LOS ANGELES — Soccer jerseys in suiting, as eveningwear and patched into new life forms.
Adidas charged four stylists and designers, each hailing from different backgrounds in fashion, to put their spin on Major League Soccer’s jerseys. The results bore out in an interesting display of fashion that marched down the runway Thursday evening at City Market South in downtown Los Angeles.
Adidas’ Seams event was the latest in a long-running partnership between the brand and Major League Soccer that was most recently extended to 2024, with the sportswear firm providing the league’s 24 teams with uniforms, footwear and training gear, among other things.
“The idea was to launch the 2019 MLS jerseys in a new creative way,” said Jennifer Valentine, senior director of soccer at Adidas. “We want to celebrate the culture of each individual city that the jerseys represent.”
The idea was to pull together individuals in fashion as deemed by the brand to be creative and authentic with varying ties to streetwear, Valentine said.
Pierre Davis, founder of the gender-neutral brand No Sesso, turned to something more formal through the use of patchworking and hardware to create trains and volume for dresses.
“My idea was to take athletic wear and turn it into more of an eveningwear situation,” Davis said. “It’s football jersey gowns. It’s really fun and playful.”
Corey Stokes went a similar route in creating something more formal given his background in tailoring and suiting.
“I wanted to play with the juxtaposition of taking a sportswear piece like a jersey in suiting and tailoring. So, in most of my looks, there’s some form of tailoring in it, playing on this fantasy of merging these two worlds together,” Stokes said. “Some of them are a bit practical in their looks and then some of them are fantasy.”
Most of the stylists, as they chatted ahead of the runway presentation, expressed surprise in being tapped for the Adidas project.
“My first thought was ‘I don’t play soccer honestly,’” Stokes said when approached with the project. “But I am a fan of Adidas and the way they bring on smaller talent.”
Added Sara Gourlay of Frankie Collective, “It was just a surprise that Adidas is recognizing these creators and reimagining these jerseys. I think it’s so cool they’ve opened their arms and said ‘Dare to create.’ It’s really getting four diverse stylists and we’ve all brought something really different to the table.”
Gourlay’s Frankie Collective sells vintage and re-engineered garments and she took a similar approach to completely transforming the MLS jerseys, reworking them into cargo and track pants in an effort to hit home the jersey as the focal point of each outfit.
Brothers Andrew Andrade and Guillermo Andrade, of 424, worked together on their looks in what Andrew described as a nod to soccer culture and history.
“My brother, being a designer, and I’m a stylist, the way we operate, he designs for the most part and I put the looks together. That’s what we’ve been doing for a long time, so there was no reason not to do that with this project,” Andrew said.
The duo are self-taught when it comes to navigating the world of apparel and fashion, with Andrew bestowing accolades on his brother as someone he’s always looked up to. “He is my first example of a successful person in my life that I can remember, so he’s hugely impactful in my life,” he said.
His opening look was dramatic with a patchwork, capelike piece that also incorporated soccer netting, followed by a mix of casual and more formal looks Andrew said referenced football culture and its history in linking people.
“The first thing that I had on my mood board is a picture of the world because I believe that the game connects the world,” he said. “Before the Internet existed, the way I learned about culture, or a lot of cultures, is through football. I would meet people and when I knew where they were from, I would ask if they liked soccer and 95 percent of the time, they would say ‘yes.’ Even if I didn’t know their language, we developed a connection. So this is a big connection between football, my brother and fashion.”