Even before the FIFA madness settled down, another thrilling news broke out to the surprise and happiness of millions of Soccer crazed fans. New York based designer Thom Browne and iconic Spanish football club – FC Barcelona, fondly known as Barça had entered an official collaboration. Over the next three seasons, starting from 2018-19, the American designer will be creating for the team – tailored off-field and formalwear uniforms.
Thom Browne, who is deemed to be the next big all-American designer, once worked under Ralph Lauren, in his early days in fashion. In many ways, he has elevated the image of the Wall Street man by revamping the traditional three-piece with meticulous oddities which he has applied to his personal aesthetics as well. Often, Browne dresses up in eccentrically dapper chic, sporting a cropped, military hairstyle and a grey suit with ankle-baring trousers. The man certainly knows how to carry bespoke suits and has redefined the norms and subtle nuances of formal menswear.
But what makes Brown so ‘American’ is his hidden jock soul. Being a former swimmer and an avid runner, Browne often incorporates elements of the sport in his collections. From shoes inspired by feminine ice skates to knee exposing pants cut to the length of men’s biker shorts, he has ingeniously merged the world of high fashion and competitive sport in an awe-inspiring way to modernise the conservative approach to tailoring. Striking a perfect balance between preppy, sporty and the avant-garde, Brown has made his mark as an unusual fashion influencer.
Apart from the Hollywood crowd, Browne has suited the world's best basketball player LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in his shrunken suits for this year’s NBA finale, distinguishing himself as a designer with an exemplary athleisure style. In the past, FC Barcelona had collaborated with high street brand Replay, who dressed the team for four years. Aiming to break the stereotypical view of formal wear by incorporating denim, Replay created customised jackets in grey and blue denim, with slim-fitting white cotton shirts. Their casual collection focused on functional denim jackets with a distinct lining and cuffs styled with red buttons. The team was also given sustainable Replay Denim Zero° jeans, embossed with the FC Barcelona logo, with blue and red buttons, to represent the team’s official colours.
Now, Barça is ready to adopt a new look while keeping their affinity – to break tradition alive – by choosing a more luxurious approach by Thom Browne. Apparently, the success of Browne’s NBA alliance won them over, as it was Barça who first approached the brand with an offer of suiting up the team in a, “very unexpected phone call from the club”, as disclosed by Rodrigo Bazan, CEO of Thom Browne. In an official statement released by the Spanish football club, Josep Maria Bartomeu, president of FC Barcelona welcomed Browne to the Barça family. He too reaffirmed his love for the sport and emphasized on the common values between the Catalan football club and his brand.
With their shared belief in representing a sense of individuality through uniformity, this union definitely promises to raise the bar for future fashion and sport collaborations. All speculations aside, one thing is for sure, we won’t be disappointed to see Barça looking sharp in Thom Browne’s classic short-cut suits. Can you expect anything else from the football club that won the world’s most prestigious UEFA Champions League and a designer who has three Council of Fashion Designers of America awards under his funky belt? This is a partnership made in sartorial heaven. After all, nobody can exude a sense of exquisiteness quite like a man in a perfectly tailored suit, especially if that man is Lionel Messi!