Meet Maï Jarach, the 19-year-old fashion designer transforming old football shirts into corsets

Football's influence on fashion stripped down as shirts turned into corsets
Football's influence on fashion stripped down as shirts turned into corsets   -   Copyright  Credit: madeinmai (IG)   -  
By Theo Farrant  & AFP

Football and fashion have never been closer than they are right now.

In recent years the fashion industry has passionately embraced the influence of the beautiful game - and vice versa. 

Take Liverpool superstar Mo Salah's cover for GQ earlier this year for example, or Arsenal's Héctor Bellerín who walked the runway for Louis Vuitton in 2019. 

The designs of the shirts you see worn on match days are now also being picked up by designer and streetwear brands, for example in the 2022 collaboration between London-based skater brand Palace and Italian-luxury fashion house Gucci, which consisted of three football jerseys.

It's clear that football shirts have never been more fashionable. And one young French designer is determined to have her own ethical and sustainable football shirt concept be seen. 

19-year-old Maï Jarach is giving a second life to old football shirts by transforming them into unique, one of a kind corsets. 

From her bedroom turned makeshift workshop in the Paris suburbs, she stores her large collection of well worn football kits which she collects from second-hand shops, friends and even her local Les Lilas football club. 

"I do everything on my own, from collecting the shirts to designing and sewing", smiles Maï Jarach, taking out her favourite design from the closet, the one cut from an FC Barcelona shirt. 

She prides her designs on being completely up-cycled, sustainable and gender neutral. 

Just in time for the World Cup

AFP
Young designer Maï Jarach using a sewing machine to make one of her designsAFP

Originally, Jarach developed the project as a way to stand out to the fashion school she aspired to join, Studio Berçot, based in Paris. 

Football also runs through the veins of her family - her father is a lifelong River Plate FC fan, one of the giants of Argentinian football, and her little sister, Luz, plays for Paris Saint-Germain under 15s team. 

Over the summer, the young designer created eleven corsets and set up her own brand, 'MAI:'. She now posts regularly on her Instagram page 'madeinmai', where her designs are modelled by her friends. 

As the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar approaches, Jarach has upped the production of her football corsets, and has even picked up the attention of a designer Parisian brand. 

Maï was spotted by Youssouf Fofana, the artistic director of Maison Château Rouge (MCR), who met her one day when she was wearing one of her corsets.

Fofana has offered to sell her work next month, when they open a new store in Boulevard Barbès during in the middle of the World Cup.  

"It's the first time I've made money," laughs Maï, who sells each corset for €120.

"The collaboration with Maison Château Rouge relieves me of the pressure of finding a point of sale", she continues, but in the future she will have to think about how to market her work, "probably by pre-orders, since this are unique pieces."

Check out the video above to see how Maï Jarach makes her custom football corsets.

Video editor • Theo Farrant