The former buyer of Farfetch is also a lifelong Arsenal fan and has setup his team with the motto of "Football with Purpose". He talked to us about how technology has forced changes in the fashion industry, his passion for football and his hopes for the side going forward.
Corinthian: So Reece, how would you describe your role at the moment and what brought you into the industry in the first place?
Reece Crisp: My new role is Head of Buying, Creative & Styling at LN-CC, so I look after a number of aspects. I am very fortunate to have this diverse role, and am super excited to take on the challenge.
I originally got into buying on work experience back when I was in secondary school. I was interested in retail, so went to experience the shop floor at a local store. I loved it from the get go, and from there looked to explore how to make a career out of it.
C: Currently, online platforms like Farfetch are hugely successful while the traditional department stores are struggling. What would you say has been the biggest changes you’ve seen over the last 10 years, and what are the shifts you expect to come?
RC: Technology has had a huge impact on retail over the past 10 years. Consumers can now shop anywhere, anytime, on their mobile phones. The market now is all about access, and how quickly you can provide it. As a result, physical stores have been effected, and if they do not change, they will be further effected by the growth online.
Physical stores need to focus on experience, and give a reason for their customers to make the effort and visit the space. This is what we at LN-CC are looking to do over the next 12 months. Source unique product for our customers to enjoy in an environment that inspires them.
C: You’re an Arsenal fan, right? Is there a bit of inter-office or even inter-retailer banter between the buyers in town? Darren Skey, your previous boss at Harvey Nichols, is a big Hammers fan…
RC: Yes, I’m a gooner. There is always banter when you’re an Arsenal fan, it’s relentless.
C: Quick thoughts on Arsenal’s results this season?
RC: Disappointing, abject, frustrating. Same old. The squad isn’t good enough, and the recruitment in the summer was poor.
10 years of hurt, and I cannot see it changing anytime soon. We haven’t recovered from losing David Dein, and the move to the Emirates.
I could go on…
C: Football and Fashion have always had an interesting relationship haven’t they...
RC: They have, and it’s interesting to see more recently how football is becoming high fashion. There have always been trends and cultures on the terraces, but more recently, with the rise of sportswear in the luxury arena, football shirts have become a source of inspiration for top designers.
Brands such as Gosha Rubchinksky and his collaboration with the Adidas Football division, have provided us with kit on the catwalk. We’ve also seen footballers become part of this movement with ranges such as Paul Pogba’s for Adidas being stocked in top retailers and concept stores.
One of the top brands fusing fashion and football right now is Nowhere FC. Check them out…
C: Did you always play football as a kid? What position do you play and who was your idol growing up?
RC: I did, I have always played. It something I need. I think I joined my first team at 6, and has played ever since. Saturday is for football.
I play upfront, well I say I’m a 10, but I’ve had most success when I’m the main striker.
My idol growing up was Ian Wright, what a legend. An amazing finisher and great character. I was also a big fan Dennis Bergkamp, and of course Thierry Henry, who I think is the best player we’ve had in the Premier League.
C: And outside work, of course, you were one of the driving forces behind Sloane FC and now, as of this season, Altis FC. Can you tell us a little more about that?
RC: ALTIS FC (formerly SLOANE FC) started 10 years ago with a handful of Alumni from The University of Arts London. Having graduated at the same time, a few of the lads were looking for a club to join, but we ended up starting our own. Playing in Middlesex County Football League, and played as high as step 7, we won a league and cup double in 2014/15.
A passion project that has developed over the years, is now an integral part of my life.
C: Altis FC’s motto is “Football with Purpose”. What does that mean to you?
RC: We believe that high-level football has become detached from those that love it. Money has taken over. And usually it’s the fans who pay the bill.
Grassroots football is the antidote to all this. It is the beautiful game because it’s still about the game. With some of our players having played men’s football for nearly two decades, it was clear to us that we needed to give something back to the sport that’s given us so much joy - to restore some sparkle and to help broaden its horizons, rather than sit back and watch them shrink.
C: We, at Corinthian 1882, obviously believe in the Corinthian Spirit, that quintessentially British notion of Gentlemanly fair play. Is that something you champion at Altis FC, both on and off the pitch?
RC: We do, and our collaborations are a way of us evolving and developing this aspect of the club.
Our core mission for Altis FC is Football with Purpose, it is about making it more than just a kick around with your mates, or trying to climb the pyramid of grassroots football to get to the highest level. Our satisfaction comes from supporting up and coming projects, and highlighting the difference they can make, locally and globally.
Our partnership with ‘Football Beyond Borders’ has made a great start. We raised over £2,000, cycling 100km on its London Stadium Cycle Challenge in September. The money raised will help putting 18 children through their programme in 2018.
We have also teamed up with ‘Park Social Soccer Co’ as our official ball provider for the 2017/2018 season, and will be ambassadors here in the UK to promote their Pass-a-Ball initiative. Where every ball purchased sees another given to someone else who needs it in disadvantaged areas.
C: And what is your ambition for Altis FC – tell us the grand vision that you only dare whisper into the wind.
RC: Football wise, it’s about enjoying it. We fortunately have some great players, so can be successful, but it’s more about enjoying the game, and being part of something that is more than 90 minutes on a Saturday.
C: And for anyone reading this, how can they help make that vision a reality?
RC: We just successfully raised over £8,000 via Crowdfunder, but are still looking for more support to further develop the club and the ‘Football with Purpose’ movement. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.