Even for those of us who don’t “get” football — (we can happily hum the tune to Match of the Day but struggle to recollect the indisputably basic offside rule) — the World Cup has the power to ignite Berliner’s spirits unlike anything else. Sun-drenched streets, outdoor screens and Sterni’s on ice: World Cup fever, it seems, is contagious, and it unites our multicultural city, despite its divided support.
But while Berlin, like most of the globe, has got its eyes firmly set on Russia, SLEEK is already looking to the future, determined to suss out football’s next shooting star. Enter: Kai Havertz, the German wunderkind widely known for his extraordinary technical talent. One of the country’s brightest young players, Havertz made his debut for Bayer Leverkusen in 2016, going on to become the club’s youngest ever goalscorer in the Bundesliga the following year.
Who better then to model the brand new Nike collaboration with Kim Jones, the creative director of Dior Homme, similarly revered for his technical prowess in the world of fashion design?
For the special capsule collection, titled ‘Football Reimagined’, Jones has taken his cues from football, rave culture and ‘70s punk bondage, giving traditional sportswear a distinctly modern spin. The result is a versatile, so-fresh-so-clean collection that, with its focus on innovative fabrics and design, is as suited to streetwear exercise-a-phobes as it is to football fanatics.
In celebration of the collection’s release, Nike invited SLEEK to produce an exclusive fashion story starring Havertz, lensed by Lucas Christiansen and styled by Lorena Maza. Sneak a peek at the images below, alongside a special interview with Havertz, discussing talent, training and technique.
What position do you play — what skills does that require?
I’m a mid-field player so I need a lot of different skills. I think the most important one is to have an overview of the game and the ability to know what to do in every possible situation. You have to be fast, even if you’re not the fastest, and you really need to be good at communication. Interaction with the rest of the team is vital.
How long did it take you to get to where you are now?
Of course, you need a lot of talent but it also takes a lot of work to get to this point — I’ve been playing soccer for many, many years and I have training several times a week. The coach has helped me a lot and has given me a lot of tips. I think it’s a combination of talent and work.
How do you keep calm before a big game?
I’m someone who’s always listening to music — also in my free time and at home — so before a game I like to listening to music. It helps me to focus and keep calm.
What kind of music do you listen to?
German rap, English hip-hop, R&B, and French hip-hop.
How would you describe your technique?
That’s difficult. I’d say I have a pretty good technique — of course you can always be better, but at the moment I think I can still be very happy about it. I’m trying to train my right foot, to make it stronger. There’s always something left to perfect, but I’m happy to have Leverkusen working with me on it, and I think I’ll get better and better over the next few years.
How does the clothing you’re wearing help you?
Clothes are really important because you want to be as light as possible when standing on the field. Personally, I don’t like it when the clothing fits too tightly; I like to feel free. I think that’s when you’re able to give your best performance.
What do you think about the ‘Football Reimagined’ capsule collection?
I think it’s super cool. The clothes look really nice and all in all it’s a great collaboration.
What’s your favourite piece?
For me it’s definitely the shoes, especially the white ones. I like the whole collection a lot though: it’s very versatile and I’d definitely wear the pieces in my free time as well.
The Nike x Kim Jones “Football Reimagined” capsule collection is available online now.