Jack Grealish, Gucci? The new era in fantasy fashion X football partnerships is here.
He shoots, scores, and gets a major sponsorship deal from Gucci. According to ‘The Athletic, Jack Grealish is a Man City and England midfielder with twinkle toes and boyband curtains for his hair and “is close to agreeing with a seven-figure endorsement deal” with Gucci. This is the first deal the Italian brand has made with a footballer. It also means that Jack Grealish follows in the footsteps of fellow ambassadors Harry Styles and Jared Leto.
Styles and Leto are known for their offbeat personalities and style that chimes with Alessandro Michele’s maximalist, thrift-store aesthetic. Grealish’s fashion credentials, however, are less clear. Grealish’s popularity lies not in high fashion but his cheeky charm and sex appeal. Gucci is worn by Grealish in a way that a rapper or football fan might, which is to be said, it’s embellished and easily recognisable from the terraces. He wore the bright blue, monogrammed shorts to Leeds Festival last year and the black parka with interlocking Gs running down his arms at Etihad Stadium in Man City.
Why Grealish? If it is successful, this appointment will prove that stylish Premiership footballers are the country’s greatest exports. The brand could have chosen any elegant and classicly-styled Italian players or managers like Roberto Mancini (self-described ‘Champions of Class’). That would have been boring. Our “Grealo”, the new Gucci man, is not to be confused with our “Grealo”.
Since its inception, English football has had a unique tension between youth culture and tradition. The prestigious clubs are home to young men sporting avant-garde haircuts who play football. Unfortunately, this is also where homophobia and tradition have much to do with it.
Our players seem to enjoy this contradiction and, in a bizarre inversion, use love for fashion along with all the negative connotations that effeminacy might entail as a way to assert their alpha-male masculinity. David Beckham wore Jean Paul Gaultier’s sarong off duty during France 1998′. It was necessary to have a bottle to wear, especially since homophobia was still rampant in public discourse. Beckham and Grealish are football fops who embrace fashion and vanity. They gain legions of female and gay fans and are pop cultural icons.
A unique feature of British football culture is its importance to pop music for both players and fans. David Beckham used to go to Twice As Nice club night. It was a legendary venue whose attendees considered it the Studio 54 of UK Garage. Grealish has a lot of fans among rappers. He is often mentioned in freestyles and underground bangers such as Stormzy’s remix “Sore”, in which he raps “Slide In the Middle like Grealish”.
The midfielder is also close friends with Tion Wayne, a rapper with whom he can often be seen on youtube shopping for Rolexes at Trotters, and Bethnal Green jewellers. Declan Rice, his England teammate, celebrates the goals with Wayne’s “Body” video. This kind of thing has a long history. Is there any other country that would receive New Order – New Order? Record its World Cup song. “World In Motion” has become a timeless classic that brings joy to both young and old eyes. Our players and fans are truly world-beating when it comes to being cool.
Although England is unfortunately tainted with hooliganism and fashion, they are the most forward-thinking and innovative country in the world. Before they made their way onto catwalks and music videos, jackets from Stone Island, CP Company, and Moncler, Stan Smith trainers and Lacoste polos were all worn on terraces of British football teams.