Fashion

Tailored for the terraces

Juventus’s kit collaboration with a skate brand is just the latest example of football’s fashion-forward approach

INTERVIEW Rebecca Hopkins

Juventus are steeped in history, having been around for more than 100 years. But this is a club that’s very much focused on the future: the Old Lady has had an unexpected fashion makeover with the release of a fourth kit, in collaboration with cult skate brand Palace.

The new get-up – which features flashes of fluorescent green and orange alongside the traditional black and white – has generated plenty of column inches. But should it come as any surprise that one of Italy’s most iconic football teams has collaborated with a London-based underground design label?

Not according to professor Andrew Groves, course director for fashion design at the University of Westminster and co-curator of the biggest exhibition of menswear ever shown in the UK: Invisible Men. Here he discusses the longstanding crossover between football and fashion.

Juve players showcase their new fourth kit with help from the Palace skate team

Why has an Italian football team chosen a London fashion brand?

Historically London has had a great ability to embrace, develop and showcase new talent that makes its home in the city. British fashion has always been about overthrowing the establishment, and new designers rewriting the fashion rules and challenging convention. On top of this there has always been a dialogue between the Italians and the British when it comes to football and style. We have been obsessed with their brands – such as Paul & Shark, CP Company and Stone Island – for decades, while the Italians have a fascination with the casuals culture that grew from the football terraces of England in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Can you tell us a bit more about British fans’ love of Italian fashion?

Professor Andrew Groves

Growing up in Britain in the 1970s, most young men’s lives consisted of power cuts, strikes, three-day weeks and economic depression. Saturday became a focus for escapism and a chance to leave behind the grim reality of the working week; a moment to dress up and indulge in one-upmanship. There was a yearning to aspire to the very best, even if you couldn’t afford it. The one-upmanship that was integral to the British football terraces in the 1970s and 1980s naturally meant that you wanted to find the latest incredible outerwear. Italy at that time was excelling at it, with both design and innovative materials. Italian designer Massimo Osti was creating outstanding casualwear on an almost weekly basis. Some of his most iconic jackets from this period are still being sought after on sites such as Grailed, where they can fetch thousands of pounds.

Football clubs recognise that fashion is an essential way to engage a diverse range of fans

Is it fair to say that the link between football and fashion is stronger than ever?

Yes, in multiple ways. The players are still buying and wearing the most expensive pieces of menswear, although some of it might be in dubious taste. Football clubs recognise that fashion is an essential way to engage a diverse range of fans and create focused merchandise to sell to them. The one-upmanship on the terraces has grown stronger, with fans now adopting the most obscure brands from the likes of Finland, Japan and Norway.

Menswear has become the dominant creative force within fashion, overtaking womenswear some time ago. Both reference the codes of street fashion, which originates through the language of sportswear in its fabrics, silhouette, ease of wear and use of graphics. A few years ago people thought that this might be a passing fad but it has become the new orthodoxy – and it isn’t going away any time soon. Therefore it makes sense that companies want to tap into that language and culture. 

What is your favourite football kit of all time?

The Manchester City 1993–95 third kit; the white shirt with thin Cambridge-blue pinstripe is an iconic classic. It represents a tumultuous moment in the team’s history but became more widely appreciated through its adoption by the Gallagher brothers.

Juventus are steeped in history, having been around for more than 100 years. But this is a club that’s very much focused on the future: the Old Lady has had an unexpected fashion makeover with the release of a fourth kit, in collaboration with cult skate brand Palace.

The new get-up – which features flashes of fluorescent green and orange alongside the traditional black and white – has generated plenty of column inches. But should it come as any surprise that one of Italy’s most iconic football teams has collaborated with a London-based underground design label?

Not according to professor Andrew Groves, course director for fashion design at the University of Westminster and co-curator of the biggest exhibition of menswear ever shown in the UK: Invisible Men. Here he discusses the longstanding crossover between football and fashion.

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Juve players showcase their new fourth kit with help from the Palace skate team

Why has an Italian football team chosen a London fashion brand?

Historically London has had a great ability to embrace, develop and showcase new talent that makes its home in the city. British fashion has always been about overthrowing the establishment, and new designers rewriting the fashion rules and challenging convention. On top of this there has always been a dialogue between the Italians and the British when it comes to football and style. We have been obsessed with their brands – such as Paul & Shark, CP Company and Stone Island – for decades, while the Italians have a fascination with the casuals culture that grew from the football terraces of England in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Can you tell us a bit more about British fans’ love of Italian fashion?

Professor Andrew Groves

Growing up in Britain in the 1970s, most young men’s lives consisted of power cuts, strikes, three-day weeks and economic depression. Saturday became a focus for escapism and a chance to leave behind the grim reality of the working week; a moment to dress up and indulge in one-upmanship. There was a yearning to aspire to the very best, even if you couldn’t afford it. The one-upmanship that was integral to the British football terraces in the 1970s and 1980s naturally meant that you wanted to find the latest incredible outerwear. Italy at that time was excelling at it, with both design and innovative materials. Italian designer Massimo Osti was creating outstanding casualwear on an almost weekly basis. Some of his most iconic jackets from this period are still being sought after on sites such as Grailed, where they can fetch thousands of pounds.

Football clubs recognise that fashion is an essential way to engage a diverse range of fans

Is it fair to say that the link between football and fashion is stronger than ever?

