Fashion and sport can often live in perfect harmony. Famous labels produce the garments, and sports stars wear them when performing in their chosen arena. Over the years there’s been an impressive collection of sports stars who’ve turned their own sporting success into fashion triumph.
Today we focus on the sports icons and how their own rise in the sport they play has led them to become a fashionable choice when purchasing sportswear, footwear, and other clothing with their name or label on.
Michael Jordan – Air Jordan
Where better to start than the man whose ‘Air Jordan’ nickname led to the one of the most successful product launches in Nike history. Rising to fame with the Chicago Bulls in the late 80s and early 90s, Michael Jordan quickly became the American dream for brand endorsements.
Fashion statements from sports stars aren’t always in the form of pictures, or well-worked video shoots. The moment that propelled Jordan and Nike into the stratosphere was back in 1985 during a Nike sponsored exhibition game. Wearing a pair of Air Jordan 1 High trainers, the basketball star did his famous leap to the backboard and shattered the glass — an iconic moment and one that served Jordan and Nike rather well.
Following this and several other high-profile moments in the game, including six NBA championships, the rise in popularity of Michael and his trainers saw the famous tick build the Jordan brand into a standalone $3.1 billion business.
Nine pairs of Air Jordan’s have raked in almost $1 million at auction, and the recent Netflix documentary The Last Dance showcased the upcoming release of the Air Jordan 14 Hyper Royal, proving that his and the trainer’s popularity is far from over.
Chuck Taylor – Converse All-Star
Basketball’s influence on fashion goes further back than Michael Jordan. In fact, it goes all the way back to 1917 when Converse started making a shoe designed for the court. They would redesign it in 1922 when Charles “Chuck” Taylor, a semi-professional player who became a Converse salesman, asked them to create a shoe with more support and flexibility.
The shoe featured the now famous all-star logo and became the first celebrity endorsed shoe. Today, it’s popularity across the US and other countries makes it a top choice for casual footwear — with Taylor’s influence a stroke of genius.
Even US Navy SEALs get use from Chuck Taylor shoes. Pairs of all-black Chucks are issued for maritime operations, with many seeing them as functional trainers for sea use. The best-selling Converse shoes have also become a popular choice for presidential candidates, with Kamala Harris revealing that she owns a range of Chuck Taylor trainers.
Venus Williams — EleVen
Another sport with close ties to fashion is tennis. Over the years, we’ve seen the success of Fred Perry clothing, Adidas’ Stan Smith trainers and Roger Federer’s famous RF logo. But in the world of women’s sportswear, one tennis star that is climbing the fashion rankings after unprecedented success in the game, is Venus Williams. Regarded as one of the all-time greats, Williams has picked up seven Grand Slam singles titles, including five Wimbledon championships.
This success has not only made the California-born pro a legend of the game, but also a female icon as one of the most inspirational sports stars of the modern era. Originally launched in 2007, EleVen has turned into one of the most empowering sportswear brands on the market.
With motivating and empowering women at the forefront of Williams’ label, the recent collaboration between EleVen and Wonder Woman is a fine example of sport and fashion coming together to create icon clothing—especially for those who play tennis or see clothing as a big inspiration for getting involved and building confidence.
Serena Williams – S by Serena
If anyone in women’s tennis is as famous as Venus Williams it’s Serena Williams the younger sister of the two. With 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the second-most successful female tennis player of all-time has also been a commercial success over the years.
With a stream of brand endorsements and a strong marketing image,Serena was the only woman to make the Forbes 2019 World’s Highest Paid Athletes list. Having promoted everything from Beats Audio headphones to IBM’s Watson computer system, the tennis-legend-turned-entrepreneur launched S by Serena at the 2019 New York Fashion Week — with an emphasis on celebrating women who break limits, boundaries and traditions.
Cristiano Ronaldo – CR7
Cristiano Ronaldo’s rise to becoming one of the greatest footballers in history has seen his celebrity status follow suit, along with his business empire. With hefty wages and countless brand endorsements, Ronaldo created and copyrighted the CR7 brand where he’s designed tracksuits with Nike and released his own fragrance.
Now, the former Manchester United player has ventured into the world of clothing, specifically denim. CR7 denim focuses on adult male and boys clothing, with Ronaldo’s fanbase including plenty of youngsters who see him as a hero.
Ronaldo’s investment in fashion is good news for the industry, and his success should be like that of David Beckham, who’s been involved with fashion for many years.
Plenty of room for the next icon
The connection between sport and fashion will always be strong. Both industries flourish in each other’s success. With the coronavirus pandemic bringing testing times for both industries, the desire for the next sporting icon to make their own fashion statement is not only encouraged, but offers the perfect solution for long-term sustainability.