News & Opinion

Fashion designer Philipp Plein teams up with Floyd Mayweather, says boxer isn’t anti-gay

August 25, 2017

When he comes out of his two-year retirement and steps into the ring in Las Vegas tomorrow night to face MMA fighter Conor McGregor, Floyd “Money” Mayweather will be wearing a custom designed boxing robe and trunks by one of the world’s coolest fashion designers, Philipp Plein. The occasion will mark the forthcoming capsule collection between the two.

McGregor will be wearing a robe by Donatella Versace, if his Instagram is to be believed.

Thank you @donatella_versace for this amazing gift this morning 🙏

A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

The announcement of Mayweather’s junior middleweight fight attire and collaboration came after Mayweather apologized for calling McGregor a “faggot” last month at one of the duo’s bonkers press conferences, setting off a storm of criticism and condemnation.

“Punk, you faggot, you ho!” Mayweather had shouted at McGregor.

Afterward McGregor said: “I actually didn’t even hear that… [but] people are so touchy on words. It’s absolutely crazy.”

As part of his apology, given in a Yahoo Sports interview, Mayweather noted that Gregory had called black people “monkeys.” Their press tour to promote the bout was foulmouthed and ugly on both sides.

“There are certain boundaries you just don’t cross,” Mayweather said. “In the press tour when I said something toward lesbians or gays when I said something toward him. I apologized, but him calling us monkeys, you have to realize, we went through years and years of up and down. Black Americans went through a lot. But I’m a strong individual. We live and we learn and hopefully after Aug. 26, he won’t be speaking that same language.”

Plein has made a name for himself for outrageous and luxe-looking collisions of street and runway. In February he showed at New York Fashion Week for the first time, at an extravagant show held at the New York Public Library attended by the likes of Madonna and Kylie Jenner, with music provided by The Kills.

In an email interview with The Daily Beast, Plein said: “I know Floyd and I have no indication at all about any so-called homophobia. I think that comments can get blown out of proportion especially in the lead up to such a high-profile event. Floyd is a very kind and open-minded person, the idea that he has any serious prejudices doesn’t correspond to the person that I know.”

A reporter asked Plein that, had Mayweather not apologized, would the collaboration still be happening. Also, had he discussed the “faggot” controversy with Mayweather, and how did Plein feel about language like that, and the sentiment behind it?
Plein responded: “I am a fashion designer and as a male heterosexual, I am in the minority. Sexual orientation is not even an issue in my world so that kind of derogatory language doesn’t make any sense to me.”

(The Daily Beast has asked that he respond to the questions posed specifically, and will update this article if he does so.)

Mayweather also has a history of domestic battery and violence against women. How did Plein feel about this part of Mayweather’s past? Did it give him pause for thought when it came to collaborating with Mayweather? “I’m not Mayweather’s keeper,” Plein responded, “and I personally am not informed about these stories from the past. I know the man today as a calm and caring person. I am a fashion designer, our collaboration is based on our friendship and our mutual respect.”

As to where the idea for their collaboration came from, Plein told The Daily Beast: “I got the idea after meeting Floyd at my Resort ’18 show in Cannes. I prefer to get involved with the personalities who are associated with the brand, I don’t like one shot collaborations. Given Floyd’s taste and preference for unapologetic luxury and the fact that he was already a customer of the brand, I thought it would make sense to develop something together.”

They have known each other since Cannes: “We are getting to know each other more and more.” As to their business arrangement, “I feel that it takes time to build something interesting and worthwhile, certainly more than one season,” said Plein. “It is a multi-year agreement.”

A reporter asked Plein what he admired about Mayweather. “We both share a winning spirit and a tremendous joie de vivre. I am proud to be associated with a legend like Floyd and admire his fearlessness above all… Mayweather is in a class of his own, both as a boxer and as a role model.”