By Tanisha Boyd
The NFL is scoring touchdowns with fashion-minded female football fans. They want to make sure you have options to keep your game-day style chic. What better way to show your team pride than by wearing Marchesa?
The NFL has created a new branding strategy to further engage its growing female fan base. Nearly half, 43.5 percent, of football fans are women, according to the league. The new campaign, “It’s My Team,” features female football fans, such as Melania Trump, Condeleeza Rice and Serena Williams.
The launch coincided with the redesign of women’s NFL-themed apparel and accessories. These revamped and fashion-forward items include Dallas Cowboys Lucchese boots, plunge-back tees and jerseys. The ads were styled by Tiina Laakkonen, who regularly contributes to well-respected fashion publications such as Vogue Japan.
“We have such a passionate female fan base, who love to wear team colors, but fashion is so personal,” says Tracey Bleczinski, the NFL’s vice president of consumer products. “We’re giving women the opportunity to be a fan but in their own way, in their own terms.”
Co-founder of the Marchesa brand, Georgina Chapman, debuted a Swarovski beaded limited edition series of New York Jets T-shirts in September. The Marchesa brand, known for its elaborate use of embellishments and high-drama gowns, created the collector’s items featuring two couture versions, not available online, and a scaled-down design, available at jetsshop.com for $110.
“My design philosophy centers on the dramatic and feminine; beading, embellishments, and lace are an integral part of the Marchesa aesthetic,” Chapman says. “It was instinctive to approach the Jets piece in the same manner. I am so pleased with the end result and hope fans will wear it with pride.”
If the Jets aren’t your team, Marchesa has already signed on to create adaptations for the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, and Washington Redskins.
Individual NFL teams are also focusing their marketing efforts to further engage female fans on game day. One weekend the Detroit Lions set up a pop-up lounge, featuring Neiman Marcus stylists putting their upscale fashion twist on apparel by All Sports Couture, a new line of women’s NFL logo themed clothing. The Lions Style Lounge Boutique — complete with manicurists, televisions and a DJ — will be just one of 10 fan experiences of its kind among the league’s teams this season.
The NFL vice president of consumer products retail development, Natara Holloway, says, “The stylists show you how to wear [the clothing] in your everyday life. We’re trying to get out of just wearing it on game day, but how you could wear it every day.’’ The Neiman Marcus dyed fox jacket in Lions’ team color blue featured in the style boutique would certainly be a top pick for game day flair.
The Dallas Cowboys recently opened a Victoria’s Secret PINK store at Cowboys Stadium as well. The first of its kind in any professional sports stadium or arena, PINK is known for both its comfort and style.
“Women have been craving the fitted team shirt instead of taking our husband’s jersey and wearing it to a game,” says Charlotte Jones Anderson, Jerry Jones’ daughter and executive vice president of brand management for the Cowboys. ”The Victoria’s Secret PINK gear is just girly enough to please our female fans.”
This recent fashion trend looks like it’s here to stay. 4her, a line of NFL themed women’s sportswear, debuted about a year ago exclusively available through Home Shopping Network. NFL legend and CEO of 4her Carl Banks says, “Because of the success with my men’s collection I decided to launch a collection exclusively for women. These designs are all trend relevant and fashion infused into what we are doing with sports. We want to make sure that these clothes not only have a sports twist but real fashion as well.”