Sports and Fashion: a Match Made On (and Off) the Court

Things are heating up on the astroturf. Italian shopping site Yoox just dropped a new collection of sports merch called “Yoox Soccer Couture,” in collaboration with 14 different designers. Designers were picked to design gear for each of the soccer teams competing in the World Cup on June 14 in Russia.

The collection of unisex t-shirts and hoodies are available now on YOOX. For fans who want to show their team spirit in style, everything is priced between $97-$146.

As you can imagine, these aren’t your typical sports jerseys—some of the brands and designers chosen to work on the collection include England’s Vivienne Westwood, Portugal’s Marques Almeida, Colombia’s Esteban Cortezar, France’s Koché, and Belgium’s Y/Project.

Yoox Soccer Couture


But this isn’t the first time high fashion labels have mixed and mingled with the world of sports. Last year, “red bottom” don Christian Louboutin created special men’s designs for a Pitti Immagine Uomo bike polo tournament in Florence, Italy.

And the Olympics are always a style spectacle, where Ralph Lauren is a regular. The American designer came up with Team America’s patriotic red, white, and blue uniforms in January for the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

This romance between style and sports is even more evident when you look at the prominence of the athleisure trend, which has completely changed modern dress codes. It used to be unacceptable to wear sneakers or a pair of leggings to the office. But now, in many workplaces, spotting a derby shoe or a loafer feels retro—like an old vestige of a bygone fashion era.

Today, people everywhere are mixing high and lowbrow trends, and the athletic fashion business is booming as a result. In a report by market research firm NPD, demand for “sport leisure styles” in 2017 rose by 17% to $9.6 billion in sales. Meanwhile, the demand for performance apparel went down by 10% to $7.4 billion.

As customers’ preferences have shifted towards comfortable clothing, so have their style icons. People aren’t as inspired by movie stars and glamazons anymore—it’s the athletes, like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (who has a line with Barney’s), that are setting today’s trends.

One stylish athlete is UFC fighter Conor McGregor, who has become widely followed on Instagram for his loud personal style and selfies. The tatted and ever-fashionable Irishman isn’t afraid to rock a round pair of frames—or a pair of Burberry’s rainbow-logo sweats.

Solid work tonight because 4th place doesn’t get a medal.

A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

Another stylish athlete is Serena Williams, who just started her own fashion line. And Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott once famously rocked a crop top for the Pro Bowl.

This isn’t just a one-sided love affair, though. Fashion adores sports figures just as much in return, if not more, for their model-esque limbs and their social influence.

Thom Browne is one fashion designer that has a soft spot for athletes. The stoic New York-based Browne—known for his impeccable tailoring—dressed the entire Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team in cropped suits, per a request from top Cav himself, LeBron James.

Earlier this year, French brand Maison Kitsuné collaborated with the NBA on a line of playful gear. The brand teased the collaboration with a clever video titled “Garage Alley-oop.”

Even on the runway, where trends become old news in a matter of months, athleisure still continues to hold its ground. Brands like Alexander Wang, Louis Vuitton, and Tommy Hilfiger all showed some variation on sportswear for Spring 2018.

Sports and Fashion: a Match Made On (and Off) the Court

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2018

Off the runway, the retail trend shows no signs of slowing down either.

According to a report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., “The global market for Sports and Fitness Clothing is projected to reach US$231.7 billion by 2024″—that’s a lot of stretchy material.

With so many people continuing to spend their hard-earned dollars on athleisure clothing, it looks like fashion and sports have hit a home run. Until people get sick of their leggings.

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