Thom Browne Makes a Play for Soccer Superstardom With FC Barcelona
JULY 17, 2018 11:32 AM
by STEFF YOTKA
In the sponsorship wars for professional athletes, the battle has often been between Nike and Adidas. Those sneaker behemoths should watch their backs: Thom Browne is swiftly—and surprisingly—becoming one of the most powerful clothiers in sports, and he’s never even designed a jersey. The designer’s stadium tour began this March when he dressed LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for their NBA Playoffs run, and it continues today as he debuts an official partnership with FC Barcelona. For the next three years, Thom Browne will be the official off-field wardrobe of Barcelona’s players—including the legendary Lionel Messi—worn at away games in both the Champions League and La Liga.
“I am excited to be associated with and work with the best athletes in the world, especially athletes that share similar values to Thom Browne,” said the designer in a release. “The uniforms represent the confidence in showing true individuality and enforce the meaning of representing a team as one strong unit. I have always felt that world-class athletes are the best role models and truly inspiring.”
The partnership came to be, according to Thom Browne CEO Rodrigo Bazan, after a “very unexpected phone call from the club.” Presumably, Barça had caught a glimpse of the sartorial successes of the Cavs—or perhaps they saw Tommy Dorfman at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, or Tina Fey at the Tonys, or Cassie at the Met Gala (Browne’s recent celebrity credits are impressive)—and thought that the strict tailoring of the designer’s slim suiting felt right for Barça’s own disciplined team. In any case, if ever there were legs worthy of Browne’s calf-exposing suits, it would be the toned calves of Barça’s starters.
For Browne, an avid runner and former swimmer, the sports world remains his playground. Our only question is: What’s next? With basketball and soccer under his belt and football, ice skating, surfing, and skiing covered in his collections, there seems to be only one sporting stage calling for Browne’s aesthetic influence. “Team USA wears Thom Browne to the 2020 Tokyo games” has a nice ring to it.