06 Mar 2024

Kane Takes Aim In The Fashion Game

Harry Kane’s performances on the football pitch have seen him become one of the world’s biggest and most well-known sports stars. England captain and his country’s all-time leading goal scorer, he’s now banging them in for fun in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich after becoming the most expensive signing in the league’s history with his €110 million transfer from Tottenham Hotspur last summer. 

Like many footballers, he’s also pretty handy on the golf course and has set his sights on becoming a bona fide game-changer in the world of sustainable apparel after investing in Dubai-born clothing brand Reflo. The forward-thinking company uses recycled plastic and discarded coffee beans to make gear that, aside from being environmentally friendly, actually looks the business and can go toe-to-toe in the performance stakes with the best sports clothing in the market.  

It all started at a celebrity golf event in the summer of 2022… 

“It was at the Icons Series, which is a Ryder Cup style tournament for sports stars with a Rest of the World team vs the USA out in New York. We were wearing Reflo gear for it and I met the co-founder Rory out there,” says Kane, who currently plays off three, which is a ‘slide’ in a handicap that once reached the lofty heights of plus-two – the 30-year-old citing a lack of golf during the frosty Munich winter in mitigation.

“We got talking about the brand and I really liked the clothing so I spoke to my brother Charlie, who is my manager, and wanted to find out more about it. We kept in touch and the relationship grew from there. Rory and I chatted about what Reflo were doing and what they wanted to achieve and it just seemed like a really good fit.”

The co-founder Kane mentions is 35-year-old Dubai-based golf nut Rory MacFayden who set out on his journey to create an apparel brand that is both sustainable and high-performance by launching Reflo in November 2021. Having worked in the sports and entertainment industry, he’d long harboured an ambition to start a sustainability-focused golf apparel brand and felt, with his connections, he might have a good chance of getting some decent names to wear the clothing and help promote it. It’s fair to say that the idea of working with a sporting behemoth of Kane’s calibre and profile wasn’t on the Englishman’s radar at that stage. 

“When he was wearing it at the Icons Series and said, “I love this apparel, it’s really good” – that alone would have been a ‘wow moment’ and something to be amazed by,” says MacFayden with a smile. “But the fact that his team then reached out and said that they wanted to be involved in the brand was humbling to say the least. 

“It’s amazing to have him on board, we’ve got a lot planned with him over the next few years. He’s not just a brand ambassador, he’s truly part of Team Reflo.” 

The company describe their golf clothing as ‘sustainable performance wear’ and while many brands are jumping on the eco-bandwagon at the moment, Reflo actually walks the walk.

Their apparel is predominantly made from recycled polyester, derived from single-use plastic waste destined for landfill which results in its fabrics using 50% less energy and producing 70% less carbon than virgin polyester, requiring no new oil. But there’s more to it than just the fabrics they use. 

Environmental Impact

“Sustainability is being used more and more as a marketing tool by brands but for us, it’s our North Star,” says MacFayden. “We genuinely make every decision around what is the most sustainable option within the business. We do lots of stuff that people will never see, planting a tree for every product sold, carbon offsetting our workforce by supporting sustainable energy projects, having no single use plastics anywhere in our packaging, recycling old samples into golf club head covers. I could go on! 

“There are lots of things we do and for us it’s about making a sustainable choice at every step rather than using sustainability as a marketing tool which we see some of the big brands do.”

Kane adds: “Whenever I’m investing in brands, I always look at what they’re trying to achieve, what it’s going to look like in the future. Being a dad of four children now I’m looking at their future and what the world is going to be like when they’re older. 

“If I’m being honest, I’m still new to sustainability and I’m learning more about it by partnering with Reflo. It fits well with my values and where I want to see the world go. Even if it’s just little changes it can make a big difference. I want to have an input in the company and hopefully grow with the company. Having the investment, it’s exciting for me to try to push the brand from my side as much as possible. Obviously, there’s a long way to go still but I think it’s an exciting challenge for both parties. 

“To have each other’s opinions and feedback and talk about where we want to go and I’m excited to be part of that journey.” 

Kane has been playing golf for most of his life

Kane first picked up a set of clubs when he was around six years old after his dad took him to the local course in his hometown of Chingford in East London. But it was when he was around 17 that his love affair with golf truly kicked in after he spent a summer playing every day and got his handicap down from 18 to 10. As his obsession grew, he played every chance he got, becoming a member at the prestigious Wentworth Club and eventually getting down to scratch and then pushing on further to reach plus-two for a period.  

His sporting profile means he gets to have more ‘bucket-list’ golfing experiences than the average Joe. At the Icons Series he lined up in a team captained by Ernie Els alongside the likes of former tennis World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam winner Ash Barty, boxing pound-for-pound champion Canelo Alvarez and Australian cricket colossus Ricky Ponting. His opponents on the USA team captained by Fred Couples included Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, NFL Hall of Famer and Super Bowl champion Michael Strahan and two-time NBA champion J.R. Smith. 

