Looking to bridge the gap between sport and lifestyle since his early playing days, Edgar Davids is a man who has always been ahead of the game. A pioneer of street soccer fashion, the Dutchman was one of the first to go against the convention of performance and lifestyle clothing being two separate entities, creating street soccer fashion label Monta Soccer in 1999.

A player who has lived and played in Milan, Barcelona, Amsterdam and London, he's culturally well-travelled and can look back on an influential career. Ahead of the Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg between Juventus and Ajax – two of Davids’ former teams – we caught up with the former Netherlands international to talk about what’s influenced him and his approach to style as well as whose style he has admired in the past.

Edgar, at what point in your life did style and fashion become an interest for you?

It’s always been with me. Street soccer has always been about fashion. It was two very different worlds back when I was playing where you’d have expensive shoes, expensive denim and then performance wear as two different things. That’s where streetwear has solved a problem and I like the ability to mix up various things to create something new.

Davids 4-min.jpg
Davids 6-min.jpg

You created Monta Soccer in 1999 – way ahead of anything else like it. What was the thinking behind it?

I created the brand Monta because I felt that back in the day, our styles and options were limited. All we had was a tracksuit on that was made to look like you were ready to go to the gym. There wasn’t really a lifestyle consideration for products like that at the time and I really wanted to change that.

How was it received as a brand back then?

The funny thing about it at the time is that people who came into the store didn’t have a clue what they were buying or looking at. I remember people saying “is this lifestyle, or is this sport?” They were not selling because people didn’t know what category it fit into. It was years ahead as now you see this on/off pitch world booming.

Were you aware of the burgeoning trend and crossover between football and fashion when you were playing?

For as long as I can remember football has always had this element around it where everyone wants to look good and play good and help create part of the show. I think style is a lot about attitude. I always looked and respected those people who expressed themselves through what they wore.

Which figures across the years (celebrities/designers) have you been influenced by?

I can’t say I was influenced by too many people because for me it was all about my own attitude and my own mentality. It doesn’t have to be big brands to make someone fashionable. I liked when people like Rick Owens started because of the type of quality and individual style he brought to it.

Davids 8-min.jpg

You were involved in streetwear before the scene exploded, how did you get into this way of dressing?

The thing is, you want to express yourself in a certain way. It’s the same as when you’re on the pitch playing and you have your own certain style of play. For me, when I was playing, you had to have a certain level of style. You couldn’t dress like a bum but I wanted to create somewhere between on and off pitch style. I feel with Monta, we were one of the first brands to have that vision.

You’ve played with some talented players over the years, but which player or players styles stand out to you as the best?

I loved the way people like Zidane dressed. It was very calm and grounded but there would always be one or two pieces he threw into it that just set him apart. That is characteristic of him. This super talent that just has something else to who he is that makes him different. That was reflected in his boots. He’d have a strong look all over but then his boots had some noise. It was a good style.

With football and fashion mixing so much now, do you wish you were a player in today’s game?

Nowadays I would have a ball. You know, everyone would go into the dressing room in a certain way when I was playing. It was very uniform. Now you see that everybody is taking notice as to what a player is wearing because of social media so players are expressing themselves a lot more. I would have a ball [laughs].