Football’s Influence on Paris Fashion Week is Now a Permanent Fixture
From players on runways to PSG collabs, Paris Fashion Week fuses football and fashion together like nowhere else.
It's no longer surprising to see pictures of Headie One asking Paul Pogba and Marco Verrati “Parlez Vous Anglais?" on the front row of Off-White during fashion week.
In fact, seeing ballers sat on the front row of Paris Fashion Week is nothing new – and neither is the collections they’re checking out being aesthetically influenced by the game itself.
Football’s influence has continued to get stuck into fashion weeks around the world – but the peak of this trend is undoubtedly in Paris. With Neymar a frequenter of the front row, Hector Bellerin stepping out himself for Louis Vuitton, through to Paul Pogba in 2022 all being notable personifications of this trend – designers like Balenciaga through to Botter have continued to blur the boundaries between high fashion and sport more prolifically than anywhere else on runways just off the Seine.
A lot of that synergy starts with the city’s biggest club, Paris Saint-Germain. Far beyond streetwear’s go-to club in 2022, PSG have gone from illustrating their credentials and compatibility with both streetwear and high-fashion, to become the benchmark for football clubs intersecting with fashion.
The club’s era-defining Jordan Brand collaboration might have kicked things off for the club on a global scale, but they’re now an established vehicle for brands to become connected to the game. At a high-end scale, their star player Kylian Mbappé, is the global ambassador for Dior. Meanwhile at a more discerning level, the club just started working with Fly Nowhere, who will help produce collaborations and special projects at the club’s new flagships store in New York City later this year. This comes after PSG extended their reach with the likes of Over The Pitch in Korea in 2021.
PSG might now get slandered as ‘Merchandise FC’ due to the multitude of their collaborations with everyone from BAPE to Colette, but their marketing nuance and touch points with each partnership are cleverly calculated.That much is still clear in their latest collaborators.
Before Fashion Week began, Stüssy announced the opening of their new chapter store in Paris and a collaborative kit with the club to kick off the launch. The LA imprint are having a massive resurgence as of late, so it’s interesting that they’ve chosen this era of the brand to work in football in a way we’ve never seen previously.
On the other end of the scale, the club partnered up with high fashion imprint 3.Paridas on a wider capsule collection to foreshadow fashion week a few weeks later, which delivered a slew of luxury apparel that placed the club’s branding front and centre.
It’s not just the city’s home team that want to get in on the act, too. One of PSG’s biggest initial moves into the high fashion field coincided with Koché’s label launch in 2017. The duo teamed up for a run of mash-up jerseys that were among the most talked-about pieces at PFW that year, going on to set a trend for brands mashing up jerseys together in the five years since. After they were flexed on runways for the first time as part of the brand’s S/S 18 drop, Vogue Runway’s Nicole Phelps commented, “who knew a football jersey cut on the bias could have such a nice drape?”
Fast forward to 2022 and Koché are working with another club that represents elite European football and fashion, AC Milan. Dubbed “a celebration of sport, heritage and couture”, the Paris meets Milan capsule spotlights influences from the two cultural powerhouses that make up AC Milan and Koché’s shared DNA. Designed specifically for Paris Fashion Week, the collection featured Koché Founder and Creative Director Christelle Kocher’s favourite unused AC Milan PUMA jerseys, which were then reworked with upcycled fabrics and prints from former KOCHÉ seasons into luxe-looking athleisure wear.
While PSG might be the central component to a place where football and fashion is intrinsically woven into the fabric of the city, the runway serves as an even clearer medium of gauging football’s influence on fashion in the wider world.
In recent years at PFW, we’ve seen super-brands like Balenciaga debut football kits as part of their AW20 collection. This year, it was Gucci’s turn to delve into their football bag – with the help of new collaborators, adidas. The duo’s set of co-branded goalkeeper gloves look as ready to stop shots at Port Vale as they do to show-stop in a Vogue editorial.
adidas’ football and fashion collabs have also been a mainstay at PFW in recent years. Craig Green unveiled a collaborative pair of Copa Mundial Team trainers on the runway in January 2020, and this year Parisian label BOTTER unveiled an amalgamated pair of adidas predators mounted on top of a squashed Derby shoe, to prove the synergy between the two worlds was truly fused together in 2022.
Elsewhere, London designer David Koma dressed his models in football shirts complete with rubber gloves and high socks, while Off-White reworked a 1970’s St. Etienne jersey and various stadium scarves as part of a collection that Pogba, Lewandowski and Veratti viewed from the front row.
While LMVH won’t readily admit to it, football will continue shaping style in Paris in a way that transcends the runway. But as more and more designers hop on the trend and open up their portfolio to include football influences in their collections, you can expect that influence to spill over into shows globally in the future. Football is no longer just a runway fad. It’s now a permanent fixture at fashion weeks around the world.