How the football kit infiltrated the world of fashion

How the football kit infiltrated the world of fashion

by Juliette Eleuterio
5 min

Today marks the kick off of the Women’s Football World Cup in New Zealand and yeah we’ll be watching the matches but we’re also going to be checking out those football kits. This World Cup, we’re sure to see some heat on the pitch – and not just because it’s New Zealand – with some brand new kits, including the Lionesses’, by Nike that were created specifically for women (are we really surprised that historically women were just given ill-fitting men’s kits? Unfortunately, no) and a Wales Bonner x adidas kit for Jamaica.

adidas©

We’ve come a long way since the 1800s bloomers and bonnet attire female football players used to wear. The football kit has become an integral part of the sport, specifically growing in popularity in the men’s department during the 80s with the 1986 Denmark home red striped jersey and the 1989 to 1991 England acid house-èsque jersey. At this point, we might start supporting the team with the flyest jersey.

In recent years, we’ve seen the football kit not only on the pitch, but also on Fashion Week runways and the main character of some of the most sport and fashion collabs. Considering football is one of, if not the most watched and most profitable sport, the popularity of the jersey as everyday wear just makes sense.

Yohji Yamamoto was one of the first designers to dip his toes in the football sphere with an official collab, creating a kit for Real Madrid’s 2014-2015 season with his Y-3 adidas brand. The full black & white dragon collab proved fruitful, as the two reunited last year to celebrate the club’s 120 year anniversary, as well as Yamamoto and adidas 20 years of collaboration. 

Yohji Yamamoto©

Since the success of Yohji Yamamoto’s design, other brands started incorporating football elements in their collections, including Versace for FW18 which included logo-branded scarves inspired by the sport. The rise of football gear on the runway coincided with the rise of streetwear. While the two once lived in separate realms, what streetwear did to fashion was incorporate more casual styles which were never considered ‘high fashion’, similar to how the football jersey was once looked at, onto the runway.

For a while, and arguably still to this day, adidas has lived in a realm that blurs the lines between streetwear and sportswear. The football kit didn’t just land on a designer’s moodboard, but in the eye of big streetwear names. When Palace came out with that Juventus kit with adidas in 2019, the lines between sportswear, streetwear and fashion were officially blurred with a product that became the grailed item of the year.

Palace x Gucci©

After that, the football jersey was everywhere. We saw Demna’s take on it on the FW20 Balenciaga runway, it was a piece in the Gucci x Palace 2022 collab, Pharrell gave us a Damier print version for his Louis Vuitton debut last month, even Miu Miu’s SS21 was heavily inspired by the sport.

Miu Miu©

If it wasn’t popular enough, the recent blokecore and its female equivalent blokettecore, which has been going strong on TikTok (to paint you a picture, #blokecore has over 290 million views), has given the football gear a new life, styled with jorts, messenger bags, plaid skirts and statement belts. Safe to say, Héctor Bellerín is on more than just one Pinterest moodboard.

From Liam Gallagher’s long-sleeved three stripe jersey fit from 1996 to Julia Fox’s Vallier 22 blue football jersey-inspired dress spotted last Milan Fashion Week, one thing is for sure: the football jersey has become the new band tee.

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