What’s The Relationship Between Sport and High-End Fashion?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sports Luxe (image source)
In the early years of the 20th century there wasn't a particularly strong link between sports and fashion; however even as far back as this, sport did still influence the way people dressed (especially women!) Sports like ice skating, cycling and tennis all required the female stars to wear some form of special clothing, and as this was at a time when the mere glimpse of a lady’s bare ankles was considered shocking it enabled the more daring to push the boundaries of what was acceptable. The fashion industry was quick to take advantage of this, and leading designers of the day began to bring out collections that reflected a more liberal and less formal style. In the decades since, the influence sport has had on fashion has grown to the point that leading designers recognise that in order to become truly world renowned, they simply have to include a sportswear collection in their repertoire; the likes of Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs have all worked with the major sportswear brands. Equally, these companies have been quick to take advantage of the huge sales opportunities opened up to them by appealing to mass markets, rather than simply targeting serious sports enthusiasts.

One of the biggest sports (in terms of sheer glamour, global TV viewing figures, spectator numbers and monetary value) is Formula One. Drivers wear highly specialised fireproof overalls when racing, but when they're not competing you'll often spot them in T-shirts, jackets and jeans bearing the logos of their sponsors and leading sports brands. Fans are generally quick to show their support by wearing similar items in much the same way as they do with football, rugby and cycling. What better example could there be of high-end fashion meets sportswear than the Monaco Grand Prix, where multi-millionaire fashionistas rub shoulders with avid motorsport fans. You might well catch a glimpse of former racer and former Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile president Max Mosley dressed immaculately in suit and tie- as well as his huge contribution to F1 as an industry Max Moseley is also known for being quite the socialite and always stands out in a crowd with his suave look.

In recent years the amount of money paid to sportsmen and women really has rocketed, and their status and influence even rivals Hollywood film stars. David Beckham is a prime example, and from football he is now one of the most widely recognised figures on the planet. Since retiring from the game he's made a fortune by promoting both high-fashion labels and sports brands. Today, the line between sportswear and high-end fashion has become virtually invisible. 

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