Yes, in multiple ways. The players are still buying and wearing the most expensive pieces of menswear, although some of it might be in dubious taste. Football clubs recognise that fashion is an essential way to engage a diverse range of fans and create focused merchandise to sell to them. The one-upmanship on the terraces has grown stronger, with fans now adopting the most obscure brands from the likes of Finland, Japan and Norway.

Menswear has become the dominant creative force within fashion, overtaking womenswear some time ago. Both reference the codes of street fashion, which originates through the language of sportswear in its fabrics, silhouette, ease of wear and use of graphics. A few years ago people thought that this might be a passing fad but it has become the new orthodoxy – and it isn’t going away any time soon. Therefore it makes sense that companies want to tap into that language and culture. 

What is your favourite football kit of all time?

The Manchester City 1993–95 third kit; the white shirt with thin Cambridge-blue pinstripe is an iconic classic. It represents a tumultuous moment in the team’s history but became more widely appreciated through its adoption by the Gallagher brothers.

Despite the nation’s proud history of producing gifted footballers, it was not until 1988 that a Belgian player first lifted the European Cup: right-back Eric Gerets captained PSV Eindhoven to victory against Benfica on penalties. It was coach Raymond Goethals who next left his mark, leading Marseille to the title against AC Milan in 1993, two years after they had lost the final on spot kicks to Crvena zvezda. Yannick Carrasco became Belgium’s first scorer in a final, for runners-up Atlético Madrid in 2016, before Divock Origi went one better in June this year, finding the net for winners Liverpool against Tottenham Hotspur, on a night when goalkeeper Simon Mignolet– now at Club Brugge – watched from the Reds bench.

Belgian players enjoying success with an English team is one thing, but Belgian clubs finding reason to celebrate in England is something else, particularly in London. After Club Brugge lost at Wembley in 1978 (Jan Sorensen is pictured above right in the semi-final, with Gaetano Scirea of Juventus), Anderlecht and Royal Antwerp both suffered heartache in the English capital, the former losing the 1984 UEFA Cup final to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane and their domestic rivals finishing second best to Parma under the old twin towers in the 1993 Cup Winners’ Cup decider. With the EURO 2020 final to be played at Wembley in July, could today’s generation of stars provide Belgium with reason for cheer in north London?

Juventus are steeped in history, having been around for more than 100 years. But this is a club that’s very much focused on the future: the Old Lady has had an unexpected fashion makeover with the release of a fourth kit, in collaboration with cult skate brand Palace.

The new get-up – which features flashes of fluorescent green and orange alongside the traditional black and white – has generated plenty of column inches. But should it come as any surprise that one of Italy’s most iconic football teams has collaborated with a London-based underground design label?

Not according to professor Andrew Groves, course director for fashion design at the University of Westminster and co-curator of the biggest exhibition of menswear ever shown in the UK: Invisible Men. Here he discusses the longstanding crossover between football and fashion.

Juve players showcase their new fourth kit with help from the Palace skate team

Why has an Italian football team chosen a London fashion brand?

Historically London has had a great ability to embrace, develop and showcase new talent that makes its home in the city. British fashion has always been about overthrowing the establishment, and new designers rewriting the fashion rules and challenging convention. On top of this there has always been a dialogue between the Italians and the British when it comes to football and style. We have been obsessed with their brands – such as Paul & Shark, CP Company and Stone Island – for decades, while the Italians have a fascination with the casuals culture that grew from the football terraces of England in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Can you tell us a bit more about British fans’ love of Italian fashion?

Professor Andrew Groves

Growing up in Britain in the 1970s, most young men’s lives consisted of power cuts, strikes, three-day weeks and economic depression. Saturday became a focus for escapism and a chance to leave behind the grim reality of the working week; a moment to dress up and indulge in one-upmanship. There was a yearning to aspire to the very best, even if you couldn’t afford it. The one-upmanship that was integral to the British football terraces in the 1970s and 1980s naturally meant that you wanted to find the latest incredible outerwear. Italy at that time was excelling at it, with both design and innovative materials. Italian designer Massimo Osti was creating outstanding casualwear on an almost weekly basis. Some of his most iconic jackets from this period are still being sought after on sites such as Grailed, where they can fetch thousands of pounds.

Football clubs recognise that fashion is an essential way to engage a diverse range of fans

Is it fair to say that the link between football and fashion is stronger than ever?

Yes, in multiple ways. The players are still buying and wearing the most expensive pieces of menswear, although some of it might be in dubious taste. Football clubs recognise that fashion is an essential way to engage a diverse range of fans and create focused merchandise to sell to them. The one-upmanship on the terraces has grown stronger, with fans now adopting the most obscure brands from the likes of Finland, Japan and Norway.

Menswear has become the dominant creative force within fashion, overtaking womenswear some time ago. Both reference the codes of street fashion, which originates through the language of sportswear in its fabrics, silhouette, ease of wear and use of graphics. A few years ago people thought that this might be a passing fad but it has become the new orthodoxy – and it isn’t going away any time soon. Therefore it makes sense that companies want to tap into that language and culture. 

What is your favourite football kit of all time?

The Manchester City 1993–95 third kit; the white shirt with thin Cambridge-blue pinstripe is an iconic classic. It represents a tumultuous moment in the team’s history but became more widely appreciated through its adoption by the Gallagher brothers.