Fashion Meets Football: The Stylish Game-Changer

Last Updated: June 13, 2024By

 

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As the season draws to a close, fashion throws a curveball: Acne Studios, the Swedish luxury fashion label, hit the field with a £360 mock football shirt earlier this month. While it might make Nike’s £124 England jerseys seem like a steal, this swanky shirt is almost sold out.

The label dubs it an “appliquéd logo-print striped mesh T-shirt,” but let’s be real—it’s a football shirt through and through. Sporting the brand’s name where a sponsor would typically be, adorned with a cute white and navy-striped crest reminiscent of Swedish champs Malmö, and coming in a pastel hue, this creation fits perfectly with Acne’s vibe, especially since their creative maestro, Jonny Johansson, is credited with making “millennial pink” a thing.

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Fashion on the Field: A New Trend

This isn’t the first time a high-end brand dipped its toes into football-inspired threads. Balenciaga kicked off the trend with its Soccer Series in January, featuring a ’90s-style baggy top priced at a hefty $1,400. Then there’s the Gucci and Palace collab from 2022, which also hit the wallets hard.

“Designers like Martine Rose have been onto this for ages, but now the big luxury brands are catching on,” says Daniel-Yaw Miller, a fashion-meets-sport expert at the Business of Fashion. “It helps them relate to a wider audience and show they’re not just stuck in the fashion bubble.”

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But can wearing a shirt worth more than some season tickets elevate my game from park plodder to stylish playmaker? Football, like fashion, loves a try-hard. And that’s my vibe: if you need someone running around looking busy and passing the ball promptly, count me in. Or at least consider me for the third-choice right back spot. My football fashion sense? Well, let’s just say I’m more Keir Starmer at five-a-side than Jack Grealish for Gucci.

Testing the Threads

Slipping into the shirt, it feels snug as I head to the pitch for our Friday night game. Surprisingly, I’m less self-conscious than expected—maybe because it just looks like a regular football shirt, or perhaps because I can’t see the giant ACNE STUDIOS detail stitched on the back, replacing a player’s name.

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As I warm up, the shirt earns nods of approval from my teammates, though it doesn’t miraculously improve my first touch. Later, at the local pub, I face some scrutiny when someone demands to know which team I’m representing. Sharing the price in our Friday Night Football WhatsApp group brings sarcastic remarks like “Only a fool would buy that” and “Even Chelsea’s owner would think it’s overpriced.”

From Zero to Hero: The Rise of Replica Chic

Not long ago, replica football shirts were deemed uncool, especially outside the stadium. But now, they’re strutting their stuff on catwalks. How did this transformation happen?

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“It’s definitely linked to the rise of vintage kits,” explains Miller. “Designers love digging into archives to show off their cultural awareness.”

The Marriage of Fashion and Football

Clubs are jumping on the bandwagon, teaming up with labels to tap into the hypebeast market. Juventus paired up with Palace, while Arsenal collaborated with UK streetwear label Maharishi.

Paris Saint-Germain is leading the charge with fashion collabs, even opening a boutique in London. They’ve worked with Dior, LA brand Born x Raised, and are the only team with Nike’s Air Jordan kits.

The Verdict

While there’s a market for £360 football shirts among fashionistas, I won’t be sporting mine on the pitch again. Despite its stylish design, featuring a beautiful motif of Acne Studios’ Stockholm HQ, it’s not practical for an eight-a-side match. Our organizer, Stu, promptly assigns me to the bib squad—a reminder that fashion and football, though an exciting match, don’t always play well together.

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