It’s quite fitting that Air Jordan’s first full football collection is in collaboration with PSG.
Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are two of the most iconic faces in the modern game, boasting a combined 120 million Instagram followers, or roughly one Kim Kardashian if you prefer 21st century metrics.
Michael Jordan announced the collaboration, saying: “The partnership between PSG and Jordan Brand reflects the ambition of both brands to combine style, performance and innovation.”
From a style perspective it’s mission accomplished.
PSG looked immaculate in black anthem jackets ahead of their Champions League clash with Liverpool.
Hidden below was an understated black kit boasting, for the very first time, a Jumpman logo on the opposite side from the PSG badge.
The signs of Jordan’s desire to enter the football market were there for all to see.
For a start Air Jordan is a Nike brand, so linking up with a Nike-sponsored club, both of whose star players are Nike athletes, is a natural fit.
Neymar linked up with Jordan to design the Nike NJR x Jordan Hypervenom all the way back in October 2016, when he was still a Barcelona player.
In doing so he became the first football player to wear a Jordan product on the pitch.
Jordan aren’t alone in that desire.
The influence of Virgil Abloh, CEO of streetwear brand Off-White, is growing on and off the pitch.
Abloh designed the Nike Mercurial Vapor 360 x Virgil Abloh boots which were worn by Mbappe during the Coupe de la Ligue final last season.
With youngsters increasingly following players rather than teams, it’s no surprise that individuals are often more influential from a brand point of view than the sides they play for.
When Mbappe arrived at France’s Clairefontaine base prior to the 2018 World Cup he did so in a pair of Skepta x Nike Air Max 97.
You only need to look at the comments to understand that kids take note of what their favourite players are wearing. Sorry, Graeme Souness.
So what does the future hold future hold for design in football?
Nigeria’s World Cup kit set a precedent. As well as selling out, Nigeria’s flamboyant kit made waves worldwide on social media.
Kits which traditionally would have been seen as controversial are now sought after.
Barcelona’s ‘leaked’ kit for the 2019/20 season features a chequed design for the first time in the club’s history.
It’s no longer good enough to produce copy and paste kit designs. Nike were widely criticised for churning out a Spurs away kit that was near-identical to Barcelona’s training shirt.
If you think of each football club as a roster of social media influencers, the top sides are so powerful online that it’s only natural for fashion designers to want to get involved.
That’s likely to be in collaboration with traditional sports companies rather than in direct competition, but the result should be a positive step for the future of kit design.
One things is for sure. It’s impossible to make a Croatia kit that is anything other than spectacular.
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