and so did Brady. He’s a company, just like Kim Kardashian is a company.”

Brady has 13 million Instagram followers. Beckham, 76.4 million. and Williams, 16 million.

“People, especially young people, can find inspiration more broadly and more easily from sports heroes and fashion brands than from other industries,” says Malkin. And both sides want to benefit.

trophy lifestyle

“Individuals are now intellectual property,” Artist Equity backer Jerry Cardinale said at the DealBook conference. It’s probably no coincidence that their production company’s first film to focus on is The Birth of the Air He Jordan Brand.

Grede said the direct-to-consumer model has changed the landscape forever in terms of individual opportunities. In the past, athletes and celebrities relied on one of the few sports clothing mega-brands to distribute their lines. not anymore. Now they can profit from their own brand assets instead of renting them out to other brands like Nike and Dior.

At the same time, “the team has caught on to the idea that the brand is also the star,” says Grede. “And the team is a lifestyle brand.” “Lifestyle” is the subject. That’s why Malkin created the Isles Lab. The store features premium hockey merchandise devised by a team with roots in brands like Burberry, including the $995 cashmere Islanders blanket and his $2,500 varsity jacket.

The team has a ready-made fanbase, and the community gravitates towards promoting its identity and membership through merchandise. there is no. In fact, with tickets to the big games so expensive and sitting courtside becoming a symbol of luxury, it’s surprising that garments that symbolize loyalty haven’t kept up.

That’s why Clara Wu Tsai, owner of the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty, who attended Villasenor’s Barry debut, said his appointment with the Coyotes and Feig’s appointment with the Knicks would be trending rather than strange. Probability is high.

And if teams and athletes are looking to luxury as a strategic model, it’s only a matter of time before Luxury begins to take notice of teams and expand the brand into the sports arena in a more entrenched way. As well as the owner.

In fact, rumors circulated this year that LVMH is interested in buying AC Milan. LVMH denied it, but you can understand where the idea came from. Think synergy. LVMH could place his one of its own product-filled luxury hotels next to the stadium. That designer can create a special collaboration just for your team. The designer was able to fill the front row and marketing his campaign with his LVMH athletes.

“Definitely, they could own a franchise,” said Grede. In other words, the playing field could change irrevocably after 2023.

(This article originally appeared in The New York Times.)

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