How Fashion Became The NFL’s Most Valuable Player

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This weekend’s Super Bowl match-up in Las Vegas is usually football’s pop culture highlight. But this year, the unprecedented attention on the NFL, largely fueled by the romance of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, the sport took over pop culture way before the final game, especially when it comes to fashion. Inspired by the celebs and players taking on the sport with style, what to wear to rep your favorite NFL team has become just as important. 

Over the past season, Google saw a 115% spike in searches for “how to style a football jersey,” while searches for “NFL outfit” increased by 50% compared to the 2022 season. “With the increase in interest for NFL jerseys and merch in general, people are turning to search for information on how to rock their gameday fits,” says Google Trends analyst Annanya Raghavan. Similarly, outfits worn by Taylor Swift to Chiefs games captured public interest: On Google, “What did Taylor Swift wear to the Chiefs game” is the top “what did Taylor wear” query over the past 90 days.

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While sports fashion is nothing new, there has been a spike in interest from the industry into athletic style. There’s a frenzy for Formula 1 fashion, for example, with brands like Puma and Abercrombie partnering with carmakers like Ferrari and MacLaren. Last year, soccer also took a fashionable spin with celebrities like Julia Fox, Addison Rae, and Kim Kardashian sporting jerseys, a trend TikTok named a “blokecore.” 

And, over the past few months, a myriad of NFL-adjacent celebrities have made the sport fashionable. There’s Taylor Swift, of course, whose stadium street style has spotlighted brands like Baublebar and Paige. She also turned to Wear, an athleticwear label by sports reporter Erin Andrews, and designer Kristin Juszczyk, who creates upcycled clothes from vintage NFL merch. Influencer Alix Earle, dating Miami Dolphins’ player Braxton Berrios, has also taken on football fashion, sourcing vintage Dolphins merch, as well as sporting blue-themed outfits at the stadium. Gymnast Simone Biles, who is married to Green Bay Packers’ player Jonathan Owens, has also gathered attention for her game day fits, which have included Packers-themed jackets by labels like Bro Denim and MVP Bae. Their combined fashion flexes have had a big impact on consumer interest for football fashion. On Klarna, for example, the top breakout NFL searches for 2023 include “Packers” and “NFL Taylor Swift merch.”   

Photo: Courtesy of Staud.

With celeb hype gathering more attention to American football, it was only natural for fashion brands to capitalize on the trend. American label Staud released a limited-edition collaboration with the sportswear giant Fanatics that included NFL-themed takes on some of the brand’s most popular styles. “We wanted to offer fans an opportunity to express their team spirit through Staud signature pieces,” says the brand’s founder Sarah Staudinger. “I believe that fashion and sports go hand in hand, and this collection is the fusion of both worlds.” The collection is the kind of marriage between sports and fashion that can easily live outside a stadium: maxi cardigans and V-neck sweaters in dual-tone knits that can both rep team spirit and serve as coloblocking styling later on. “The collection was designed to reimagine Staud classics in NFL team-inspired colorways enabling fans to embrace their team loyalty,” says Staudinger. 

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Brands like Kith and Aritzia also bet on the football craze. Back in September, the streetwear label Kith partnered with the NFL for a collection devoted to the New York Giants, which ranged from hoodies and caps to leather jackets. Earlier this year, Aritzia introduced the Endgame Jersey, a limited-edition V-neck mesh model available in four colorways, including a red-and-white version with “87” on it, a reference to Kelce’s player number. Meanwhile, the label Bffs & Babes dropped football-themed pieces, following months of increased searches for non-traditional team gear, which resulted in the brand releasing “Football Era” and “Taylor MVP” sweatshirts. “The female audience is embracing sports like never before and putting a new twist on game day gear,” says the brand’s founder Chevy Berndt.

Off-field style may be resonating the most, but players’ pre-game style is also spotlighting the NFL as a fashionable scene. Kelce’s outfits, for example, which have included everything from striped shirts and beanies to all-black looks and velvet pants, continuously go viral online. On Google, the term “Travis Kelce pre-game outfit” has become a top search term in the United States. And while his out-of-the-box choices are sometimes the inspiration for countless memes, the Chiefs’ tight end is having fun with it. ““I’m not going to be offended if somebody says I look like a clown if I got a fun hat on and some wacky jeans,” he told Wall Street Journal Magazine last year. “For the most part, I do it to put a smile on somebody’s face.” Cleveland Browns player Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has also made a splash with his fashion choices over the past few years, sporting custom pre-game looks that feature nods to his Ghanaian heritage, as well as other African cultures. He was voted as GQ’s Most Stylish NFL Player of the Year earlier this month. 

As the SuperBowl concludes the NFL season, it’s clear that football stadiums became a top street style scene. Will fashion’s football era go the distance?

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