Footballers have long been involved in fashion shoots. Even back in the 1970s, they were used by designers when they needed to gain some column inches. Bob McNab, Arsenal’s rugged left back at the time, was somehow persuaded to model a ‘man dress’ and then to extol its’ virtues. David Beckham’s sarong was positively tame by comparison.
With the sport’s high profile, it’s no surprise players are popular but to make a splash in the fashion pages from a minority sport? That takes some doing. Not that Conor McGregor’s journey is unique. Sir Bradley Wiggins rode a similar race from cycling mod to style icon.
McGregor though, added some swagger to it all. A man whose job in part entails pummelling the face of rivals while trying to stop them doing the same, ought to be wary of getting involved in fashion circles but this is all part of the Irishman’s charm and larger than life personality.
When you christen yourself ‘The Notorious’, you’d better have the talent to back it up. And the look. Flamboyance is a pre-requisite and his dressing gowns fit that bill; the designs are never knowingly understated.
It isn’t just for himself that the Irishman holds exacting standards; opponents are treated contemptuously as Floyd Mayweather Jr found out during the recent promotional tour for Saturday’s bout,
“What the f*ck is he wearing?” McGregor asked about his opponent who was dressed in a t-shirt and sweatpants. “He looks like a little break dancer or something…He’s 40! You’re 40 years of age. Dress your f*cking age…What are you doing with a schoolbag on stage? You can’t even read.”
He had a point but with his wealth, Mayweather’s clothes wouldn’t have been cheap but it takes a lot of effort to look that scruffy.
That’s not to say that the former plumber from Dublin always gets it right. He attracted criticism for wearing what was claimed to be a ‘polar bear skin’ coat; social media wasn’t amused and tore him to pieces over it. The Irishman’s denials quelled the storm but the furore meant he got a free pass for the grotesque trousers he wore at the recent New York promotional event for the fight.
Sartorial elegance scored an own goal that day.
McGregor’s determination to dress well reflects his upbringing and his personal wealth. In common with many working-class families, there is pride in appearance and belongings are well cared for.
The rewards for rising to the top of his game enable him to buy tailored suits and clothes in he feels comfortable. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, as the saying goes. His love of fashion is well-documented through the glossy pages and his social media accounts. Betway Insider found that so far this year, McGregor averages 52 fashion-related posts per month on his Instagram account, as well as showing off his watches valued at $500k, suits and jackets which cost more than the average monthly wage earner takes home in half-a-year, as well as shirts to match.
McGregor favours David August suits and has the company’s CEO David August Heil serving as his personal tailor. With that attention to detail, it’s little wonder that the UFC legend finds himself a darling of the fashion industry.
Suits You, Sir
While there is an element of personal pride in his clothes and how he looks, the move to style icon is also astute from a business point-of-view. McGregor is a master of self-promotion and knows he must look good as well as deliver in the octagon.
MMA is a minority sport and if you’re going to talk it up, doing so with a stylish look and the latest fashions is a must. UFC supremo Dana White fills the ‘Don King’ Svengali role but every sport needs its hero that people can relate to. McGregor is that man.
While the gift of the gab might make him a valued raconteur, nobody would take him seriously if he turned up for interviews or called himself ‘the greatest’ if he were wearing Primark jeans and t-shirts which proclaim, “My ma and da went to Benidorm and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”.
In the same way David Beckham mastered the art of looking good even to promote himself, McGregor’s does the same. Even when Sir Alex Ferguson kicked a football boot into the former England international’s head, Beckham’s use of an alice band made them fashionable for men to wear. Now you can’t move on a football pitch without someone wearing one.
Self-promotion is made easier by your talent but also by looking good. McGregor grasped that at an early stage and remains a sharp-dressed man. Long may that continue.