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From Adversity to Elegance: Female Athletes’ Journey for a Place in the Fashion World

6 November 2023
par Noëlla Ndzamba

The epicenter of fashion and sports has witnessed an exciting fusion over the years, turning footballers into captivating icons for top luxury houses. Names like Kylian Mbappé with Dior, Lionel Messi proudly sporting the Louis Vuitton logo, and Karim Benzema in collaboration with Fendi’s Faster sneakers exemplify this successful union.

©Dior
©Fendi

However, within this social media and advertising sensation, we must ask a crucial question: Where are the female athletes? We have seen a disproportionate focus on male footballers, garnering the admiration of their millions of followers and leaving women in the shadows. The football community, traditionally dominated by men, has provided little space for women, and we absolutely need to address this.

In this landscape where the front rows of fashion week seem to be the kingdom of male footballers, women, despite being avid fashion consumers, are left behind. Our gaze scans the front row rows to catch a glimpse of footballers with Instagram accounts featuring numerous zeros and undeniable influence over their community. However, a question lingers: where are the women?

The sad reality is that women remain strangely absent from the fashion world within the football community. While they are regularly sought after to represent sportswear brands like Nike or Adidas and collaborate with personal care brands, access to the world of luxury is still largely denied to them. Why this exclusion? Is it because they have not yet gained the same influence as their male counterparts in the sports industry? This indifference and lack of interest are unacceptable and must be strongly challenged.


With this in mind, we have taken the initiative to launch a revolution in order to bridge the gap between the worlds of fashion and sports: the styling branch for female athletes. This bold initiative, initiated in 2021 by stylist Noëlla Ndzamba, found its resonance with a player from PSG Féminin, who signed her first professional contract with the club in July 2023. Océane Toussaint, a goalkeeper, became the pioneer of this movement.

“During our first meeting with Océane, her desire was to express her femininity off the field. She wanted to present herself differently outside the stadium. Océane explains: ‘I only wear tracksuits before, during, and after training. Moreover, being in boarding school, I rarely have the opportunity to wear regular clothes or express my feminine style.”

Women who choose to play football are often categorized as “tomboys.” They don’t always receive the same compliments or support from certain sponsors that male athletes in the same sport enjoy. It’s at this level that Noëlla decided to take the initiative to support underrepresented female athletes in the world of fashion, thus establishing a connection between fashion and women’s football.


Special mention to Megan Rapinoe, who paved the way by becoming one of the first icons from women’s football to be associated with a major luxury brand. In 2020, she became the face of Loewe, adding a touch of elegance and boldness to the world of luxury while pushing the boundaries of female representation.

However, the path to equity is fraught with obstacles. While Cristiano Ronaldo often accumulates advertising revenues that surpass what he earns on the field, the biggest stars of women’s football often have to settle for their athlete’s salary. An income that, by the way, is far from reaching the millions per year that their male counterparts earn. The world of soccer still has progress to make.

Nevertheless, the glimmer of hope is shining brighter than ever. Prada, for example, recently formalized its partnership with the Chinese women’s national football team in July 2023, marking a significant step forward in recognizing the talent and potential of female athletes.

@prada

Through these dice, we keep moving forward. Despite the challenges, we refuse to be discouraged. Injustices persist, especially in the overlooked discussion of their matches, even during the World Cup. It’s a larger battle that requires sustained vigilance.

To fulfill this mission, we organized a photo shoot with the photographer Frédéric De Pontcharra, a session filled with elegance and determination featuring Océane Toussaint, a player at Paris Saint-Germain. This experience allowed our athlete to step onto a different field, that of fashion. Discover the outcome of this immersion in images, embodying our absolute commitment to spotlight the talent, grace, and strength of female athletes.

This initiative provided Noëlla with a platform to express herself with a consuming passion, celebrating her favorite color, pink. Guided by the desire to showcase Océane’s femininity, she merged this vibrant hue with a bold streetwear touch, pairing an upcycled khaki cargo from the brand Outrage with a pair of Nike Dunk High Ambush Cosmic Fuchsia sneakers.


The Parisian setting, within a splendid Haussmannian apartment, brings an entirely unique dimension. This backdrop instantly transports the viewer into the world of fashion, breaking free from the restrictive boundaries of the football world. It’s an invitation to shatter conventions and redefine norms, evidence that sport and fashion have the power to come together in a passionate and harmonious dance.

In this captivating look, Noella continues her fruitful collaboration with the Outrage label. She chooses a Tie and Dye denim ensemble, subtly evoking summer hues. The harmony is striking, especially as this choice pairs perfectly with the Yeezy Foam Runner Sand shoes.


A natural charisma emanates from each photograph, every pose captured reflects the confidence of a seasoned model who has forged her path in the fashion world since her early days on the club training grounds. Each shot tells a story, merging the worlds of sports and fashion into an artistic expression that transcends boundaries. A graceful transformation that serves as a reminder that determination and talent can open unexpected doors, even in fields where women are underrepresented

A denim look embodies much more than just an outfit; it’s a true statement of self-assurance and self-awareness. This ensemble evokes genuine femininity and unwavering confidence. Every stitch, every texture of denim tells a unique story, woven with determination. It’s a tribute to the power of women, their ability to reinvent themselves while remaining true to themselves. A visual symphony where each note reminds us that fashion is a means to connect with one’s deep essence and boldly and proudly project that authenticity.

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