News has been circulating for a while now that Stella McCartney will be taking her partnership with Adidas to new heights, as she boards the bus, sewing machine in tow, to spandex heaven. Indeed! A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that Adidas had appointed the accomplished designer as creative director for Team GB’s clothing range for its 2012 Olympic assault. As part of her duties, McCartney will not only oversee the design for the athletics kit, but also the fan wear, which will no doubt resemble items from her original range for the sporting and lifestyle giant, Adidas by Stella McCartney.
This news is hardly hot of the press, but it did get me thinking. Journalists are hailing this hook-up as a major breakthrough in the relationship between the sports and fashion world, as McCartney becomes the first designer to team up with a top sports brand to design Olympic uniforms; however, sporting heroes have long been making waves in the design world without the aid of prominent fashion figures.
In the mid-80s, as Michael Jordan was finding his form, the undisputed basketball king teamed up with super brand Nike to create the now infamous Air Jordan series. What started out as a string of trainers – to capitalise on the tongue wagger’s prowess in the air – has turned into a multi-million pound footwear and clothing brand. Equally, albeit more stylishly, Swedish national treasure Bjorn Borg has created a fashion label, which, in his native country, supposedly challenges the likes of Calvin Klein for top billing - although I wouldn’t necessarily say that the label’s appeal is restricted to Scandinavian shores; certain family members have recently been spotted wondering around the house in bright pink briefs. Not the best sight first thing in the morning. But, according to Sir Borg’s website, colourful underwear has been his thing since 1984. Us Brits are obviously just a bit slow and dull, I guess. What we need in a bit of Becks! He no longer models for Armani, he’s no stranger to posing semi-naked, and so, who better to re-introduce us to Viking style than notorious sports personality Golden Balls! Sportsmen really would rule the world then.
I’m not a sportophile, so I’m only armed with a few crossover examples. But these prominent figures in the sporting arena have gone on to create iconic brands in the fashion sphere. And so, I ask myself, are these two worlds really planets apart?