With the UEFA European Football Championship in full swing, we bring you the best of an unlikely union – football and luxury fashion
It seems bizarre to imagine that luxury fashion has a place in football, something long seen as a working-class sport, but the two worlds have overlapped since the ‘80s, when the terrace subculture was alive and rampant. Crucially, the constant peacocking and one-upmanship have led to the eventual entrance of luxury brands such as Burberry, Gucci, Prada and Stone Island to football stands, as fans (or “casuals”, as they were known) sought to continually outdo each other in a sartorial sense. Today, the association between luxury and football is closer – given the fact that Balenciaga and Versace, amongst others, have both released football jerseys as part of their AW20 and 18 collections respectively. With the UEFA European Championship in full swing, we revisit some of the best collaborations between football and luxury streetwear.
Balenciaga’s FW20 football shirts
Of all the pieces in the Demna Gvasalia-led Balenciaga AW20 drop, it is arguably the three football shirts that divide opinion the most. By selling a shirt that looks like it was inspired by the stylistically-basic 2002 Manchester United goalkeeper jersey for US$780 (S$1,050), one wonders if it is yet another case of tasteless class appropriation, or if it is another yet another expensive joke being made at the expense of luxury consumers.
Burberry’s SS18 collection
Drawing inspiration from the above-mentioned terrace subculture, Gosha Rubchinskiy collaborated with Burberry for its SS18, bringing back the iconic Nova Check. Often worn by football “casuals”, it was part of the unofficial uniform worn by football hooligans in the ’90s. Consisting of simple trench coats and Harrington jackets, Gosha’s collection is a throwback tribute to British footballing cultural heritage.
Off-White’s Football, Mon Amour collection
Virgil Abloh’s first and only football collab project to date largely featured football gear, from a ball and goalkeeper gloves to hoodies and trackpants. Unveiled by mercurial French superstar Kylian Mbappé, the highlights of the collection included a black-and-white checkered Netherlands shirt, two colourways of the Nike Zoom Fly Mercurial Flyknit trainer and a pair of Mercurial Vapor 360 cleats in a limited-release orange colourway.
Versace’s AW18 collection
By June 2018 – also around the time where clubs release their new kits for the upcoming season – Versace had released a series of its own football-inspired kits. The first featured black pinstripes running down a white base, complemented by Versace taping running down the shoulders and side of the shirt, and embellished by gold and red baroque print graphics where the manufacturer logo and club crest are traditionally found. The second and third shirts are similar in design, with the only stylistic difference being colour. The shirts feature a Baroque crest placed in the middle of the chest – combined with the dual-tone stripes, it contributes to the overall retro vibe of the shirts.
Yohji Yamamoto’s Real Madrid kit
In 2014, Adidas got renowned Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto to help design the third kit for Spanish superclub Real Madrid. Making its appearance in UEFA’s elite European club competition, the Champions League, the all-black colour scheme with the combination of the two mythical dragon beasts interlaced across the front of the shirt reflected Yamamoto’s signature subdued, monotone aesthetic. In addition to the shirt, Yamamoto also designed two pairs of eye-catching football boots for Adidas, featuring a blend of traditional and modern aspects of Japanese culture in a design that’s “spiritually connected” between the past and the future.