A Chelsea jersey made by Balmain?
Casual hooligans that appeared in England in the 1980s were influenced by the flamboyant fashions of Italy and France. However, the taste of those who enjoyed wearing high-end sportswear such as Lacoste and Fila changed in the 1990s. This is because England, where the weather changes, needed stylish and sturdy clothes. Accordingly, hooligans began to enjoy wearing luxury brands such as Burberry, Prada, Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Stone Island.
At the time, luxury brands did not like being involved with soccer. Traditionally, soccer was a working-class sport, and it was because of hooligans with violent images. However, as the commercial success of the football industry and famous players evolve into a brand, luxury brands also begin to take an interest in football.
A famous designer is also added to the soccer jersey, and a new type of shirt that has not been seen before appears. A representative example is the collaboration between Yohji Yamamoto, a famous designer from Japan, and Adidas. In the Champions League in 2014, Real Madrid showed off a kit with a dragon, a legendary animal, engraved on the body of an Adidas shirt. Yamamoto said his intention was to express the greatness and glory of Real Madrid by designing a dragon on the shirt.
2022 marked the 120th anniversary of the founding of Real Madrid. It was also the 20th anniversary of Y-3, a brand created as a collaboration between Yamamoto and Adidas. To commemorate this, Madrid released a shirt emblazoned with Y-3, not Adidas, which was first shown at 'El Clasico' held in March 2022. However, the match ended in a 0-4 defeat for Madrid.
Beyond collaborations between famous designers and sports manufacturers, there are cases where luxury brands have entered the soccer market directly as kit sponsors. Napoli, which is familiar to domestic fans thanks to Kim Min-jae's performance, signed a kit sponsor contract with Emporio Armani's sports brand EA7 from the 2021-22 season.
When a Napoli authentic shirt with EA7 was sold for 125 euros, some media made a fuss about the most expensive kit in football history. This was an obvious misinformation. In the same season, Juventus shirts made by Adidas cost 140 euros, and the price of AC Milan made by Puma was 120 euros, not much different from Napoli.
Have you ever wondered, “What if a luxury brand made football kits?” Of course, there are many problems such as high price in reality. However, just as we never expected in the past that luxury brands and soccer would become so close, we do not know what will happen in the future. In addition, in recent years, more and more luxury brands are forming fashion partnerships with big clubs in Europe, and they are also aiming for publicity effects by selecting soccer stars as ambassadors. Let me stretch my imagination for a moment.
My club of choice is Chelsea. Chelsea in the 20th century were not a very successful team. Winning the 1954-55 season, winning the FA Cup in the 1969-70 season, and winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in the 1970-71 season were all they could put forward. But under Ruud Gullit in 1996 and manager Gianluca Vialli from 1998, Chelsea have lifted several trophies. Then, in 2003, Russian conglomerate Roman Abramovich was welcomed as the new owner, opening the heyday of Chelsea.
But Chelsea's performance in the 20th century, especially before the 1950s, was disappointing. In response, comedians at the time used to ridicule, saying, “When will Chelsea ever win?”
Knightsbridge in this borough is home to Harrods, a high-end department store representing England. Also here is Sloan Square, which has been compared to New York's premier shopping street, Fifth Avenue. In Sloane Square, in addition to luxury apartments and various luxury brand shops, Saatchi Gallery, a world-class art museum, is also located, making it a famous cultural attraction. I also had the experience of buying a servlet here for several months, and there were many eye candy, but I remember being embarrassed by the high price.
Also near Stamford Bridge is the famous King's Road (named after the 17th-century private road of King Charles II). Kings Road is the heart of London's fashion, art and music scene. The legendary group Led Zeppelin's record company was located on King's Road, and famous musicians such as David Bowie and Bob Marley lived nearby. In addition, the 'Sex Boutique', which led the popularization of punk, was also located on King's Road, run by Vivienne Westwood, a symbol of London fashion, and her boyfriend Malcolm McLaren. In England, there is a view that Kings Road and Chelsea FC, the birthplace of the culture that symbolizes the 20th century, are synonymous.
The Chelsea players of the past didn't play football, but they were flashy and free. The recent Chelsea team has outstanding skills as well as sophistication. Accordingly, I selected French luxury brand Balmain as Chelsea's kit sponsor. This is because Balmain's luxurious colors and flamboyant design will create a wonderful harmony with Chelsea's luxurious arrogance.