Since football opened its doors to fashion, there have been many interesting collaborations between brands, but rarely have they infiltrated the actual clubs. The new Off-White agreement with AC Milan, however, does not follow this path: it is indeed a new cornerstone of the football-fashion relationship.
But why is the relationship between Off-White and Milan so important? Because it is the only brand that has really been able to play by its own rules in this field, without forcing the team to adapt to its world or vice versa, but finding a new common point. Football has its own way of communicating because it speaks a unique code that must reach both the university professor and the eight-year-old child, both the rich and the poor, because it is the most transversal public view there is. Among its codes we also find an essential element that many recent realities seem to have forgotten: football.
Mirko Tola, fashion enthusiast and huge Milan lover said: “The vision of the formal dress works. It is a way of transforming a casual style – usually dominated by shorts, socks and football boots – into something closer to a professional and curated take on streetwear style. In some cases these high fashion moments have also led to the birth of memes, such as the well-known comparisons between the style of the Italian and English national teams.”
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Virgil Abloh was often connected with sport. Check his partnership with Serena Williams, the football line he created with Nike and his desire to wear football jerseys and the many other connections. But talking about these elements is not only superfluous, it is also a speculation towards a legendary name that left us and who obviously cannot work on the collection with the AC Milan Team.
The soul of Off-White is however visible in the very first garments seen in partnership with Milan, especially in the varsity jacket. In this we find the nature that has made both realities recognizable: the mix of materials, seams and writings, all mixed with the typical elements of the Milan club that are in some cases limited to lettering, while in others are redesigned with a cartoonish aesthetic.
The representation of the devil on the jacket’s back is a clear example of this, as can be seen from the pitchfork with the Off-White logo. In short, making a product that launches a partnership that is highly credible for both parties, without particularly displaying the logo of either of the two and without using the social colours of the team in question is the demonstration of a creative partnership.
It is therefore not enough to have a well-known partner to credibly enter the world in fashion and at the same time it is not enough to dress a football team to be credible in football. The role of ‘Culture Curator’ covered by Off-White is unknown but the nomenclature is not accidental: football is culture and so is fashion, which is why it is only through culture that such a partnership can make history, not just clothes.