The introduction of Nike and Adidas’ eagerly awaited high-fashion collaborations with Jacquemus and Gucci, respectively, next month marks the beginning of a new chapter in their well-known rivalry in the sportswear industry.
The following brands are also competing: New Balance and the cult fashion brand Aries, which began in March; Ellesse; and Fila, whose partnership with the Serbian designer Roksanda Ilini, who has her headquarters in London, is anticipated to begin in August. Before, sports brand competition revolved around new trainer launches and endorsement deals with athletes, but as Julie Pont, the creative director of the French fashion insights agency Heuritech, noted, it was becoming increasingly difficult for companies to guarantee player exclusivity.
“For instance, while [Argentine football player Lionel] Messi’s team, Paris Saint-Germain, is sponsored by Nike, he is personally sponsored by Adidas. So perhaps the new possibility is to quit this game and enter a new one in a different industry.
Although collaborations between sports brands and fashion houses are nothing new (Nike previously teamed up with Louis Vuitton, Balmain, and Comme des Garçons, while Adidas collaborated with Stella McCartney, Raf Simons, and Yohji Yamamoto), this one seems unique, according to Pont. When you think of fashion businesses like Jacquemus, you probably picture the south of France and outdoor fashion displays that have nothing to do with sports.
The upcoming Roksanda x Fila collection, which includes voluminous dresses and duvet jackets, was characterized in a statement as “a meeting between two very distinct personas to create a new one, at once unexpected and authentic.”
The goal of these alliances is to make sports businesses more fashionable while also making it easier for younger customers to get started in the fashion world.