COLOGNE, Germany – Football Fashion is highlighted in the latest in Ford’s Fascinating World of Football series, which takes a look at some of the more unusual stories of European football
“Milan is a fashion city,” says Christian ‘Bobo’ Vieri, one of the highest scorers in the history of Italian football. “People like to get dressed up, there are a lot of the big fashion houses here. I’ve been here for 12 years and I know Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, DSquared… everyone.”
But Vieri isn’t just a dedicated follower of fashion he’s now a dedicated maker of it too. The former Inter, AC Milan and Italian international got involved in fashion in 2003 when he and his friend Paolo Maldini set up ‘Sweet Years’.
“Soccer players now have become bigger than actors or rock stars in Italy,” explains Vieri in a film for Ford’s Fascinating World of Football. “When fans see a soccer player dressed in a nice suit, nice shoes, they want to go and buy it. They think it’s cool.
“I would always hang out with Paolo Maldini and we were saying, why don’t we do something, something not to do with soccer, and so we came up with the idea of doing a clothes line. So we settled on a name and a logo and set up the company.”
While David Beckham has become football’s fashion icon and drawn major brands into understanding the potential of football, Vieri is one of a handful of footballers capitalising on their fame to create their own fashion ‘houses’.
Former Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur player Edgar Davids is another, having formed his street soccer brand Monta in 1999.
Both brands have grown and are now going global – and that’s a reflection of the personal passion the players have for fashion.
“You have to look good if you’re on television or you’re in the newspaper like footballers are every day,” says Davids. “So I think a lot of footballers start working their fashion a little bit. In the normal world you have the trendsetters and you have the followers, you also have that in the dressing room.
“My fashion style is a bit eclectic. I like to combine a lot of things and I like to really dress for the occasion. If I have a meeting I can feel very comfortable in a suit but I can also feel very comfortable going there and being casual, so you have to make it fit and you have to make it work and I think you have to make time for that.”
Davids’ brand is popular in the football world and he admits: “There’s some players wearing our stuff. Most can’t brag about it, but I’m happy they ask for it so I definitely give it to them. I love it that they appreciate it.”
Vieri, too, is seeing his business grow now he that is no longer playing the game - so does this mean Milan’s big names like D&G and Armani need to watch their backs?
“No, we’re very different,” laughs Vieri. “Ultimately, Sweet Years is just about having fun. That’s how we got it started nearly 10 years ago now and that’s what we’re still about today.”
To follow Ford’s Fascinating World of Football and find out more about the support vehicle, the all-new Tourneo Custom, visit facebook.com/FordTourneo