There are very few footballers that are known for having covetable style. Retired England and Manchester United champ David Beckham is, of course, one of them. Elsewhere, the late Frank Worthington taught us a thing or two about wearing wide, sweeping trousers and Sir Bobby Moore served crowd-pleasing style aplenty with his pared-back looks.
Today, in a sea of logo-heavy ensembles, Héctor Bellerín stands out from the crowd. The 25-year-old Arsenal defender and fashion week regular is known as much for his off-pitch style as he is his football skills and for his latest venture he has partnered with H&M on a collection of sustainable apparel.
To coincide with the launch of Edition By Héctor Bellerín we sat down with the footballer to find out more about the collaboration, how his style has changed and why he thinks buying vintage is best…
This is the first time I’ve worked on a full collection. I really like the parkas, which is interesting, as in my first proposal I didn’t want a parka in there. There’s a navy silk two-piece set, consisting of trousers and a shirt, which is great for people who are working from home. Comfort is key for me when it comes to dressing and this collection merges that with sustainability.
My style has changed dramatically. It’s more mature and comfort-focused today. I don’t really buy new clothes anymore. I try and buy secondhand and get more coveted pieces that will last forever. Longevity and circularity are key. In the past I wasn’t as informed as I am today and now I try to recycle pieces, rework them and exchange them.
I cringe when I look at pictures of myself from before. I look at some pictures of myself from when I was going to fashion week and think I would never wear that now. I was young and I wanted to try everything. I didn’t have any judgement. Once I wore a PVC Margiela coat, a purple blazer, a Prada bucket hat and then some very small glasses. Looking back, the pieces were cool, but that was all too much.
I’d never say I wouldn’t wear something in the future. I’ve worn some outrageous things in my time and I never thought I would, so never say never.
One of my favourite items is a Craig Green jacket. I also like a Loewe multicoloured tartan jacket I wore to fashion week with Fear Of God x Vans trainers.
Sustainability is part of who I am. I went vegan three years ago and as a result my day-to-day choices, such as what I wear, are made with a more conscious mind. It was difficult at the beginning. I love clothes and buying and shopping was a big part of my life before. But I educated myself on pollution and the damage that the fashion industry traditionally has on the planet. This caused a massive conflict inside of me. I’m still slowly learning how to deal with that and how to shop and still promote a change.
I don’t buy new leather. I wouldn’t say I’d never wear it, but it would need to be secondhand. If it’s already out there, or I already own it, then that’s fine to me. It would be more wasteful to bin the leather I already own.
My mantra is to reuse what you already have. Trading is great too, even with friends. I’ve done it: I message someone and say, “I’ve got this if you want it” and then I trade it for something they own.
I’ve been making cushions out of old shirts. I had a white shirt that was stained in one section, but I didn’t want to throw it away. I needed cushions for my sofa so I used the shirt material. I like the idea of taking old T-shirts and incorporating them into others. Quarantine has been ideal for some trial-and-error DIY.
Working with a massive corporation such as H&M was challenging at first. But I asked so many questions before I agreed to the partnership and they have so many innovative projects on the go and have made so many investments in technologies in an attempt to be more circular and sustainable. As a massive company it can be difficult to make changes everyday, but it’s important that it is trying to do its best.
Not enough is being done in general regarding sustainability. The consumer still needs to be educated, as does the manufacturer. Most people just buy what they can get and there’s too much waste and too much consumption. My collection proves that even brands such as H&M can do things sustainably at a low price – it has the resources. Also, so many people say, “I want to cancel that brand,” but at the end of the day what we demand is what they produce. It’s as much about us as it is about the big brands.
I only buy if I really need something. I like to buy stuff from friends who have been hit hard by Covid-19. I’d never go and buy something brand new. I love researching too. You can find stuff from Comme Des Garçons from the 1990s that you’ve never seen before and it is more fulfilling. I find pieces that have a history more meaningful.
East London has some great places for vintage. I use Grailed and Vestiaire Collective online too. Yet, I must say, with places such as Grailed there’s a lot of new stuff, so in the end you just feed that same consumer monster. You need to be careful buying online.
I’m wearing my The North Face jacket everywhere. It’s so cold. It’s like wearing a duvet and easy to throw on.
I can’t wait to go out there and dress up. I’m going to spend time with my looks and try some new things. That said, we’ve been in isolation for a year now and certain habits will stay with me.
Chandler Bing is my style god. In series one and two of Friends he had some great looks. He’s so cool; I want to dress like that. He just wears cardigans, white jeans and cool trainers. Relaxed and nonchalant, but cool. I relate to that.
A$AP Rocky and Kanye West are people I’m driven to. In terms of what they wear, anyway. I also respect young people who just have their own unique sense of style.
In football there are people who dress well. Today there are young players who are exciting, players who have more about them. Tiémoué Bakayoko is one of them. He invested in Études. It’s good to see a footballer take an interest in not just clothes and labels, but what’s actually behind brands in terms of business.
I had a Britney moment and shaved my head last year. I quarantined alone for three months. Some days I was thriving and sometimes I didn’t know what to do. Shaving my hair added some excitement into my life. Now I am growing it as it’s so difficult to get a haircut these days and I don’t want to get into trouble by doing something I shouldn’t. I’m working with it, but I don’t want it as long as I had it before.
I have good skin and my diet really helps. Being vegan, I have noticed a total difference. I don’t have a lot of facial hair, so I don’t need to tend to that often, which helps. I don’t really have a skin routine that I stick to, but I borrow whatever my girlfriend uses.
I look at my lifestyle in a holistic way. I believe that every choice you make throughout the day matters, whether that’s the food you eat, your training or how much you sleep. Lockdown was difficult to begin with as I didn’t have a routine. We were sent a training programme, but you could do the training at any point in your day. I found that difficult and so one day I decided I was going to wake up super early, start my day journalling, mediating and doing yoga and then start the training. Having a routine really helped keep me sane.
Edition By Héctor Bellerín is available in select H&M stores and hm.com from 18 February.
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