Kenny Annan-Jonathan Makes History As First-Ever Creative Director For Soccer Club Crystal Palace
According to Forbes Africa, Kenny Annan-Jonathan was named the first-ever creative director for English Premier League football club, Crystal Palace, in August.
Annan-Jonathan will oversee the clothing designs and partnerships with players and fashion designers. His first assignment is to facilitate a collection for the 2023-2024 Premier League season.
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His historic appointment puts him in the company of other creatives whom major teams have called upon to help build on the ever-growing relationship between sports’ most famous players and the fashion world.
“Before I became the creative director for Crystal Palace, I had emails that were sent to the owner of Crystal Palace saying, I believe there was a space for a creative director here, and this is before anyone started thinking about it,” he explained. “Especially when it comes to fashion, it’s about having your finger on the pulse, and when it comes to a conversation about who the athletes are, naturally fashion comes into that because that is a way of them expressing who they are. So, I just said if these two things are colliding, in the future, you can naturally see a road map to see that fashion is going to be incorporated into sports a lot more.”
The South-London-born creative plans to bring the same insight to the popular football club.
“My role is to come in, look at the company as a whole, and say, ‘How do we continue to expand what is going on and where do we miss the mark when it comes to reaching our audiences?'”
“My first point of what I need to do is product and merchandise, so apparel and what they sell in the merch store. The reason I say we need to start there is about building [a] community, and apparel is a good way of building [a] community.”
In 2017, when the Ghanaian-British entrepreneur launched his bespoke sports marketing agency, The Mailroom, he sought to bridge the gap between athletes and traditional and non-traditional collaborations.
After building a successful clothing line alongside Crystal Palace player Wilfred Zaha, Annan-Jonathan noticed a large market gap for those with fashion experience to help guide athletes into a world that often undervalues their influence.
“I would go with him to his business meetings to leverage the clothing brand that we had. I realized there wasn’t a lot of people around at the time that were helping him within the business space, and he was going in on his own. I advised him during those meetings, and I earned his trust, and he became my first client,” Annan-Jonathan said.