"I did a bit of research and decided to give it a go."
Sohail Rashid is now collaborating with his boyhood club Leeds United and his clothing brand has been worn by some of the top sporting stars.
As a student at Leeds Metropolitan University, he worked at the club shop.
But it was not until he was made redundant from his 19-year career as a mortgage manager that Sohail made a move into the fashion world.
Despite admitting he has “never been the most fashionable”, Sohail has quickly amassed a celebrity following and has seen his brand grow.
Sohail explained: “I worked for HSBC for 19 years, I was a mortgage advisor there and a manager for a long time.
“When Covid came around all of that changed and I was made redundant.
“I’d never really thought about doing something on the side before but that really gave me a push to explore what I could do.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been the most fashionable guy but I had this thing in my head about starting a clothing line so I did a bit of research and decided to give it a go.”
The clothing brand is called Aime Dieu, which means ‘love God’ in French.
Sohail designed unisex clothing in a wide range of colours and sizes.
The idea for the name came after Sohail saw captions from footballers on social media, all saying similar things in different languages.
Sohail wanted his brand to be conscious and community-focused as well as appealing and had committed to a “pass it forward” approach.
So with every item purchased, Sohail donates a pair of socks to the Centrepoint homeless charity.
After launching the brand in 2021, former Leeds United winger Raphinha asked to try out the range and posted pictures of himself wearing Aime Dieu on his Instagram Story.
This boosted the clothing brand’s popularity and in March 2022, Sohail was offered the chance to collaborate with Leeds United.
He said: “I had a meeting with the Leeds chairman last year because he’d become aware of the brand, seen some of the players wearing it and he knew I was local.
“I’d always wanted to work with the club, there was no one else I’d have collaborated with so it was great to be given the opportunity.
“I created a range exclusive to the Leeds United club shop and we committed to continuing the ‘pay it forward’ movement to help and support the local community.
“What we do is simple in that we work with really high quality materials but look to offer it at an affordable price.
“The material we use is very, very good, another piece of clothing made with that would be going for over £100.
“I didn’t want that, I wanted to bring that price down so we retail nearer to £50 which means the man on the street can afford it the same as the high profile customers.
“We filled a gap in the market for hoodies, t-shirts and joggers and it has been really popular.”
Aime Dieu has a huge customer base in the United States and is very popular among sports stars, such as Roberto Carlos, Iker Casillas and Chris Gayle.
Recalling that he first proposed a collaboration with Leeds United in 1995, Sohail said:
“I found a letter recently that I’d written to the club about doing some community-focused work back in 1995.
“To then have been working at the club shop in 1999 when we were in the Champions League, everything that has happened in between and now to be collaborating with them, it’s a lot when you look at it like that.”