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“Football has always been about tradition,” Thom Browne told Highsnobiety as the future CFDA chairman launched his annual collection dedicated to the uniquely American sport. Now, Browne’s 4-Bar sack jackets and polo shirts are the tradition, the tangible aspect of a yearly event that Browne hosts every fall.

Things get a bit more personal for Browne this season, as the football festivities spread to the University of Notre Dame, Browne’s alma matter.

Not that Browne needed ample reason to revisit the campus that shaped his career but it doesn’t hurt that he was just named Notre Dame’s 2023 artist-in-residence.

“My time at the University of Notre Dame continues to inform my daily approach to life and design,” Browne said. “There I was able to develop a sense of rigor and discipline through sport and academics that stays with me every day.”

The campaign that debuts Browne’s latest football capsule is shot on real Notre Dame students as they played in the University’s annual football game on October 26, surrounded by the bounty of autumn.

It makes everything more real but it also underscores the point of Browne’s football collections.

To get in on the action, students had to submit a short video exploring their desire to join the game, and were then cast as “spectators,” “cheerleaders,” or “players” and dressed accordingly to forge friendships with fellow pupils.

It’s an evolution of previous Thom Browne football games, which featured his friends, peers, and staff, but the attitude is the same: inclusion in the name of a good time.

“Something that started many years ago with my family that has evolved into something bigger,” continued Browne. “The football collections are there to bring everyone together and complement these moments.”

Browne may be the master of spectacle but he also comprehends the potency of an intimate gathering between friends old and new, all bonding over a warmly competitive game of American football.