Zlatan Ibrahimović has just launched his own line of clothing. “It’s an historical day,” said designer Zlatan, who unveiled his line, A-Z, in Paris to 300 fans and media, with an absurd balletic fashion show and a promotion video shot around Paris, featuring the famed camouflage housing blocks, les Tours Aillaud.
The collection immediately went sale on a-z.com in eleven countries, including France. His partner is Petter Varner – a Norwegian retailer with some 1,500 boutiques mainly in Scandinavia. He predicts sales of one million items of A-Z in just 2016.
“I am a training freak, a training maniac. The collection is the result of that… As a kid I had dreamed of my own brand. And today here I am with a-z.com which means Amateur to Zlatan,” said the player, known to wear bespoke cashmere Berluti suits. Though his sportswear is all in technical fabrics. From 14.95 euros for Boxers; or 69.95 euros for stretch pants with mesh inserts; to 89.95 euros for a sporty, tight jacket. Like the all-black ones Zlatan wore as he spoke throughout in English.
“We will take A-Z to the big continents and we will take over,” smiled the diffident, 1.95 meter Swede.
Asked by a fan to stay in Paris, he replied: “Paris has been missing me. Since the day I left it has been raining. I come today and the sun shines. That’s a good sign… But there is a moment when you feel there is nothing more to do. Mission Completed. My time at Paris Saint-Germain will never be forgotten. Now I need another challenge. But if I wanted I could have stayed another five years.”
Pressed about reportedly signing with Manchester United and old boss Jose Mourinho, he demurred: “Look between A and Z and you will find it (his next team).”
Who, one wondered, was the egomaniacal striker’s favorite style icon? “There is only one in football, that is David Beckham,” said Zlatan, suddenly standing to show off his own underwear, “we have them too, just like Beckham.” Favorite designer icons? “Only Rick Owens. He is doing work unlike anyone else.”
“Believe it or not, as a boy, I wanted to be a lawyer,” insisted Ibrahimović. He was raised by his Muslim Bosniak father and Croatian Catholic mother in immigrant quarter of Rosengard, a district of Malmö. The scene of Sweden’s most violent ever urban riots in 2008, sparked by the eviction of a local mosque.
“There was not a lot of opportunities where I came from, but I took mine. I trained harder than anyone else. Because of where I came from I needed to be 10 times better than anyone else. So this is my way of giving back. This is the people’s brand. I was raised in a Swedish ghetto but I did not lack for much. But I was 17 before I went to the city center, where everyone looked different,” said Zlatan with his hair in a sleek ponytail.
“Is this a new hair style? No my power is in my hair. If I cut it, I will lose all my power!” said the Swede to much laughter.