Jonny follows Becks into the world of fashion
Rugby star and hunk Jonny Wilkinson – who played for England in the Aviva on Saturday - has teamed up with his brother Mark to launch a fashion clothing brand.
He says that years of frustration with the look, feel and performance of fashion and sports clothing prompted the two brothers to launch 'Fineside’.
While the World Cup in New Zealand is his focus, he also has one eye on the future, post-2013, when his contract with French team Toulon ends and “real life” potentially begins.
Jonny, Fineside’s managing director, said he and his brother have been interested in fashion for some time and had been influenced by former sponsor Hackett, the men’s clothing label.
He said the pair had begun researching their plans four years ago and more recently gathered a team, which includes tailor Dan Devine, who used to work at Cruise, the men’s fashion chain, and Lucy Davis, a designer, to get the project off the ground.
Mr Devine said: “Fineside is taking elements from sports wear, performance wear and putting a real fashion stamp on it. That is what you don’t find on the high street.”
They have decided against building on the Wilkinson brand, unlike other famous sportsmen such as David Beckham.
Jonny said: “For me personally, it has been important that this has always been an aspiration of ours and although it has its basis in sport and we carry that in the functional side it is not about a short term feeding off the back of anything that has happened to me and my career of rugby. It is about creating something and branching into a new market that doesn’t leave itself contained in that [rugby] bracket and allows us to grow.”
He adds: “There has always been that move of 'Why don’t we sell some T-shirts for a couple of years with a number 10 on the back?’ but it does just not appeal to me.”