Football and fashion are strongly intertwined. Global football clubs partner with fashion brands for obvious business purposes but also motivated by the image positioning that comes with such partnership.
AC Milan with Dolce & Gabbana, Real Madrid with Versace, Arsenal with Lanvin and Manchester City with Hugo Boss are so many examples of global football clubs expanding their brands by meaningful partnerships with fashion brands.
Bayern Munich, the world most football valuable brand, recently inked a 3 year partnership deal with Giorgio Armani. The Italian fashion brand will provide players and management with a luxury wardrobe from his Made to Measure collection.
The uniform includes an anthracite gray suit in wool and cashmere, as well as a two-button jacket with rounded lapels, a waistcoat and flat-front trousers, and a light gray cotton shirt with hidden buttons.
In a nod to FC Bayern München’s official colors, the uniform will also include a red micro-patterned tie, black lace-up shoes and a duster coat. For coach Pep Guardiola and the players only, a special travelwear uniform will consist of a soft-fit jacket, matching trousers and a long-sleeve polo shirt.
All of the garments will boast personalized labels stating “Giorgio Armani for [the name of the wearer].” Pretty cool isn’t it!
Armani will also supply the team with accessories, from sunglasses to a deep blue trolley bag, beauty case and messenger bag.
Armani said: “Guardiola’s Bayern is a winning team that plays a quality game, and is composed of motivated athletes with an international scope. A tailored suit is a true contemporary luxury, which is perfect for a top club like Bayern and adapts naturally to the athletes’ bodies.”
FC Bayern München chief executive officer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the group was “proud and delighted” to be outfitted by Armani, noting: “in this way [the team] is not only on top level sportswise, but also fashionwise.”
Prior to his involvement with FC Bayern München, Armani designed the uniform of London’s Chelsea FC from 2007 to 2009.
When I started my career in sports marketing, it was unthinkable to link a football club to a fashion brand. Players would wear sweatshirts, polyester suits, rainjackets, not cashmere jumpers or fitted waistcoats!
However, I would say that this “trend” started with AC Milan (or with Italian clubs in general) where players were to get off the bus and enter the pitch before warm up with a suit.
Having worked with AC Milan during my adidas time, I noticed first hand that player’s look off the pitch was as important as on the pitch. What started as a cultural behaviour ended up as a growing business opportunity.