"Whether it is breathability, comfort or performance, the right sportswear is essential to success."
For the superstitious among us too, fashion also plays a role in sports, with stars turning to jewellery, socks, and even pants to bring them luck.
But what about the other way, when the world of sports has stepped in the opposite direction and challenged traditional fashion norms?
Take a look around you. If you’re at home, in the office or on the tube, what do you see?
We’re pretty confident that you’ll at least be able to spot at least one pair of sneakers or sweats. While they might feel like part and parcel of your everyday wardrobe, this wasn’t where they were initially intended to be. Their purpose was for the track, the field, the pitch, the court, or any other sporting environment you can think of.
With this in mind, we thought we’d take a look at the transition of sportswear into mainstream fashion and who has helped influence it.
You might see thousands of fans negotiate the streets of your home city on a weekly basis draped in the football shirt of their favourite team. You wouldn’t really consider this a full-scale cross-over of sportswear into fashion but rather a display of support. What is fashion, however, is the donning of replica tops with a stylised intent.
Take Snoop Dogg, Drake, and Mike Tyson for example, who’ve previously been photographed wearing Norwich City, Juventus, and Scotland football shirts, respectively.
Big brands such as Adidas, Nike, and Puma have long fuelled a passion for football wear being picked up by the non-competitive. But players such as George Best, Paul Gascoigne and Cristiano Ronaldo, to name a few, have also had an impact. The one player, however, whose impeccable style still continues to cross the boundaries with ease is former Manchester United man, David Beckham.
While you could argue that every sport has influenced fashion to some degree, few argue this case as much as tennis.
Rene Lacoste, known as ‘The Crocodile’, was a French tennis player from the 1920s. He began development of a more breathable jersey that could be used in his beloved sport. The top was a hit, much like its founder, and it was soon adapted into a short-sleeve polo alternative.
The t-shirt is still popular to this day, not only on the court but also as a casual, debonair addition to any outfit, the world over.
Former world tennis number one and the first player to win a career Grand Slam, Fred Perry is a legend in his respective sporting disciple. But even more so in the world of fashion. While it remains very popular to this day, the heyday of the Fred Perry tee came back in the 1960s when it became an unofficial symbol of mod culture.
Adidas, meanwhile, teamed up with American tennis icon Stan Smith back in 1973, launching its Stan Smith range. The shoe design still sells competitively today.
In recent times, Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal have reignited a fashion trend that focuses on the style associated with the racket sport.
The rugby shirts of the modern game don’t offer quite the same versatility as the older cotton-rich alternatives when it comes to parading the streets. Nowadays, players have their tops made from an intelligent woven polyester material that makes it near-impossible to grab on to, which is perfect for the pitch. But, let’s be honest, it isn’t as stylish.
Rugby, unlike alternative sports, isn’t known for its pristine nature, its suaveness if you will. In fact, it’s dirty. Players spend 80 minutes rolling around in the mud—that’s says enough, doesn’t it?
Well, one of the biggest fashion icons of the 20th century didn’t think that the rugby shirt should remain within the try lines – no, a young Mick Jagger saw it as an attractive dresswear choice.
Since then, we’ve seen the likes of Princess Diana, Taylor Swift, and Justin Bieber wearing thick, striped cotton shirts. Furthermore, we’re confident that if you walk through any university campus across the country, you’ll see a plethora of students donning rugby shirts—it is very much in!
It might not be your first port of call when you consider the interlinks between sports and fashion, but skiing is one of the biggest powerhouses in this department.
While the sport earmarked itself as the preferred hobby of those in the upper echelons of society back in the 1920s, its role in fashion didn’t begin to stand out until the ‘80s.
While heavy bass and electronic sounds became the notable association of the underground music scene in that era, clubs were lit up with vibrant, brightly coloured skiwear. Everything from puffer jackets to salopettes made their way from the snow to the dancefloor and despite the fact the trousers might not still be found as prominently, you can be sure to spot a coat or two!
So, there you have it, the undeniable association between sports and fashion. Here, we’ve detailed just a few, but have a think about the others which have crossed over!