Franz Beckenbauer died this week, an amazing player who is considered by many to be one of the best footballers of all time. But in addition to his athletic prowess, he was an essential ambassador for one of the most iconic pieces in 20th century fashion: the Adidas three-stripes tracksuit.
The origin of the tracksuit is older, but the 1970s were crucial in its history thanks to advances in the professionalization of the sport, which meant that sportswear began to be taken more seriously. Previously, athletes wore heavy wool or cotton jackets to warm up, which obviously need to be replaced with more technical and practical clothing. That's when Adidas designed the Firebird tracksuit in 1967, which consists of a jacket with a central opening, easier to put on and take off, and pants with baguette pieces that keep the leg in place during exercise. All together, crowned with the three stripes that grace the image and give elegance, because they connected it with the side stripe that also showed off several formal trousers, including a tuxedo.
The success came, primarily, from the fact of incorporating new generation materials such as nylon, making them lighter, breathable, adjustable to the body, and cheaper to produce. Secondly, for the commercial strategy of associating it with a famous athlete like Beckenbauer, thus starting a practice that is now very common in sportswear. In addition, this sports suit carries advertising slogans such as: Sports and leisure clothing, was also essential for sportswear to cross borders, with the idea that anyone could wear sportswear in their spare time. A change in paradigm was stimulated by the popularization of sports practice outside gyms through jogging, which normalized the nature of men and women running in city streets, as the basis of the running phenomenon.com.athleisure (Sportswear for not exercising).
If Adidas planted the seeds, cultures such as reggae, hip-hop, football fans or Chavs The English did the rest by appropriating this tracksuit and turning it into a symbol of the underprivileged class. Perhaps that's why Karl Lagerfeld once said, in clear class terms: “A tracksuit is a sign of defeat. When you lose control of your life, you buy a tracksuit.” The other side of the coin of this statement was embodied by Fidel Castro when he changed his camouflage suits to the three stripes, as a strategy to get closer to the people and renew his image, which was later imitated by Hugo Chavez.
A few pieces have been worn by people as diverse as Bruce Lee, Bob Marley, rapper Run DMC, Spice Girls' Mel C, Tom Hanks, Liam Gallagher, and Elton John, or honored in films like Royal Tenenbaum I Kill Bill And according to a series like cheerful I Squid game. When this happens, it is because we are dealing with a fashion icon who, in light of the successful collaborations with top designers that he regularly undertakes, still has a lot to say.
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