As one of Australia’s top professional football players, Tim Cahill knows a thing or two about the spotlight.
However, the spotlight that he faced this week was rather different to the glare of the usual sports TV cameras – as this time he was showcasing his debut menswear brand, Cahill +, at New York Fashion Week.
FEMAIL spoke to the Shanghai-based striker-cum-designer to ask him about his two great loves.
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Debut designer: This week, professional soccer star Tim Cahill made his debut at New York Fashion Week
Exclusive chat: FEMAIL met the soccer-star-cum-menswear-designer to talk about life on and off the pitch
‘It was so amazing to show at New York Fashion Week,’ Tim tells Daily Mail Australia.
‘To think about where I was 12 months ago as someone who was nearly new to the fashion industry, I feel so proud to be able to represent Australia on this international platform.
‘It’s difficult because obviously I have had so many moments in football that I’m proud of, but this is definitely up there as one of my career highlights.’
While Tim has always been a fashion lover, this is the realisation of a long-term dream:
‘I’m a fashion geek,’ he says.
‘I’ve always been into clothes and am constantly reading magazines, searching the internet and snapping different fabrics in vintage stores,’ he continues.
Career topper: While Tim says he has had many career highlights on the pitch, NYFW is also a career moment
‘Fashion geek’: He describes himself as a ‘fashion geek’ and says he gets inspiration from Alexander Wang
Comfortable and a little funky: Tim describes his personal style as ‘comfortable, stylish and a little funky’
‘When I was sitting around a table with Giorgio Armani, Clive Owen, Adrien Brody and Josh Hartnett at a dinner in Milan a while back, all we were talking about is fashion and how great Armani’s suits are.
‘It’s clear to me that everyone wants to look good and everyone is into clothes at some level. It’s just that not everyone wants to pay too much money to look good.’
Describing his personal style as ‘comfortable, stylish and a little funky’, Tim says that he is ‘not looking to change the fashion game, but rather add my own flavour’:
‘Being a sportsman and a big fashion lover, I hope I have something slightly different to some of the other offerings, but I’m totally learning as I go. It’s been a great experience so far.’
Famous friends: As well as Giorgio Armani, Tim boasts famous fashion friends such as Ted Baker
Advice from experience: He often texts the famous designer for ‘critiques’ of his own clothes
Tim cites one of his major influences as Alexander Wang, while explaining that his own clothes are for ‘everyone’, and stay true to his ‘core thesis that people want to be comfortable, smart and have a bit of sports in their outfits’: ‘I’ve lived in London, Manchester, New York, Shanghai and also Sydney,’ he says.
‘And no matter what city you’re in everyone seems to dress down, and look casual – so it’s all about how you make casual look and the way you wear it.
‘I’ve been lucky in the past as I’ve crossed paths with big fashion designers and I’ve been able to give my five cents. They have helped in educating me a lot.’
Balancing act: Tim says for now he is enjoying his time in China – ‘it has been a great learning curve’
Mind on many things: When it comes to the World Cup in 2018, Tim says that now he will focus on qualifiers
As a personal friend of Giorgio Armani, Tim was closely aligned with the brand between 2006 and 2014, representing the Italian fashion house at shows in Milan as well as events around the world.
‘It was a pretty special time,’ Tim says.
‘I’ve got great respect for Giorgio Armani.’
But since becoming a designer in his own right, he has also had the chance to meet other household names such as Donna Karan and Ted Baker, who he regularly texts for ‘critiques of my work’.
Personal enrichment: The 36-year-old describes his time in China as beneficial ‘culturally’
‘I’ve got to think about the World Cup Qualifiers in March before I start thinking about representing Australia in the 2018 World Cup’
When it comes to the future, the 36-year-old Tim will not be pressed about finishing his football career in Australia, instead saying that he is carefully balancing his life between high fashion and professional football at the moment:
‘I can’t think too much ahead,’ he says.
‘I’ve just signed for a new club and I want to do well here first before I think about the end of my soccer career.
‘I’ve got to cast my mind towards the next World Cup Qualifiers in March as the first goal before I start thinking about representing Australia in the 2018 World Cup.
‘I’m having a great time here in China, I’m enjoying it and it’s been a great learning curve in this first year. I’m 36 now, so I’m enjoying mentoring as well as the new culture on and off the park. I’ve lived and breathed it for a year now – it’s been such a great experience for me personally.’
Shanghai excitement: He is excited for the upcoming Shanghai Fashion Weekshow, which will have a twist
Move with the times: He says you have to move with the times and stay in the game when it comes to fashion
With Shanghai Fashion Week just around the corner in April, the one thing Tim is certain of is that he is incredibly excited to show there:
‘I’ve got a bit of a twist lined up on the runway,’ he says, mischievously.
‘Rather than having models, there will be a twist – I can’t say any more, but the aim is to show that fashion is funky and exciting.’
In the meantime, Tim and his team will continue to work on the autumn/winter 2017 collection.
‘Fashion is cut throat,’ he says.
‘If I don’t move with the times and stay in the game it could be damaging.’