Highsnobiety

Not In Paris is back for its latest edition. Explore everything going down, from a packed events schedule to exclusive collaborations.

I’ve yet to ask David Bellion a single question when he starts firing them off in my direction: Where did I grow up? What football team do I support? How was my day? It’s midday, and though the 41-year-old former Manchester United striker and multi-talented creative is busy, his energy level is sky-high when he dials into our video call. Before I can glance at my pre-prepared questions or even record our interview, we’re trading stories about our childhoods and footballing opinions, deep in a free-flowing conversation sparked by Bellion being, in his own words, compulsively curious.

The long list of tasks on his plate at the moment includes: styling a film about ballet, preparing two campaigns for different clients, pulling clothes for footballer Ryan Babel (signed to one of Bellion’s two agencies) to wear during fashion week, and preparing the release of Red Star F.C.’s next jersey. Not to mention his other responsibilities as the co-founder of a magazine, co-founder of a culinary agency, a creative consultant… I could go on.

Today though, we’re here to talk about one thing: Red Star F.C., the team that, since 2016, he has been the creative director of and that Highsnobiety just released a collaboration with

The Red Star x Highsnobiety collection, available to shop now.
Highsnobiety, Highsnobiety

Red Star is not a typical football team. If it was, Bellion would not be working there. 

The oldest club in Paris, it isn’t cash-rich, especially when compared to its money-guzzling neighbors, PSG, however, it has a lot to offer: “I very rarely go to PSG games – it’s too expensive and too corporate today – but Red Star games are always fun,” one review on the travel app Spotted by Locals reads.

With a leadership team tapped into the worlds of art and fashion, strong political values, and a dedicated community of fans (“they sing from beginning to the end [of a game],” says Bellion), Red Star is distinguishable not just from other clubs in Paris, but worldwide. 

Bellion learned of the club's unique charm when he met Red Star’s Club president, Patrice Haddad, during Paris Fashion Week. Haddad, a filmmaker who founded an advertising and production agency in the ‘80s, clearly appreciated fashion and the arts as much as Bellion. The two spoke about everything but football — a conversation that sparked the move Bellion would later make to the club in 2014. “It was against all the odds,” he says, because it meant dropping from the first tier of French football to the third tier. He knew the transfer would mean never playing at the highest level of football again, and a considerable drop in pay. Bellion sold some property to facilitate the move, but that hardly fazed him. Red Star had something that teams at the top of the footballing pyramid didn’t: a creative, fashion-forward mindset. 

Bellion was always a footballer with great style: “In 2001, I was wearing Dries Van Noten, Cavalli, Comme des Garçons, and Yohji Yamamoto in the north of England! I knew that I had my own style and it was my personality,” he previously told Highsnobiety. But, after a successful career, playing at Manchester United, Bordeaux, and Nice, he was eager to use his creativity more.

Fashion is important to footballers (hence why being a personal shopper to footballers is very big business). However, when Bellion starts talking about Diana Vreeland, Grace Coddington, Richard Avedon, and Diane Arbus, I realize that his fashion knowledge goes deeper than most (if not any) footballers. In fact, he knows more about fashion history than I did fresh out of a fashion degree.

After playing two seasons for Red Star, gaining promotion in the first, Bellion was hired as the club’s creative director in 2016 (a move ahead of its time: it took until 2023 for an English Premier League club to hire a creative director). Finally, Bellion could put into practice everything he'd learned from studying fashion magazines and documentaries.

One of his first decisions in the role was getting DJs Good Dirty Sound and Hotel Radio to play on match days. Then, another big moment came with the release of the 2017/18 jersey, stocked exclusively in two of Paris’ biggest boutiques: The Broken Arm and Colette. Long before high fashion labels were obsessed with football, Red Star’s jerseys were stocked alongside Prada and Maison Margiela.

“If one day we make an archive book starting from 2016 and you look at the things [we’ve done] you would think, ‘Wow, they’re completely crazy in that club,’” says Bellion. Inside that book, its many collaborative jerseys would undoubtedly be featured: streetwear label Daily Paper added a removable badge reading "refugees welcome" on its kit for the 21/22 season, Amsterdam-based fashion label Lack of Guidance went from being inspired by football kits to creating official ones, and London-based design studio Acid FC brought historic Toile de Jouy patterns to performance gear (Bellion says the latter is “probably the most beautiful jersey we've ever done”).

It only takes one look at the brands that Red Star has collaborated with to know that it’s a stylish football club. However, it’s also much more: “Using aesthetic, superficial campaigns with the jerseys, we try [explore] deeper subjects,” says Bellion. The creative director consistently gets young musicians, designers, photographers, or directors involved with its creative endeavors, many of whom use Red Star as a springboard for big success. And this is the part of Bellion’s job that gets him really excited: supporting a new generation of creatives.

“The beauty of the club is that it is trying to push the youth into fields that they're not really used to,” says Bellion. The best example of this is the Red Star Lab, a project for the local youth that includes everything from classes on how to make football boots (run by an ex-Berluti shoemaker) to speech eloquence workshops. 

At a time when football is more commercialized than ever and slowly being taken away from its working-class roots, Bellion is ensuring Red Star serves its community in Saint-Ouen, a suburb on the Northern outskirts of Paris that the television network France 24 recently described as “Paris' grittiest suburb.”

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This is a club with a big heart, something that’s woven into its fabric and traceable to its co-founder Jules Rimet (yes, the Jules Rimet who helped found the World Cup) the son of a grocer who made sure Red Star didn’t discriminate based on class, a rarity for sports clubs at the time. Beyond the flashy campaigns, fashion collaborations, and art projects, Bellion and Red Star’s true purpose is helping to uplift its community.

Shop Red Star x Highsnobiety Here

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