The 49ers have not even played in the 2023-24 NFL Playoffs yet, but one key San Francisco player’s wife was the talk of the NFL during the wild-card round thanks to her incredible clothing design skills — and a big assist from none other than Taylor Swift.
Before last weekend, NFL circles were already familiar with how Kristen Juszczyk, wife of 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk, would make stylish custom NFL gear for herself and other NFL family members.
Kristin Juszczyk has been making custom designs for several years, starting with Halloween costumes and growing to outfits she has worn to her husband’s games.
During the regular season, she made a custom Jonathan Owens-style jacket for the Packers safety’s wife, Olymic gold medalist and U.S. gymnastics icon Simone Biles, as well as a Patrick Mahomes jacket for Mahomes’ wife Brittany.
Kristen had even did a special project for two of her husband’s 49ers teammates, designing a Brock Purdy “MVP”-themed puffer vest that Deebo Samuel wore to San Francisco’s Week 17 game against the Washington Commanders.
“She’s the truth,” Samuel later said of Kristen and her handiwork.
But Kristen and her custom jackets were really put on the map Saturday when it was revealed she designed one for the significant other of Mahomes’ star Chiefs teammate Travis Kelce — Taylor Swift.
The music megastar’s jacket immediately went viral as she wore it upon her arrival to the Chiefs’ game against the Dolphins on Saturday. Brittany also wore a matching jacket themed after Patrick.
Soon after, Kristen posted a video confirming she had made Swift’s Kelce-themed jacket.
“An honor of a lifetime!!!!!” Kristen captioned the video on Instagram.
Meanwhile, an excited Kyle was much more active on Twitter, responding to several posts about Swift’s jacket to confirm his wife had made it.
“Just happiness,” Kyle Juszczyk said Tuesday about his reaction to seeing one of the world’s most recognized celebrities wearing something his wife designed.
“Just appreciation. Just so stoked for her because I know how hard she’s worked, how hard she grinded. To see Taylor wearing it and it looked incredible. It was just awesome. We were just so happy in our house.”
But Kristen’s big weekend was not done yet. Actor Taylor Lautner, a Lions fan who had supportively commented under some of Kristen’s design videos, got a special delivery to the sidelines of Ford Field for the Lions’ historic home playoff game Sunday night against the Rams — a custom bomber jacket made by Kristen styled after star Detroit defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.
Both the Chiefs and Lions won their respective games, and the 49ers finished with the best record in the NFC, so perhaps Kristen’s jackets even bring a measure of good luck. But Kristen also did some major winning of her own last weekend.
According to data compiled by sports social media agency bknown via CrowdTangle, Kristen Juszczyk has gained over 400,000 new followers on Instagram since Friday, when she had around 113,000 followers. To put that in perspective, no NFL player has gained more than 75,000 Instagram followers since last Wednesday. Kyle has only gained around 16,000 followers over the past week.
[Want great stories delivered right to your inbox? Create or log in to your FOX Sports account, follow leagues, teams and players to receive a personalized newsletter daily.]
The video of making Swift’s jacket that Kristen posted Saturday has nearly one million likes and 22.5 million vides, according to bknown founder Brendan Kaminsky.
“This is the Taylor Swift effect,” Kaminsky said. “It’s incredible for Kristen, and the fact that she’s been able to showcase her great work. … I think the other thing that she deserves credit for is the way she’s producing this content. She’s showing the jersey, she’s doing quick edits and showing how she’s creating it, and then she’s panning straight to the shot of the ‘talent’ wearing it. Like, not only is she very talented her craft, she’s a talented content producer.
“If Taylor Swift posted something about you, you would get a tremendous boost naturally just because of Taylor Swift. But there’s another layer to this where [Kristen] knows what she’s doing with her content. She’s been doing this for a while.”
The biggest “spike” day for Kristen’s follower growth happened on Sunday, the day after Swift wore Kristen’s jacket to the Chiefs game. Kaminsky says that growth is due in large part not only due to the delayed effect of people discovering Kristen’s Swift content through Instagram’s algorithm but also a “collaboration” post between Kristen and the NFL’s official Instagram account, which boasts over 29 million followers.
“I would attribute the boost to her owning the content as a content creator and creating a video that got 22.5 million views and then also the NFL acknowledging her, and then that kind of being a domino effect.” Kaminsky said. “That’s really what did it, her owning that content.”
Kaminsky also believes Kristen is just getting started in putting herself on the map with her clothing designs. If she continues to collaborate with NFL-adjacent megastars like Biles, Swift and Lautner, who are just a few of the many celebrities that also are diehard NFL fans and/or have a personal connection to a player or team, Kaminsky believes Kristen’s following could continue to grow by leaps and bounds, and credits the work she has already done to get to this point.
“Kudos to her for just keeping it going,” Kaminsky said. “As a professional as a content producer, I’m always thinking about what’s next, and she clearly has that bug.”
Kyle, meanwhile, is thrilled to see his wife get some attention from so many quarters as he and the 49ers gear up to start their own playoff journey in the divisional round against Owens’ (and Biles’) Packers at 8:15 p.m. ET Saturday on FOX and the FOX Sports App.
“Honestly one of the cooler things of this was it merged two different worlds: The football world was interested in it, the fashion world, the Swifties,” Kyle said. “All that and they all came together.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more