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From Salento to Serie A, how to dress a team off the field

We interviewed Enzo Vellotti, CEO of Tomeve's, the official formal wear of Lecce

From Salento to Serie A, how to dress a team off the field We interviewed Enzo Vellotti, CEO of Tomeve's, the official formal wear of Lecce

The formal wear of clubs is undoubtedly growing in recent seasons and, while it is certainly not yet at the level of the NBA or F1, slowly something is changing. More and more brands that are in fact approaching the world of football - conceiving a club as a brand to collaborate with and not only as a group of players to dress - underline how cross-sectorality is a concrete way to avoid expiring in the usual collaborations. Proof of this are the many unexpected signatures this year, such as those involving Zegna and Real Madrid and the yet to be confirmed one between Milan and Off-White.

Even the newly-promoted teams have realised the fundamental importance of having a coordinated image, from Monza, which together with Cavalli has provided each new signing with a shirt to wear at the presentation, to Lecce, where the management has opted for a brand from Salento, Tomeve's. And it was precisely with Enzo Vellotti, CEO of the company that will accompany the Via del Mare team throughout the Serie A season, that we spoke about the now long-lasting relationship between football and fashion while he was on his way to support his team in Naples. Two worlds that until a few years ago seemed too far apart, but today manage to intersect perfectly, to the point of influencing each other. 

He confirms this himself as he takes a short break from his long journey of around 450 km between Lecce and Naples: "In recent years, without a doubt, these two worlds have become one. I believe this has happened thanks to the fact that sports clubs are no longer just football teams, but are becoming real brands that behave like a normal company and need to assert their identity in relation to aesthetics. Having uniforms that are beautiful to look at is also a reason for recognisability, and today it is urgent to take care of one's image. Even beyond formal wear, today's fans want and even demand a beautiful jersey, one that is aesthetically superior to others, one that can be used not only to play or go to the stadium but also to go out."

A relationship that has not only taken place on the pitch with the many collaborations that were unthinkable until a short time ago, but also and above all outside of it: "today's sports clubs are brands and want to affirm their identity also through brands or people that are not part of the football or sports universe. For sports clubs, fashion clubs are seen as something to identify with. At the same time, for fashion brands, sports clubs are not seen as footballers to dress, but in turn are brands to collaborate with. So choosing one brand over another has now become a way of building the image that both clubs want to give to the outside world."

A combination that also convinced Tomeve's to enter the world of football, having the great opportunity of being able to produce its garments in Salento but above all having the chance to dress the team that its CEO supports and cheers: "Already in 2019 we were close to collaborating. This collection was only made possible thanks to the president, whom I have known for a long time. He has always been a customer and from here first our friendship and later a professional relationship was born. The collaboration between Lecce and Tomeve's was born first of all to enhance the territory, our realities and Salento. The entire collection will be produced in the most prestigious realities of Puglia, and on our part there was the desire to make Lecce beautiful not only on the field but absolutely also off it. The first partnership was born last year and given the promotion I would say that it went more than well, in fact we have decided to continue this season as well." 

In fact, the ties between team, brand and territory have played and still play a fundamental, win-win role, useful both to the team and to the brand with a product that is extremely community-centred and capable of positioning the brand in terms of credibility and values. This has been seen both on the pitch - the most enduring example is undoubtedly that of Macron and Bologna with a partnership that has been going on for 20 years - and off the pitch that between Loro Piana and Juventus. And to celebrate the return to Serie A, the CEO of Tomeve's has already given us a small preview of how the players will be dressed, a mix of elegance and simplicity to match the teams arriving at Via del Mare and to have a winning and captivating image: "This year there will be a classic style of dress with an addition of modernity. A mix of classic and contemporary lines. The cuffs, for example, will not be classic but in knitwear, everything is taken care of down to the smallest detail, to make a mix between contemporary and classic. The polo shirt, on the other hand, will be in pure cotton and a wool and cashmere turtleneck with the US Lecce inscription inlaid on the inside. Everything is completed by a nylon parka that will be functional being rainproof with a detachable interior. These are all garments designed to ensure that the players are always comfortable and at ease, at all times, from their travels to their arrival at the stadium".

A mix of contemporaneity and elegance that Enzo Vellotti hopes will translate into a great salvation and indeed if you really want to dream of a great season that sees Lecce in the top positions, in the hunt for a history-making qualification in the European cups. A dream of the Enzo fan, who in the meantime is intent on creating the best possible garments for his team and who knows, maybe one day even designing a game jersey. For the time being, Lecce is calling, we close our call hoping to meet again in the Apulian stadium as soon as possible, and Enzo continues his very long six-hour journey to go and support the team he loves and with which he now works, trying to make it invincible even off the field.