13 September 2023

The football jersey is now a LFW street style staple – but how did it get there?

HUNGER explores the rise of the footie shirt as it cements itself as this year's go-to look.

There’s nothing quite like football. The rush of a 90th-minute winner. The drama. The heartbreak. It’s all what makes the beautiful game, well, beautiful. Adored by millions across the globe, the sport continues to position itself as a cultural powerhouse. It’s arguably never been a more exciting time to be a fan, especially for the fashion-savvy, as football is well and truly in its fashion era. And with London Fashion Week on the horizon, it feels like no better time for the humble jersey to cement itself as a 2023 street style staple.

If you’ve taken a stroll through England’s capital over the last few months, you will have been met by a sea of Man United, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Brazil and AC Milan jersey’s ranging from the modern era all the way back to the 80s. Meanwhile, London-based Martine Rose has taken the aesthetic to new heights with her sleek, innovative take on footy kits taking over the runway. All that said, fashion’s relationship with football looks set to hit a fever pitch at LFW, and we’re expecting everyone to rock their favourite jerseys, pull their socks all the way up to their knees and transform the streets of London into a makeshift stadium.

We’ve already seen fashion giants take an interest in the footballing world like never before. French Ligue 1 outfit Stade Rennais F.C. stepped out onto the pitch to face Troyes in what would be a comfortable 4-0 victory, although this time, they weren’t rocking their usual home kit. For this game, the side donned a special Balenciaga-designed iteration, featuring a few notable tweaks to their jersey. 

On the back of the shirt, Balenciaga’s spellout sat above the players’ names, and their numbers also received a makeover too. This time, they displayed a rainbow motif inspired by the Pride Flag’s colours in an effort to combat hate towards the LGBTQIA+ community on International Day Against Homophobia (May 17th).

This hasn’t been the first time that Balenciaga have shown their affinity for the sporting world either. Who could forget their adidas collab last year where the two brands produced co-branded football shirts that just looked like cheap Manchester United knockoff merch or Demna Gvasalia’s AW20 collection featuring neon green full-kits.

While high fashion may be just now peeking its head into the stadiums, streetwear has long had an affinity with the world’s most prominent clubs: Mancunian skatewear brand Drama Call snatched the opportunity to collaborate with Manchester United, while Off-White is now AC Milan’s official partner for pre-game gear.

And when it comes to A-listers, well, they’ve certainly been getting in the football spirit. Kim Kardashian brought blokecore to new heights when she was spotted sporting a classic 97/98 A.S. Roma jersey (causing its price to skyrocket on eBay, thanks Kim). And Drake, once again tapping into UK culture, was pictured in a vintage Arsenal tee. Someone give him a British passport already. 

Meanwhile, second tier Italian team Venezia FC have received incredible amounts of hype over their lavish kit designs that sent the internet into a frenzy. Their club stores could easily be mistaken for a high-fashion flagship, and the club are fully embracing football’s fashionable makeover. 

But, despite all the luxury, riches and attention that surround football in the modern era, it’s still all about the fans, of course. And in England specifically, fashion has always been in the forefront of any supporter about to watch their team play on a Saturday afternoon. 

Make your way into any Premier League stadium and you’re sure to be met by a sea of Stone Island badges, C.P. Company goggles, and adidas Gazelles ans Spezials (hello Liam Gallagher’s new versions out this month). Now, those brands and items are all likely to be found being worn by just about everyone from TikTok girlies to your favourite rapper. So, as football continues to enter its fashion era, don’t forget that it has been playing the field for some time.

  • Writer Chris Saunders
  • Banner Image Credit Rennais F.C.

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