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Best left in the locker room?

Could Man City's blue shirts make a true fashion statement?

Football and fashion? What was once an unlikely coupling has become a reality ever since the fashion industry found a new heartthrob in a football player. Blame it on Beckham, the player who created a historic fashion statement by wearing a sarong and has gone on to become a trailblazing clothes horse. He joins several footballers in the model "superleague" who star in designer campaigns for Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Donatella Versace et cetera.

But let's be honest, the fashion interest has remained - until now - more off-the-field than on it. As for the strip, the guys have, perhaps sensibly, left all shirts, whether home or away, in the locker room. The closest football shirts have ever come to having a fashion moment was back in the 1980s when the trendy "Paninari" Italian fans slipped AC Milan shirts over El Charro jeans tucked into Timberland boots and under Moncler jackets and Invicta rucksacks.

Could Manchester City make sky blue the new black? "Wearing your colours on your sleeve is fine for a match but wearing it out at night is another matter," says Robert Johnston, of the men's fashion magazine, GQ. "What holds it back is the fabric. Canterbury, the New Zealand company that makes rugby kits, launched a fashion line that has been successful but the fabrics used aren't specific for sportswear."

The new Manchester City kit will come in the fashionable retro style, similar to shirts featured in this month's Football Punk fanzine. It will help their fashion cred if they were more tailored than the usually bulky styles. "A tight-fitting, cool kit would certainly grab my attention," reveals the British evening wear designer Jenny Packham, who recently opened her own boutique in Kuwait and admits, like most of the fashion community to having "no interest in football whatsoever."

"It's funny you should mention football strips," says Leigh Odimah, the founder of trendy and trailblazing fashion blog, stylecanteen.net "I walked past one of those cheap tourist stands in London the other day and saw a load of football shirts hanging up and thought these could take off in a fashion sense. "It's happened with the high-heeled trainer and the Man City strip is certainly easier on the eye," she adds.

"The sport trend is huge thanks to Stella McCartney but I still think you would have to change the fabric to make it appealing to other than eight-year-old boys. "You know what they say in fashion - never say never."

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