In today’s billion dollar sports industry, becoming an icon goes far beyond the sporting arena. It’s also about building a brand. American fashion designer Rachel Zoe said it best, “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” The title sponsor of the Red Stripe Premier League understands this and has been helping players to develop their own personal brands as they aspire to perform on the international stage.
“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”
At the recent RSPL Player Development Programme, facilitators sought to educate players on the business of sports and entertainment, including the importance of personal grooming. Local designer Carlton Brown gave the sixty-six players a crash course in style. “We have brought in Carlton Brown because he is a stylist to the stars, and we feel the players will benefit,” said Reshima Kelly, assistant brand manager for Red Stripe.
Brown’s session took the players through the basics, with a demonstration of the magic of the simple black suit and how it should be worn. Brown shared various suit styles, including the ever-sleek tuxedo, giving explanations on appropriate occasions for each. “At the next sports awards I expect to see you all in tuxedos,” he jested with the players who were more than happy to be models for the day. Brown also showed them how to pair everyday clothes with jackets, ties, cuff links and other accessories.
“For a lot of sports men when you start building your name that is your brand and you have to take it seriously or no one else will,” said Brown. For most professional athletes, their public image is synonymous with their brand. Athletes like Usain Bolt and Christiano Ronaldo get as much credit for their impeccable sense of style as they do for their athletic prowess. Except for a few, Jamaican athletes have not been able to snag lucrative endorsement deals, but those who have, do so in style. “Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell always put themselves together when the time calls for it,” said Brown, who attributes the track stars’ brand appeal to their good personal style.
Brown, who has also styled several local entertainers and track stars, believes young athletes should pay close attention to their personal brand once they are in the public eye. “The minute you play a match or run a race, once the camera is on you, that is when you start,” said Brown. “It’s not a case of showing off. You have to make your mark.”
“It’s not a case of showing off. You have to make your mark.”
The RSPL Player Development Programme wrapped up at the Liguanea Club in St. Andrew with a professional photo shoot by ARRC Creative Media. The programme also included sessions on social media management, sportsmanship, public speaking and conflict resolution. “We see the RSPL and the Player Development Programme as building blocks for the players’ athletic success, and we want to continue to see each one grow by equipping them with the right skills and knowledge,” said Kelly.