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Interview with Rio Ferdinand

Lynda Moyo talks to the England captain about his new boots, holiday hotpants, boredom and lookalikes...

Written by . Published on October 25th 2010.

Interview with Rio Ferdinand

As if being England captain wasn’t enough, Rio Ferdinand has launched his collection of boots - Five by Rio Ferdinand - at Selfridges this week.

I think a lot of the problems you see in football outside of the game are related to boredom, too much spare time and too much money. Why not do something that’s going to occupy a bit of your time and be a hobby on the side rather than going out, being open to boredom and getting into trouble?

The range has arrived amid a week of tabloid scandal concerning team mate Wayne Rooney, a bad review of his restaurant, Rosso and reports that his wife is pregnant with their third child. Rio refused to comment on any of these matters, instead preferring to stick to talking about his business empire which so far includes a restaurant, a record label and a magazine.

Now he wants us to walk in his shoes. You might say he’s doing too much, but Rio’s extracurricular activity might be something troubled footballers should take heed from...

LM: Was this your idea then?

RF: I was approached. I said I’d have a look and we’d take it from there. Now, here we are today.

LM: Did you decide to do this simply because you enjoy fashion or is this part of a bigger business plan for when you’ve retired from football?

RF: A bit of both. I think a lot of the problems you see in football outside of the game are related to boredom, too much spare time and too much money. Why not do something that’s going to occupy a bit of your time and be a hobby on the side rather than going out, being open to boredom and getting into trouble.

LM: How much involvement did you have with the design process?

RF: When I first got approached I said I didn’t want to be involved if I didn’t get a say in what happens. I also didn’t want it to infringe on my football but obviously as a footballer I do have a lot of spare time. They emailed me pictures of different designs and that went back and forth a few times. I said if I didn’t like something then it wouldn’t go out. I’m happy with everything in the range and there’s nothing I wouldn’t wear.

LM: What’s your favourite piece from the collection?

RF: The Rocco and the Rhys that I’m wearing now.

LM: Football, music, restaurant, magazine and now fashion. You’re a jack of all trades. Have you got more projects planned or are you going to keep the focus on fashion (and football of course)?

RF: (Laughs) I think I’m alright now. Hopefully this will go well. If something else crops up that I’m interested in and it’s not going to infringe on my football time then I might consider it. That’s the thing I always stress to the people who look after me; that it can’t interfere with football. At the moment I’m spending more time on the training ground than I ever have done in my life so I don’t want to stop that.

LM: Would you like to expand the range into a full menswear collection?

RF: I’d like to let it grow organically. If there’s a desire or need for it to go into more fashion then we’ll maybe look into that. But at the moment I’m happy with this.

LM: The press went wild with that photo of you wearing hot pants on holiday. Are you considering designing some beachwear? It would probably be a good seller.

RF: (Laughs) Can I just clear that up? I was on my stag do and I agreed to doing some things on the day that I couldn’t say no to and that was one of the things. That wasn’t one of my own designs; they went searching for the worst possible shorts and they done well.

When Moyo met Rio

It was for a laugh innit? I weren’t trying to be stylish or bring out a new trend. I don’t wear shorts like that, but on that one occasion I had to do it for my mates.

LM: In that case, how would you describe your own fashion style?

RF: (He thinks a moment) Definitely individual...I dunno, I mix it up though. Some days I’m quite classic and clean cut with a suit and other days I’ll wear a tracksuit or a pair of jeans. Most of the time I’m smart/casual but I’m not into big names and branded clothes. I like my stuff to be understated. Yeah, understated...that’s my style.

LM: Do you think the price point of your range (Rio’s boots range from £120 - £200) shows how far removed from the average fan football has become? Football is, after all, looked upon as a working class street sport.

RF: I think fans will be able to afford it. There are a few pairs in there that are definitely affordable. Next season’s price points are lower than these ones so I think they’ll be more in-keeping again. But in this range there’s leather boots and stuff so there a mid-range. I think the consumers in the shops we’ve sold them in have said they’re a good price point for people. Obviously it will alienate a couple of people who won’t be able to afford them, but hopefully we can get to as many people as possible.

LM: JLS have been wearing lots of your collection. If you could get one man in the world to wear your shoes, who would it be?

RF: As many people as possible really. A lot of people I know have been like ‘where’s mine, where’s mine?’ so I’m in the process of sending them out to loads of my mates. A lot of the guys in the changing rooms have been speaking about wanting a pair too.

Of course it’s nice to see celebrities and people in the public eye wearing them but it’s better if I’m driving in my car and I see a fella who I don’t know walking around in a pair of my shoes. That gives me a sense of satisfaction.

Rocco boot - £150

LM: True, but surely it’d be the icing on the cake to see perhaps someone like President Obama wearing a pair?

RF: Obama? We’ll see. If he wants a pair, he knows where I am.

(Laughs) I’m joking, of course. Jude Law, Russell Brand, Hugh Grant and Noel Gallagher are all getting a pair. And who’s the geezer out of Harry Potter?

LM: Daniel Radcliffe?

RF: Yeah, he bought a pair the other day.

LM: Finally, my brother was actually your body double in a TV advert a while ago. They needed someone with similar arms to you.

RF: Did he? I hope he’s got big arms then.

LM: He does look a bit like you actually. He really enjoyed it and would like to do more lookalike work. What’s your tip for lookalikes who want to perfect the ‘Rio’ look?

RF: Bloody hell. I’m an acquired look. I’m like marmite. I dunno, tell him to do some press ups and he’ll be alright.

Five by Rio Ferdinand is available at Selfridges. View the full collection at www.fivebyrioferdinand.com

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