April 21, 2024

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Crafting Fashion Trends

‘There’s a place for everybody in fashion’

9 min read

When the full-time whistle was blown during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final, it not only confirmed the England team’s victory over Germany, but foreshadowed the Lionesses’ domination within the world of men’s and women’s sport and beyond.

From WH’s March cover star Mary Earps’ BBC Sports Personality of the Year win in December, to a staggering seven players selected as part of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World 11 at The Best FIFA Football Awards in January, it’s been non-stop success. And that has extended to other avenues, too. Namely fashion.

2023 saw captain Leah Williamson star in the campaign for the Nike x Martine Rose collection, Alessia Russo joined forces with Jenna Ortega to debut Adidas’ Z.N.E. collection and Chloe Kelly featured in Calvin Klein’s iconic black and white lingerie ads.

However, Lucy Bronze is taking it a step further as she becomes the latest Lioness to embark on her own fashion collaboration. The 32-year-old defender has partnered with London-based brand ALIGNE as the face of the label’s spring summer campaign.

lucy bronze for aligne 2024 spring summer campaign

Ellie Hemsley, courtesy of ALIGNE

lucy bronze for aligne 2024 spring summer campaign

Ellie Hemsley, courtesy of ALIGNE

‘[ALIGNE] wanted a strong female athlete and I absolutely love the clothes… It was a bit of a no-brainer’ she tells Women’s Health of how the union came to be.

Luxe in approach, high-end in feel but with accessible price points throughout every collection, ALIGNE is best known for its coats, denim and tailoring. The latter category in particular striking a chord with Lucy, who attended The Best FIFA Football Awards in a white waistcoat and trouser co-ord from the label.

‘As a female athlete, I’ve got strong legs so I think that’s always a problem I have is finding pants that fit really nice. As soon as I saw the white suit I was completely sold, I absolutely loved it. And with a lot of [ALIGNE’s] pants, I feel so comfortable [wearing them].’

lucy bronze wearing a pink suit from the aligne 2024 spring summer campaign

Ellie Hemsley, courtesy of ALIGNE

So it’s no surprise it was another suit, this time in an olive green hue, that caught her eye when she was looking through the latest collection. Plus the striped Normandie Balloon Sleeve Shirt and Nora Boxer Short matching set, styled with the Miri Knitted Zip Tank also getting a shout-out in our chat. All pieces that match Lucy’s self-described ‘quite simple’ and ‘not too over-stated’ style.

‘I do like to keep an eye on what’s trending, but if those things aren’t really something that suits me I’m not afraid to just go and try something different. I think the whole point of fashion is trying new things and finding your own style.’

Comfort is also a priority in her wardrobe – unsurprising for someone who spends most of their time in activewear. So much so, Lucy often finds herself incorporating athleisure into her everyday outfits without even realising it, unconsciously influenced by the popularity of streetwear trends.

‘I remember having a conversation with one of my best friends, Demi Stokes, who plays as well. We always used to wear tracksuits, just because it was easy. We used to be like, ‘What are we going to do when we’re in our 30s and we’re mums, we can’t still be wearing tracksuits!’ But she’s a mum and we’re both in our 30s and we’re still wearing tracksuits,’ she laughs.

‘It’s a different kind of style though,’ she quickly adds. ‘You can have a tracksuit jacket with a nice pair of pants and wear them with a nice pair of shoes. Fashion is so diverse now.’

Shop Lucy’s favourite picks from ALIGNE’s spring summer collection:

Normandie Balloon Shirt Sleeve
ALIGNE Normandie Balloon Shirt Sleeve
Mermaid V-Neck Knitted Dress
ALIGNE Mermaid V-Neck Knitted Dress
Meadow Denim Pinafore Top
ALIGNE Meadow Denim Pinafore Top
Credit: Aligne
Marsh Wide Leg Jeans
ALIGNE Marsh Wide Leg Jeans
Credit: Aligne
Miri Knitted Zip Tank
ALIGNE Miri Knitted Zip Tank
Credit: Aligne
Nora Boxer Short
ALIGNE Nora Boxer Short
Credit: Aligne
Meg Square Neck Shell Top
ALIGNE Meg Square Neck Shell Top
Monika Square Neck Longline Waistcoat
ALIGNE Monika Square Neck Longline Waistcoat
Credit: Aligne
Maggie Straight Leg Trousers
ALIGNE Maggie Straight Leg Trousers
Credit: Aligne
lucy bronze for aligne 2024 spring summer campaign

Ellie Hemsley, courtesy of ALIGNE

It’s taken Lucy a while to feel confident stepping into the fashion arena, easily as intimidating a space as any football pitch in a final-round competition match.

‘Playing football is where I’m most comfortable. Getting the confidence on the pitch comes with practice, but I think my family, and my mum especially, really helped grow that from a young age. I’ve just done it for so long, even if things go wrong [in a match] I’m prepared for everything.’

‘It’s always felt a little bit more difficult to find that confidence off the pitch. I was very shy as a child, but putting myself in uncomfortable situations and realising that I’m okay has always given me confidence. It’s about finding success in the things that you do, and a success for me is feeling comfortable in a situation that maybe wasn’t normally where I would be.’

