Crystal Palace English Premier League
PA Wire

THE IMAGE OF A BRAND is everything. One of the integral components of the success (or lack thereof) of a brand, without an image, you have no brand. This notion applies not only to fashion brands, but basically any sector, such as sporting.

For example, this week, the announcement was made that Crystal Palace Football Club has brought on the talents of Kenny Annan-Jonathan as an official creative director, hired to lead its creative in apparel and fashion partnerships. It’s the first club in the history of the English Premier League to hire a creative director, and likely not the last; really, the decision makes a ton of sense.

In the world of football alone, the crossover with fashion, be it high or low, is nothing new. Brands like Moncler, Zegna, Burberry, Gucci and Dior have all navigated the world of sporting collaborations in recent times, as well as utilising the talents of high profile athletes to support its campaigns (we all remember Jannik Sinner carrying his custom-made Gucci duffle bag at Wimbledon this year).

And look at the proliferation of kit culture in recent years, with renowned fashion brands looking to capitalise on the popularity of sporting teams and its rich fan base. Nike, most recently, teamed up with fictional football team A.F.C. Richmond for the final season of Apple TV’s Ted Lasso, which sold out almost instantly.

On the topic of creative directors in sport—and what they hope to achieve creatively within sporting franchises—here is a list of names currently working with some of the biggest sporting teams and leagues in the world to establish a great-er brand image and experience.

Kenny Annan-Jonathan
Henry J Kamara



English football team Crystal Palace has become the first team in the Premier League to hire a creative director to oversee apparel collections and fashion partnerships. Sports marketing guru Kenny Annan-Jonathan (The Mailroom) has been hired for the new role, with his first line of duty to launch an autumn/winter apparel collection for the upcoming 2023-2024 season, according to The Business of Fashion.

“The average fan, and how they express their love for sports has evolved, and it’s time that the sporting world evolves with them,” Annan-Jonathan told BoF. Annan-Jonathan added that he plans to create products that go beyond typical sports team merch and grow the team’s fan base.

Daniel Arsham
Daniel Arsham



In 2020, American creative and designer/artist Daniel Arsham — known for his much-hyped collaborations with Dior, Rimowa, Tiffany, Adidas, Uniqlo and more — was announced as the official creative director of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, a role he still holds today. Hired to combine art and sport, the strategy behind Arsham’s hiring is to lead creative strategies in the areas of merchandising design, off-court activities and overall game experience for fans.

Guillermo Andrade
Bibi Borthwick



Earlier this year, cult LA streetwear designer Guillermo Andrade (424) was hired as a creative advisor/director for the Major League Soccer (MLS), in particular around its coveted Leagues’ Cup which is currently underway. The month-long tournament features 47 football teams from the MLS and Liga MX, Mexico’s top football division. Under Andrade’s creative vision, all capsule collections for the League’s Cup, including apparel and merchandise, would roll out across the nation. Andrade will also work with Apple TV on a three-part series documenting the process. for Apple TV.


Ronny Fieg New York Knicks
Chris Buck



Streetwear icon Ronnie Fieg (Kith) was named as the New York Knick’s official (and first) creative director back In 2022, officially hired to help the NBA side “develop a community around our international brand by developing an in-house line and extenuating creative,” according to a social media post.


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