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Football x Fashion

FRUKT Planner Pippo Khalwa writes on football's recent influence on fashion; how the road took cues from the pitch, and how in turn, high fashion was inspired by the street.

In the ever-evolving landscape of fashion, certain subcultures leave an indelible mark, reshaping the industry's course for good. One such subculture is that of football, which has given rise to a new wave of high fashion, in which footballers become style icons and jerseys are regarded as status symbols.

Football has been synonymous with street culture in the UK for some time now, particularly when it comes to the music emerging from it. Grime and football have been long regarded as the twin avenues for young Londoners to escape the confines of street life, with stars from each discipline becoming living proof that success could be attained through dedication and passion, regardless of social class.

Beyond this, grime artists have incorporated football into their punchlines since the genre’s inception, with artists like Don Strapzy (who later founded SE Dons), Skepta, and P Money referencing teams and players in their lyrics, bridging the worlds of music and sport for over two decades now. This synergy fostered a deep connection between football and UK street culture, as astroturf trainers and kits found their place in the roadman uniform alongside Avirex jackets, Polo shirts and G-Star jeans.

A pivotal moment in this synergy occurred when Trapstar London, a prominent UK streetwear label, introduced the world to one of the first football shirts designed explicitly for fashion. This paved the way for more pieces like it, and soon after, a bootlegged Balmain x Paris Saint-Germain collaboration kit went viral, appreciated for its blend of luxury and athletic aesthetics and becoming a symbol of sartorial rebellion despite being inauthentic. This shattered preconceived notions, proving that the popularity of football kits far transcended that of the teams they represented.

Recognising the success of this, Air Jordan and PSG subsequently unleashed a groundbreaking collection that solidified PSG as a powerhouse within fashion and popular culture. By this point, footballers like Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish were regularly gracing the covers of GQ Magazine, Hommes and The Face, and the barriers between the two worlds were fully blurred.

Since then, football kit manufacturers have made it their business to continue blurring these lines, championing the synergy between sports and fashion, which serves as a testament to the enduring power of street culture, forever reshaping the boundaries of style.

Balmain x Paris Saint-Germain Balmain x Paris Saint-Germain