Lionel Messi: Yorkshire fashion brand SilkSilk lands PSG star for latest collaboration

A Yorkshire-based fashion brand has netted football megastar Lionel Messi for its latest worldwide collaboration.

The new range is the latest success of SikSilk, formed by friends Baz Gill, David Thompson and Sam Kay, who met at Graham School in Scarborough, and have enjoyed rapid growth into a global fashion brand since their launch in 2012.

"It’s a dream turned into reality," said David Thompson, SikSilk's owner.

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"Following previous collaborations with international footballer Dani Alves, we noticed Lionel Messi organically wearing the SikSilk brand across press and social media. We decided to make the approach to his team to see if we could do something together, and the collection was born."

Lionel Messi wearing the new SikSilk collaboration.Lionel Messi wearing the new SikSilk collaboration.
Lionel Messi wearing the new SikSilk collaboration.

The collaboration has been three years in the making for the Scarborough trio, with Sam and Baz making the trip to Rosario, Argentina, to visit Messi's family and discuss the project in August 2018.

Baz Gill said: "It was an incredibly humbling experience. We got to visit his family home, see where he grew up, and most importantly, first started kicking a football. Fast-forward to today and we consider his family friends."

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Lionel Messi's sister Maria Sol has also been a "real driver" behind the design process, he said.

Lionel Messi wearing Messi x SikSilk, with SikSilk's founders Sam Kay, left, Baz Gill and David Thompson.Lionel Messi wearing Messi x SikSilk, with SikSilk's founders Sam Kay, left, Baz Gill and David Thompson.
Lionel Messi wearing Messi x SikSilk, with SikSilk's founders Sam Kay, left, Baz Gill and David Thompson.
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The 57-piece collection includes, shirts, outwear, hoodies and tees with the SikSilk logo amended to house a crown on top, signifying Lionel Messi as "the king of football".

A lion icon also features heavily across the range, as a nod to 'Leo' being king of the jungle. The new range also features a 46-piece collection for kids and juniors.

To understand just how significant the 'Messi' name is to a fashion company, when 150,000 Lionel Messi football shirts went on sale on new club Paris Saint-Germain's website, on the day his transfer was announced, they were sold in just seven minutes.

The Scarborough trio were inspired by the lack of American apparel available in the UK and spotted their gap in the market, which started off with printing the SikSilk logo on baseball caps and jerseys.

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Gary 'Gaz' Beadle, of MTV's Geordie Shore fame, helped give the company its big break after showing interest and wearing the brand's early collections on TV as well as recommending it to his friends and followers.

SikSilk has gone from strength to strength and has since been worn by musicians 50 Cent and Jess Glynne, F1's Lewis Hamilton, as well as fellow footballing megastar Cristiano Ronaldo.

They have since struck deals with ASOS, Footasylum and Footlocker, which brought with it international success.

The project began to take shape whilst Messi was still at Barcelona and following a visit to him at their training ground, teammates Vidal and Arthur were spotted wearing the brand. "It was a massive pinch me moment," said Baz. "It really emphasised how big the brand had become."

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Lionel Messi is regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time. During his 17-year stint playing first-team football for Spanish giants Barcelona, he scored 672 goals in 778 appearances. He moved to Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

Lionel Messi said: "The SikSilk culture is that of family, something that I hold close. The Messi x SikSilk collection has been a combined team effort over a three-year period with my sister working closely with the SikSilk design team. I couldn’t be happier at how the product has turned out."