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Tiemoué Bakayoko is not only a football player

nss sports Digital Cover N.00

Tiemoué Bakayoko is not only a football player
nss sports Digital Cover N.00
Tiemoué Bakayoko is not only a football player nss sports Digital Cover N.00

On February the 14th of 2020, Tiemoué Bakayoko became a shareholder and ambassador of Études Studio, the brand born in 2012 from the partnership between Jérémie Egry and Aurélien Arbet, two graffiti artists who - after launching their studio as a publishing house, have transformed it until becoming a catwalk brand in Paris: «We come from a generation who learned how to mix things», the two said once. Precisely the desire to mix things brought them in contact with Bakayoko, in the occasion of an historical partnership: never a footballer had entered the board of a ready-to-wear brand with such a defined aesthetic and on the ramp of launch, in that complicated mix of high fashion and streetwear that has become the world of fashion today.

The moment nss sports reaches him in the house where he lives in Eze, a stone's throw from Monte Carlo, Bakayoko is about to return to London, to Chelsea, to conclude what is easy to imagine as the craziest season ever for every football player. During the long stop period, Bakayoko has affirmed even more his position of dominance within the streetstyle-game: he collaborated, actively participating, with City Boys FC, he posed for an editorial by Air Dior, which also included the most anticipated sneaker of the year, that David Bellion delivers to Bakayoko shortly before starting the shooting. Bellion is an important part of the player's public image: former Bordeaux and Manchester United striker, over the years David Bellion was first part of Le Ballon FC - one of the first football collectives to transcend football played - then Red Star FC , historic French team that managed to put football and fashion together long before Juventus and Palace. Today, Bellion heads the Super Vision Office, an agency that looks after the interests of the Chelsea midfielder.

Bakayoko's attention to everything that goes beyond the field - for certain fashion, but also for art or social issues - is an example of a new prototype of a footballer who, like Bellerin, tries to use his communicative power to show a part of himself, and in some ways of a whole category, more complete, through the use of social media not merely instrumental to receive the support of his fans. During the long conversation for nss sports Digital Cover n.00, Bakayoko showed, with humility, the desire to be part of a world that according to the general conception does not belong to the players. And instead Bakayoko knows perfectly all the brands involved in the outfits of her looks, which are almost all French - from Etudes to Drôle de Monsieur to L'art de l’automobile up to Jacquemus - and follow a very precise aesthetic that is slowly conquering the catwalks in the name of a perfectly recognizable Mediterranean aesthetic. And aesthetic also vivid in the other location used for the shooting, the enchanting Chateau de la Chevre D'or in Eze. During the shots Bakayoko also talks with his manager about new commercial opportunities, even very small brands and for professionals, in a whole day spent not talking about football, but about everything that revolves around it, that he likes and which completes him as a person before he is a footballer.

When was your passion for fashion and streetwear born?

Ever since I was a kid I have always loved fashion, because of the way I grew up and the place I grew up in. I've always been interested in trying to develop a look that was mine and the fact that today it is even more part of the world of fashion - thanks to football - gives me the stimulus to try to learn more and more.

How much have Paris and the neighborhood you were born in influenced your taste?

I come from the 14th arrondissement of Paris and living in Paris, in the center of Paris, is a great opportunity if you like fashion, because you always manage to see people who dress in the vanguard around and get inspiration from their looks, or from the buildings, from the art and architecture of Paris. These are things that lead you to build your own sense of aesthetics.

How and why did you decide to invest in Études?

It happened that Études approached David - who takes care of my image - and was told that they were interested in getting into sport. When asked who would have been a good fit with the brand he immediately made my name, because I come from Paris, from the 14th arrondissement, the Études office is at 14 rue Debelleyme, there were many Parisian stories behind the thing ... There was therefore the possibility of joining Études's board of directors, along with other famous names in French music and business, and it was the first time that a player had joined a ready-to-wear brand , who also parades in Paris.

It has been a few years, three at most, that footballers have begun to show - also through their social media - interests other than merely football. In your case - and in that of very few other players, like Bellerin - it was fashion. Why, is your opinion, it’s the best time for this to happen?

