Who’s your team?
If I had to choose one team, it would be FC Inter. It was my dad’s team and I guess it was passed down to me. My brother then started off his career there, so I guess that reinforced my support. Lately my interest has been a bit volatile and based mostly on the teams where my brother went on to play though.
How important is football to your family?
Well, it’s what keeps the bread on the table, so it is very important! My dad was a professional footballer and it’s thanks to football that he moved north from Sicily and met my mother. So, I guess we owe everything to football – our family is the product of his talent.
When my father quit playing professionally, he turned into a FIFA agent and he always treated his guys as if they were the sons he never biologically had. So my home was always open and I basically grew up around them. One of these guys – Ibrahima Mbaye – even became fully integrated into our family. He’s basically my adopted brother. Football is what makes my family thrive and keep going.
What excites you about the crossover in football and fashion?
What excites me the most about this crossover is the fact that finally I can merge my two worlds. Due to my family I have a background and almost forced interest in football, but my first passion was always clothing/fashion. So, now finally I can exploit these two inspirations and create something people who aren’t usually keen on football can also appreciate.
Don’t get me wrong, football and fashion have always been intertwined, as it’s an industry where there’s lots of money and the players are treated like pop-stars, nowadays it’s just less subtle.
Also fashion was always a big part of hooligan/fan culture – the violence born from that subculture is nothing to be romanticised but boy did they dress well! So I am happy to see some of that style inspire the runways.
I think it is a bit sad how sometimes this crossover is exploited just for commercial reasons, especially this year with the World Cup. Brands and people with no heritage or background can create content that is not original or authentic, or even good.
Where do you think the scene is going next?
I think it’s going to die down a little bit in the mainstream but the good, quality material will thrive and football fans will have more platforms where they can identify and follow their teams as we follow fashion brands, artists and so on.
Which sports brand(s) are doing the best stuff?
Maybe I am biased but I think adidas so far creates the best fusion line for football. I was impressed with Nike’s Nigeria kit. And in terms of cool non-pro football merchandise, there is Nowhere FC.
What are your plans for 2018?
My plans for this year are to travel as much as I can to cities I have never been to and establish myself as my own business again. After 3 years in the corporate world working for the biggest companies in the industry, I have finally realised it is not for me and as a creative person I cannot be boxed in just one category.
I will use 2018 as my time to put my credentials in check and develop different projects both personal and as a consultant. I also am trying to use my football connections and experience in branding/fashion to help teams flourish as a ‘brand’.