He played Augusta the day after Scottie Scheffler won the 2022 Masters. He’s even achieved pretty much every amateur golfer’s dream by playing with Tiger. 

But he doesn’t see himself following in the footsteps of Lee Sharpe and Andriy Shevchenko by turning pro once his football career is over.  

“I’d never say never in life but I think the pro golfers are next level,” he says. “The time they put in, the commitment they put in is next level. I’ve been lucky enough to play with some of the pros and it’s just a different game for them. So, I think it’s highly unlikely as they’re a different level to me. 

“My game is average at the moment! I haven’t been able to play that much since I moved to Munich. I got out for one round with Thomas Müller early on when the weather was a bit better but since the weather turned, I haven’t really been able to play. I can still hit it okay but I’m not playing too well at the moment. 

“I do think with the right mindset and the right belief you can achieve what you want to achieve in life. When I was young, I definitely wasn’t the best footballer there was but I worked really hard and showed a lot of self-belief and resilience and became what I am now. 

“If that had been with a golf ball instead of a football maybe I’d have been able to make it as a golfer but I think with any elite sport sometimes you under appreciate how much work and how much practice goes into it. To just all of sudden become a pro golfer would take hours and hours of hard work and dedication which obviously I haven’t got right now. But when you see these guys in the flesh hitting balls, how consistent they are. It’s great to watch.”

For now, Kane’s main focus is on the pitch, where he’s scored an eye-watering 387 goals for club and country to date, including his latest feat of becoming the fastest player in Bundesliga history to reach 25 goals in a season, hitting the milestone in just 22 games. 

Kane made the switch the Bundesliga last summer

His football talent has seen him become one of the most recognisable sports stars on the planet and it’s that global profile that he hopes will be one of his key contributions to Reflo’s growth.  

“I think that’s where I can help the business,” says Kane who has 16.7 million followers on Instagram alone. “With football being so big around the world, I’m sure I’ve got a few fans who appreciate what I do. They’ll be watching, looking at what I’m wearing, what I’m doing. Hopefully we can get them to be part of it as well. Hopefully that’s where I come in, to help push Reflo around the world and get eyes on it and hopefully that helps sell some product!”

For such a young company, Reflo have already made impressive progress. Aside from kitting out a plethora of sporting legends at the Icons Series, they recently designed an exclusive collection for the PGA Tour’s notorious Waste Management Phoenix Open, which completely sold out, and South African two-time DP World Tour winner Ockie Strydom is a brand ambassador. 

But MacFayden hopes their new big signing will be the catalyst to them achieving their lofty ambitions.

“We’ve achieved so much in the two years since our launch, and it is an incredibly exciting time for us to welcome Harry into the Reflo family,” he says. “We can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve got in store as we continue our mission to become the most sustainable performance wear brand in the world.

“Harry is definitely a key part in achieving our ambitions. He’s one of the most performance driven people you’ll ever meet. He’s driven by excellence and that ethos is something we have as well so we’re perfectly aligned in that thinking. We’re a performance wear brand and he is the epitome of high performance. 

Brand Growth

“In basic terms, he really helps us push the brand out far and wide to people who will probably never have heard of us before. As an investor in the brand, he’s keen to help us grow in every way he can and support the brand wherever he can. Keeping on evolving the products, taking it to the next level, he wants to be involved every step of the way. It’s a really exciting future and its brilliant we can now say he’s one of our business partners.”

By his own admission, it was hard work, belief and ambition above all that were the key factors in Kane’s rise to the top in football and he’s set on bringing that same mentally to the boardroom table at Reflo. 

“We want to be one of the biggest golf brands out there,” he says. “That’s the aim, we want to be as good as any competitor on the market. The sky’s the limit, I don’t think there’s a ceiling on what we want to achieve. We’re doing as much as possible to be the best and seeing how far that takes us. 

“We’re still relatively early on the journey and there’s a lot of good things ahead, a lot of great products and things we want to do. I guess time will tell but I know with the people behind it, and the work ethic, and the way we’ve come so far in a short period, there’s definitely a chance to really push into the top of that market.” 

Kane’s venture into sustainable golf apparel with Reflo marks not only a personal investment but a commitment to a greener, more eco-conscious future. From his prolific feats on the football field to his obsessive pursuit of golfing prowess, the skilled marksman’s journey embodies dedication, ambition, and now, sustainability. Teaming up with Reflo means not just a partnership but a shared vision of excellence. 

As he continues to inspire football fans around the world with his performance-focussed mindset, Kane’s foray into sustainable fashion amplifies the message that success isn’t just about scoring goals or sinking putts —it’s about making a positive impact, one recycled thread at a time.  γ

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