Having grown up in Northumberland playing football alongside her older brother and his friends on the boys’ team until she was 11, and dedicating her teen years almost solely to the sport she loved, it’s easy to picture Lucy as the stereotypical tomboy kid with not much of an interest in fashion at all.

‘I felt like I didn’t belong in that world, even from a young age. I was so passionate about football and sport, it felt like that’s what I like so I have to do that. When I was growing up, I didn’t really have that person I could [look up to] who played football and liked to dress differently and that made me feel a little bit uncomfortable. Even though I always enjoyed what other people were wearing, and what other people looked nice in and when they were brave to wear amazing dresses and outfits.’

lucy bronze for aligne 2024 spring summer campaign

Ellie Hemsley, courtesy of ALIGNE

‘As I’ve got older, I’ve become more brave and realised there is a place for everybody – whether you’re a footballer or an athlete – there’s definitely a place for you in fashion if you’re brave enough to have your own style and feel comfortable with that.’

For Lucy, that confidence has always come from her teammates. Following stints at Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City, she signed a three-year contract with Lyon, moving to France at the age of 25.

‘There was a couple of players there whose style was amazing. They would say ‘You could wear this’ and I thought ‘No I can’t,’ but they were the people who really pushed me and said there’s a place for everybody in fashion. Slowly, I’ve felt more comfortable in trying new things and finding my style.’

lucy bronze for aligne 2024 spring summer campaign

Ellie Hemsley, courtesy of ALIGNE

That first step into fashion was through footwear, quickly developing into a confessed trainer obsession. Sharing pairs with her mum and sister who have the same size feet, Lucy reckons her collection is easily in the hundreds, no doubt fuelled by her Nike sponsorship. Though only 30 pairs relocated to Spain with her when she signed for Barcelona in June 2022, alongside continuing to represent her country on the England women’s national team.

‘I think that’s the amazing thing about being part of a team, we all have different passions and all the girls want to show their different personalities to inspire people. It’s nice to see and I think it’s really important that we’re able to give people so many different references,’ Lucy says, returning to the topic of her teammates.

‘They don’t have to be exactly like us, but they can go, ‘Well, Lucy’s different to Leah [Williamson], who’s different to Ella [Toone], and they all get along and they all play together.’ It definitely inspires me and I can see it inspires other little girls in the way they want to be or act or dress.’

Is that one of the negative side effects to this new-found fame? As well as the pressure to perform on the pitch, she’s now held to a higher standard off of it too, expected to be a role model for young girls and women.

‘At the beginning, you can maybe see it that way, but I want to show people that making mistakes – whether that’s in life or football or fashion – as long as you’re not hurting somebody, you can learn from those mistakes and become a better person from it. For me, I don’t see any pressure in being a role model because I’d like to think that anything I do, good or bad, I can learn from that and other people can see that they can learn from that as well.’

Perhaps that’s another reason why Lucy signed on as an ALIGNE brand ambassador – to bridge the gap between fashion and female sport, showcasing women off the pitch in the way male athletes have been celebrated for decades through fashion. One need only to think of David Beckham’s iconic ad campaigns in the ‘90s and ‘00s to see the imbalance, with gender inequality still rife in the world of sport. Is criticism for daring to stray out of her lane something she worries about?

lucy bronze for aligne 2024 spring summer campaign

Ellie Hemsley, courtesy of ALIGNE

lucy bronze for aligne 2024 spring summer campaign

Ellie Hemsley, courtesy of ALIGNE

‘I don’t think there’s a place for people to stay in their lane. Too many times we say ‘stay in your lane’ and we box people into different categories. I’m seen as a footballer, but if I want to try something new maybe there’s someone out there who might like what I wear and might see themselves in me. I might not be a high fashion expert, but maybe I can show other people, other females, that they don’t have to just be a footballer, or they don’t have to just do this, you can try new things and be brave.’

We haven’t been chatting for long, but Lucy presents such a clear picture of herself, her morals and ideals in everything she does and says that I feel like I really know her. Something ALIGNE Managing Director, Ginny Seymour, echoes.

‘Lucy represents everything I want ALIGNE to stand for. She is confident, strong, determined, kind, and unapologetic in her beliefs. She’s a role model on and off the pitch, and her impact and contribution to women’s sport is everlasting,’ she says of the brand’s decision to approach the professional footballer.

lucy bronze for aligne 2024 spring summer campaign

Ellie Hemsley, courtesy of ALIGNE

Forget playing in front of thousands at Wembley Stadium, Lucy can now be seen gracing billboards across the UK, including right around the corner from her grandma’s house in Northumberland.

‘ALIGNE asked me if there was anywhere specific I’d like to have a billboard to show my family and friends. I haven’t told my grandma [yet] but I told my auntie, I think she’s going to go and take loads of selfies with it every single day,’ she laughs.

Despite her numerous accolades in football, it’s evident this is a big and exciting step in a new direction for Lucy. From becoming the first female footballer to be nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2015, being named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2018 and 2020, winning the Silver Ball at the 2019 World Cup followed by becoming the first English footballer to win the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award that same year, to now fronting a fashion campaign – the first brand ambassador to be the face of ALIGNE.

Yet another first on her long list of achievements, with just as much impact as the others for all the little girls who look up to her.

ALIGNE’s spring summer collection, as worn by Lucy, is available to shop now at aligne.co. The full range is stocked in sizes 6-22.


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