We've made no qualms about waxing lyrical on the relationship between football and fashion before. The crossover between the sport and the culture is perhaps the most underrated outside of the NBA gameday fit, and it's produced some pretty lust-worthy collections over the past few years. You only have to think about Off-White's hook-ups with Nike Football, Air Jordan with PSG, or Gosha Rubchinksiy's collab with Adidas to realise that there's a place for modern fashion within Football after decades of terrace culture dominating that particular conversation.
The constant intermingling of football and fashion is something that excites us greatly. Especially given the amount of avid football fans on the GQ team. The fact that a soccer jersey is now a fashion week-ready flex is something to be celebrated. But this is something that Lionel Messi, who for all his prowess on the field has never really set the world alight when it comes to embodying athlete style, probably could have swerved this one.
Instead, he's dropped his own fashion line. And we're not exactly bowled over.
Of course, it's not spectacularly unfashionable. If you're a particularly big Leo Messi fan, all power to you if you want to represent that. There are millions worldwide who do. But athlete style has developed to the point where sportspeople are essentially fashion icons. Just look at Russell Westbook in the NBA. A line of Westbrook merch would undoubtedly be street ready.
Instead, with its heavy reliance on his now-pretty old Messi branding and liberal use of the number 10, is a collection that looks almost ready made for the kind of person who still dresses like a 12-year-old football obsessive. It's not quite heavily branded-enough to take a punt at the new realm of graphic heavy high-fashion streetwear, but not minimalistic enough to look clean either.
Nor does it have the street clout of simply stepping out in a normal football jersey. It's the football equivalent of Formula 1 team merch. The kind of person we can imagine wearing this is the kind of person who still wears futsal shoes and quarter-cut socks out in public. Plus, it's pretty pricey for what looks like something pulled out of Rebel Sport. Think $60USD for a t-shirt.
Apparently Leo worked with his sister Maria Sol on the line. "Is something I really wanted," he said at the launch event. "I like exploring different areas that are interesting beyond sport. I always try to take advantage of every opportunity to participate in something new."
Fair play to Leo for giving it a crack. But as far as merch goes, it's certainly not tugging at our purse strings. You can check out the range below, and shop it all at themessistore.com.