When a star athlete dons a pair of statement-making Versace jeans, the public reacts.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was photographed on Sunday boarding a plane to the Super Bowl in a pair of Versace Barocco zebra print pants with gold detailing. They were loud, tight, and now they’re totally sold out online, last retailing for $849 at MatchesFashion.com.
Newton is having a big season both on and off the field. He starred in the online video series “Huddle Up” for Under Armour before leading his team to the NFL finals, but his personal style precedes his MVP status. Back in 2012, Newton starred in a spread for GQ, photographed on the field wearing items by Michael Bastian, Dolce & Gabbana, and Burberry, along with Under Armour sneakers. Newton was given grief when he entered the league because he claimed to aspire to be an “icon,” rather than just another athlete. He’s already popularized the “dab” dance as part of his touchdown celebrations.
Newton’s not the only athlete forging a new fashion image for young men to look up to. NBA stars like Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade take to post-game pressers wearing flashy, designer outfits. Westbrook sat front row at the Givenchy runway show during September’s New York Fashion Week, collaborated on a line of loafers with Barneys, and even fangirled on Instagram over Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
“Many athletes have gravitated toward fashion and are addressing much more fashion forward styles than they have in the past,” said CFDA president and CEO Steven Kolb. “Young men look to athletes and are influenced by that.”
That influence is helping to drive sales online, as under two hours after fellow Carolina Panther Jonathan Stewart posted an Instagram of himself with Newton wearing the Versace jeans, tweets surfaced that the pants were out of stock on the Web.
This is the second time in a week that a celebrity endorsement led to a flurry of sales for designer items. On January 26, Rihanna tweeted a photo of herself wearing a pair of embellished $9,000 headphones by Dolce & Gabbana, which — even at their insane price point — also immediately sold out online.
But we’re used to pop stars and other fashion-forward celebrities making such statements. It’s relatively new territory for professional athletes, who once had to follow a jacket-and-tie mandate to ensure they looked presentable, to be so bold in their sartorial choices.
Even as Newton’s $850 jeans quickly sold out online, that’s not to say that everyone on the Internet was feeling the look.