I simply believe that the world of football has evolved and this is the right time for players like me or Bellerin to finally come forward and show that there is something else besides football in the life of a professional player. There was a time when fashion evolved organically to be worn first by movie stars, then by singers, for their performances on stage, but now sport and football are becoming an important part of life and inspiration of fashion and I think that's why for today young people can also identify themselves with footballers who understand and love fashion. In fact, there is obviously a difference between loving fashion and studying it, trying to understand its mechanisms, doing research and making fashion a cultural fact.

This is the time when artists, rappers, have become the main role players of streetwear. There can be no Nike Dunk without Travis Scott, of course, but: football is the most popular sport in the world, as well as one of the cultural traits of all Europe. The fact that footballers can become the next "rappers" could therefore mean something good for the world of fashion, which is increasingly linked to what is happening in the US compared to Europe. Is it really something that can happen in the near future?

It is certainly difficult to say today if a player will ever have the same impact that Travis Scott has in the world of streetwear today, but certainly in the near future sport and football will have their great moment - even greater than that of the last two years. Even today, streetwear uses a lot of sporting aesthetic codes for details or accessories. To date I am talking to Études about a possible collaboration between me and the brand. So something will definitely happen, and maybe it can be a very first step in that direction.

For years, fashion has been conceived - especially in football - as a "women's" thing. Maybe only David Beckham managed to be a real exception to this bigoted way of looking at things. Has the way you footballers talk about fashion in football changed today?

I'd like to haha ​​... I'd also like to be able to talk more with teammates about fashion and style but it's complicated. Even if everyone now says they love fashion, we often do not share the same aesthetic codes and the same degree of passion for industry. Certainly when I meet Bellerin it is much easier to talk about things we know we have in common but there are many players who follow the trends but do not really manage to develop their aesthetic sense in a complete way. I don't simply consider myself a consumer of the fashion world, I like to investigate behind the simple garment, to try to study what designers do and what kind of story they have.

You mentioned the importance of knowing who is behind a brand and in these particular times that we are experiencing the issue has been even more fundamental. There has been a lot of talk about black-owned-brands, about Virgil Abloh, Jerry Lorenzo and Pyer Moss. How important do you think it is - again - to underline these things to make the media and especially the people aware that behind their favorite brands there are black creatives?

I agree on the importance of making black designers known outside the industry, but for me it is even more important than that: in France there have been episodes and problems very similar to those of the USA and I can't put the question simply as "whites against blacks". The only thing I can see today is, so to speak, the positive side: this drama has led everyone, black and white, to protest to demand a better and fairer world.

Today of course what we see and what is there for all to see is violence against blacks, especially in the USA, but this is only the tip of the iceberg, the important thing is to unite people, find the right causes to make people feel people all one.

Today of course what we see and what is there for all to see is violence against blacks, especially in the USA, but this is only the tip of the iceberg, the important thing is to unite people, find the right causes to make people feel people all one.

The one with City Boys FC is a very important collaboration between a very popular footballer like you and a very underground brand, being capable of achieving great things and leaving a mark among professionals in the relationship between fashion and fashion. How did your partnership start?

Keisuke from City Boys FC is a good friend of David, and when he contacted David, we immediately talked about doing something nice together. They asked me for some ideas and I reasoned about my childhood, the city where I was born and some of my characteristic traits. A year has passed since the first contact when the collection came out, a year spent thinking about the concept, looking for the right idea, the right photo and the right verbal expression to use.

In the end we opted for a saying typical of my area, for number 14 because it is precisely the one of my district and I am really happy with the success of the operation because a very intimate thing came out. Very personal and representative of me.

In the end we opted for a saying typical of my area, for number 14 because it is precisely the one of my district and I am really happy with the success of the operation because a very intimate thing came out. Very personal and representative of me.

Do you have the ambition to try to make something of your own in the near future?

Yes, there is certainly the idea of ​​trying to do it, of course I still need time and to develop my skills and ideas. I'm not interested in just putting my name somewhere or doing some sort of merchandising. I want to take some time to do things right, develop a thought that can be in harmony with the brand. The more I develop my taste and my ideas, the more I feel ready to create something similar to my brand.

Which are your favorite brands today?

I really like what Virgil Abloh is doing with LV and Kim Jones with Dior, the way they are mixing high fashion with streetwear, but also Matthew Williams with Alyx and now I am curious to know what he will do with Givenchy. I recently bought some Sterling Ruby shoes, some pieces from Camiel Fortgens and recently bought most of the Futura and Modernica collection for my next home.