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The growing relationship between fashion and football
A deep dive into the commercial opportunity that football represents, from collabs to endorsements, and whether it's genuine, or just a cash-grab.
I’ve been a football (soccer) fan for as long as I can remember.
My earliest memories were watching my older brother draw caricatures of the 2004 Arsenal squad—The Invincibles—that went undefeated that season.
And as the sport has grown massively over the last fifteen years, the commercial opportunity to commoditize it has grown, too, specifically within fashion.
What fascinates me about fashion’s influence on football is that other sports don’t seem to have nearly the same cultural carry (except basketball; even then, that’s more on the player side, not with franchises).
I wanted to compile everything I see in this space and share it with you, so here’s a deep dive into the massive, growing relationship between fashion and football.
The rise of footy culture and blokecore
Independent brands and cash grabs (?)
Fashion houses and club uniforms
Footy culture and blokecore
The rise of Instagram football accounts
Football nostalgia has played a huge role in growing the sport's popularity. IG Accounts like Talisman and Art of Football, Saturdays Football, and Classic Football Shirts (the kit sponsor for Burnley FC this season) have become some of the best curators of vintage kits on the internet. It’s even given them leverage to branch outside of kits, selling their own merch and doing collaborations with other brands.
AC Momento and reliving nostalgia
Speaking of nostalgia, you should know about AC Momento, one of my favorite businesses right now. They’re democratizing access to football kits by partnering with the world’s most beloved players—Messi, Dani Alves, etc—and auctioning off their kits on the AC Momento’s app.
What I love most about ACM is their storytelling approach (led by the homie Sam Diss, based in London) to reconnect us all to our favorite football nostalgia.
These guys are the godfathers of men’s fashion content on the internet. It feels like they’ve lived a hundred lives over the last decade, but their Throwing Fits podcast is some of their best content yet.
They pretty much shit-post and meme-ify everything around clothes and trends, and their recent victim is blokecore. WTF is blokecore?
As Jimmy from the pod describes it, blokecore is just “heterosexual dudes from Bushwick.” Which is 100% facts. But also…
Specifically, blokecore is people cosplaying off of football nostalgia by wearing iconic kits from over the years and pairing it with Dirtbag aesthetic. Think cheap beer, Adidas Sambas or Doc Martens, and vintage Levis.
TF teamed up with one of my favorite shops in London, Percival, and dropped their own football kit ahead of the World Cup last week. Fun to see activations like this pop up!
And After That
Then there’s Edgar Gonzalez, an independent designer, and artist who collects secondhand clothing and puts his own spin on each piece. Edgar’s stuff is very IYKYK (part of the vibe shift—also IYKYK), getting people like Zendaya and Post Malone to wear his popular shirts.
I loved this collection he just dropped, repurposing Patagonia shorts and printing OG World Cup logos on them. Badass.
Others to note
Ragazzi FC x Adidas
Palace ripping on Inter Milan’s old kit
Futsol x Norman’s Cafe in London
Independent brands and football
Aimé Leon Dore x Bukayo Saka
This was a big one during ALD’s push this year into the UK, where they opened their second-ever shop in London. Seeing Bukayo Saka (a starboy for Arsenal and England, no less) feature in this collection made me happy.
Drôle de Monsieur x AS Monaco
This one made me happy, too. Kappa is iconic, and I love how DDM tapped into the local beach culture in Monaco.
USMNT x Awake NY / Hidden NY
This one fascinates was interesting, not because the USMNT teamed up with Awake, a Brooklyn brand, but because they collab’d with Hidden NY, the most hype-worthy streetwear account on Instagram run by BRIT! You know the US plays England in two weeks, right?
While David Beckham is the fashion OG in this department, players inking endorsement deals with luxury fashion houses has become increasingly popular, too. Part of the allure of signing players like Raheem Sterling (Bottega Veneta) and Marcus Rashford (Burberry) is that they represent more than football; they’re activists too.
They give back to their communities in unique ways, like when Rashford started a food drive for kids who couldn’t afford meals during early COVID, which the British government got roasted for not providing on their own to citizens.
Fashion houses and clubs
While AC Milan x OFF WHITE is the latest luxury brand to capitalize off of European football, fashion houses sponsoring game day uniforms for clubs have been happening for a while.
Here’s a look at how Luxury brands have imposed themselves on clubs over the years.
AC Milan x OFF WHITE
PSG x Dior
Thom Browne x FC Barcelona
Juventus x Loro Piana
Inter Milan x Moncler
A final thought
While I love seeing how football has grown commercially on the international stage, I also think about whether all these collabs, partnerships, or endorsements genuinely add to football culture.
Or are these simply a cash grab?
It worries me that the continued greed and money surrounding the sport may take football to places we don’t want to go, evident in how oil money and corruption within the FIFA organization have infiltrated the sport.
Any thoughts on this? Stuff you’d add?