When fashion brands enter football, expect an industry earthquake
In April, one of the biggest scandals in football history hit the sport. On the eve of the 18th, Spanish businessman Florentino Perez announced the secret formation of the European Super League. Universal outrage followed almost immediately. Fans accused the league of elitism, lack of competitiveness, and hoarding financial gains for themselves. Players and managers publicly protested on the field and social media, and fellow governing football bodies slammed the league, calling its makeup “secessionist”.
Three days later, the ESL said it would suspend its operations. Back to basics? Not quite. While the controversial move might have not been fully successful it symbolizes one of the biggest shifts in football’s history, with pressures to quickly and globally commercialize the sport almost always acting to the detriment of OG fans.
Now, what will happen when the fashion industry enters the same arena? Changing its mind 180-degrees and actively pursuing the exact same customers they’ve shunned for decades, fearing that associating themselves with anything “working class” would automatically mean diluting the brand?
The sport has gotten so big, so global (yet so local), so diverse, so relevant, so wealthy, so authentic, so… ripe for appropriation. And so (just like the Super League with its fancy suit and $1,200 dress shoes entered the stadium, chanting how the game has always been its religion), the multi-trillion dollar fashion industry is about to follow in its footsteps.
Yet with players increasingly becoming personalities off the field, clubs seeing the benefits of associating with lifestyle brands, and fans themselves becoming avid luxury shoppers, is fashion’s push into football all that bad?