Sports in Style

The fashion industry and sports culture are often collaborative, with fashion playing a part in the creation of athletic clothing and sports assisting in the popularity of new styles and materials. 

Uniforms are often worn during sporting events to ensure players are comfortable and efficient while participating. However, the clothing also works as a creative outlet for designers and athletes to communicate on what will best support the player’s performance. 

Additionally, the uniforms may be crafted specifically to express the sport team’s identity with the use of colors, player’s names or even the team’s mascot. 

Sacred Heart University staff and students commented on the example of uniforms being a way in which fashion and sports can effectively work together. 

“I have watched with great interest how the basketball uniforms have changed in The National Basketball Association (NBA), from the league’s inception in the early 1950’s until today, and how the African-American players have driven the fashion and the culture,” said Prof. David Bloom, head of the fashion marketing and merchandising department at Sacred Heart University. 

“I think sports and fashion can very well go hand in hand. I know when teams have good or attractive uniforms or make big changes to them, it draws a lot of attention and can positively impact the fan base and the viewers,” said sophomore Brian McNamara. 

Collaborations between the fashion and sports industries are also often done for charitable benefit or promotion. For example, The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a not-for-profit trade association of over 450 American fashion and accessory designers, has previously partnered with the NFL to raise money for charity. 

Timed to help celebrate Super Bowls 48 and 50, The CFDA and Bloomingdale’s collaborated on the creation and auction of 48 custom football helmets and 50 custom footballs. These helmets and footballs were designed and decorated by members of the CFDA with 100% of the earnings going to the NFL Foundation. 

Many students at Sacred Heart responded positively to this collaboration of sports and fashion culture. 

“I think the fashion industry has become such a unique growing partner for the NFL by incentivizing equipment to promote numerous charities and create more opportunities to give back,” said senior William O’Connell. 

Social media can also play a big part in the unity between sports and fashion, with many athletes using their online influence to promote or sell clothing. Often, the athlete is being paid via sponsorship to advertise certain clothing or companies on their social media pages. However, some players choose to freely share their own style at their audience’s request. 

“With NFL players gaining more attention every year through social media, this has led to players using those accounts to express values they want incorporated into their brand,” said O’Connell. 

Many athletes have built up a large following, resulting in them being closely looked at for sports inspiration as well as what is up-and-coming in fashion. 

“Such players as Isiah Thomas, Hakeem Olajuwan and Michael Jordan have led fashion both on and off the court,” said Bloom. The shorts then and today have moved down to the tops of the knees, made of soft flowing materials, so that these amazing athletes can soar.” 

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Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

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