There has never been a chicer time to be a sports fan. Athletes sit front row during Fashion Week, appear on the covers of the most influential magazines, express their personal style like never before on red carpets and street style blogs—and the rise of the fashion-plate athlete has provided the modeling industry with a unique opportunity. With their sculpted physiques and built-in fan bases, athletes offer a cachet that few models outside of industry superstars with occasional reality TV–enhanced audiences like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner can match. While fitness-focused brands have always looked to athletes as representatives—Michael Jordan’s mutually beneficial relationship with Nike has now exceeded three decades—increased demand has led to sports stars collaborating with a wider range of brands. From Russell Westbrook’s capsule collections for Barneys New York to Rafael Nadal posing for Emporio Armani, the fashion potential of sports stars is seemingly infinite.
One man looking to bridge the gap between fashion and sports is Angus Munro. As the longtime casting director for shows like Rick Owens and Ann Demeulemeester, Munro helped to usher in an edgy aesthetic on the runways, and with his latest venture, P1 Management, he aims to revamp the entire modeling industry. Dedicated to harnessing the fashion power of sports figures, P1’s photogenic roster includes tennis ace Ana Ivanovic, Olympic gold medalist Anna Fenninger, and Real Madrid’s James Rodríguez. Though weeks away from launching P1, Munro has big plans for the company’s future. Find out how he translated his sports-nerd past into a full-fledged agency, and why he feels that athletes can bring something fresh to the industry.
What can an athlete bring to the table that a traditional model cannot?
With my other company, AM Casting, I believe we have been at the forefront of street and real-people casting in our work with, say, Uniqlo, Diesel, i-D, and Rick Owens. This is a trend that shows no sign of abating. I think consumers respond to aspirational characters who are not just aspirational because of their looks. I just always think to myself, “What is more inspiring and aspirational than someone who has dedicated their life to becoming one of the best in the world . . . Oh, and who is also really good-looking!” Therefore, one of my athletes in a campaign can bring a whole new dimension to that ad, and perhaps a whole new audience to the brand.
Why do you think so many athletes are interested in fashion right now?
I think athletes, just like other non-fashion people, have been becoming more and more dialed into what is happening in the fashion business. . . . This is largely due to social media and the Internet as a whole. And as a result of this, the aspirational industries of music, sports, and fashion are cross-pollinating more and more—look at A$ AP [Rocky], Kanye, et cetera. Bearing this in mind, it is a surprise to me that we are really the first dedicated “model” agency for sports stars.
How did the idea for P1 become a reality?
I’m a sports nerd—really, I am! I spend the majority of my free time playing or watching sports, but the fashion industry is my life and has been incredibly good to me. And I had been trying since the mid-nineties to find a way to interface sports and fashion. The problem was that the world of fashion saw sports stars as a little “cheesy” (for want of a better word), and sport, in general, was not considered cool. But I really couldn’t shake the feeling that this was a matter of perception and that such perception would change . . . and change it duly did. I also needed to do this with partners who not only could bring different skills and backgrounds to the table, but who also really got my vision for this project.
Who are some of the athletes you will be launching with?
P1 Management has some incredible talent already who are as excited about this unique agency as we are. To name but a few, we are launching with Ana Ivanovic (world tennis no. seven), James Rodríguez (Real Madrid and Colombia, World Cup 2014 Golden Boot), Anna Fenninger (Olympic gold in skiing), Alexander Rossi (currently second in GP2 Series, the feeder championship to Formula 1), Alizé Lim (world tennis no. 182). We also have Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny, George North, and Owen Farrell, who will all be competing in the Rugby World Cup in September. Danny Amendola, the New England Patriots’s wide receiver, leads our line in American sports at the moment. But we will be announcing some more exciting names very soon—watch this space.
What are the types of campaigns or brand partnerships you see these athletes getting?
We are getting an overwhelming reaction already, and we are still two weeks away from our official launch! Thus far, it is pretty much exactly as we had envisaged: Interest is coming from all areas of the business, from high fashion to mainstream beauty and lifestyle brands. Personally, I would love to do something like an Abercrombie or Gap campaign with all my athletes together.
Who would be your dream athlete to work with?
Any player (handsome or not) from my football team, Queens Park Rangers!
Ahem. Sorry. Seriously now, there are a few, actually, but I can’t mention names, as we are in discussions with them already! Probably the best way to answer this would be to name a retired athlete, so I suppose someone like David Beckham. He is a style icon, a nice bloke, and actually helped pave the way to P1 Management becoming a reality.
The post Pro Athletes Are the New Models: How Sports Stars Are Taking Over appeared first on Vogue.
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