Football tries on fashion

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is just around the corner, controversially kicking off in Qatar’s sand dunes on Sunday November 20. This means one thing and one thing only – football jerseys will be flooding the streets, pubs and gardens, despite the inevitable cold and wet November weather.

The football jersey has long begun to establish itself as a staple within fashion, World Cup around the corner or not. The bloke-core trend, which took off on TikTok earlier this year, being a prime example of this. The vintage football jersey has been popping up everywhere, not just football matches. The newfound staple is often styled with Levi’s 501s and Adidas Sambas, which ranked number five on Lyst’s latest Q3 2022 hottest products list.

A Depop spokesperson says: “We have seen a 16% increase year on year for searches for football shirts across the board on Depop. We expect this to increase even further as we approach the World Cup in Qatar.”

The fashion x football bubble is truly kicking off as the stream of collaborations seems never-ending, with both the Gucci x Palace and Balenciaga x Adidas collections incorporating football-inspired jerseys. Additionally, designer Martine Rose repeatedly includes similar avant-garde jerseys in her collections.


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Almost ironically, the hottest football shirts right now, happen to be the the latest season’s jerseys. Venezia FC may ring a bell. The football club has been dubbed the most fashionable after creative agency Bureau Borsche took charge of its rebranding for the 21/22 season.

Jonas Imbery, COO at Bureau Borsche, says: “We always had a clear idea of what would look nice on the pitch, but how could we make that look nice when wearing it to the bar or club?” They continue, “We focused on a design with a 90s appeal that would look good with jeans and a Burberry trench for example.”


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One of the turning points for the rather new relationship between fashion and football was the Nigerian 2018 World Cup kit. It was one of the first football jerseys to really catch the attention of football fanatics and fashionistas alike.

Peter Hoppins, previously senior design director of global football apparel at Nike, designer of the Nigerian kit says: “We decided to pick Nigeria as the team to be disruptive with, combining heritage with a modern fresh fashionable look. We wanted to make all the kits look fast and build a collection around it. It was more of a fashion focused approach.”

Football clubs are flipping the script and are taking on the role as fashion houses themselves. They are creating desirable kits that are increasingly inspired by retro jerseys with a looser fit, collars and more adventurous designs.

Simultaneously, new season kit reveals have become highly-anticipated. Photoshoots are styled and organised to capture the attention of football fans as well as those who have never attended a football match.

Niccolò Vallenari, founder of @offthepitch_archive, which combines football and fashion off the pitch, says: “Fashion is becoming more interested in football as seen through collaborations between Off White x AC Milan or Zegna x Real Madrid.” Vallenari continues: “On one hand fashion needs to expand its audience and on the other hand football clubs need to vary their revenues with initiatives outside the football field.”

It is therefore important that football clubs produce kits that are designed to be worn on and off the pitch. Depending on how football clubs approach this challenge will determine how the trend evolves.

Imbery says: “I think depending on how open football clubs are willing to be the next two or three years will determine how fashionable football jerseys are going to get. For example when going to a Venezia FC game the crowd is quite small and very friendly, where a large part of the crowd are very fashionable and young.”

Vintage jerseys are, of course, also still hugely popular with longstanding football fans as well as fashionistas. A representative from vintage football shop, Classic Football Shirts, says: “There are a mixture of customers, some as you would expect, are massive football supporters, but some also just like the unique design and fit of the shirts from that time.”

Likewise, the Depop spokesperson says: “There are a wide variety of football shirts available on Depop, with the total number of listings reaching 55,000 and 25,311 of those are vintage. Clear proof that they are currently a popular item.”

There are a lot of options for your first football. Depending on what look you are going for, you can choose the safer bet, with a fashion x football collab or vintage jersey, but if you are feeling more adventurous you can choose a jersey from the current season. Either way, with jerseys lining the streets as a fashion staple, no one will think that you have gotten game day wrong if you rock up in trendy football attire.

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