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Originating from the UK which loves fashion. But many people haven’t heard of it because it has roots in football (soccer) hooliganism.
But today, most football violence has been squashed and forced away from the stadiums, yet still, 13 million British people watch matches each year, most men. It’s hardly a surprise they have their own fashion and subculture.
The UK has always been a hotbed of subculture. Many subcultures, born in the UK and have been adopted worldwide. From the Teddy boys of the 50s, the MODs and Rockers of the 60s, moving into punk and skinheads of the 70s. Sometimes political, but nearly always a vehicle for the next generation to show their rebellion against the mainstream. The football casual is another of these subcultures, and it’s nearly all about the clothes.
Football and Fashion for guys
Fashion and football can trace their connection back to the 1950s and the Teddy boy movement. By the end of the 60s though, the skinhead movement was mostly seen on the terraces at football stadiums up and down mainland UK. At this time, it was very much“rage against the establishment” which connected these two cultures, a US vs THEM mentality.
Moving into the 60s, the Teddy movement was replaced by the skinhead movement. The fashion and clothing included brands like Lambretta, Ben Sherman and Doc Martins. Hooliganism at the football was rife at this time, and embracing skinhead culture made it very easy for police to identify potential fans who they would see as troublemakers.
Those fans who were troublemakers didn’t appreciate this, but neither did those who just embraced the culture without the violence, who would be singled out by the police. Very importantly, football fans weren’t political, they just loved their team and being part of Football. So they started to look for their own identity.
Introducing the Football Casual
The Football casual we see now was born in the late 1970s, out of Liverpool. At the time, the Liverpool team were champions of Europe. Their fans were travelling around Europe having a great time.
They picked up European brands that were not easy to get in the UK at the time, brands like Lacoste and Sergio Tacchini and it would be a way of showing other fans that you were a diehard fan, travelling over land and sea supporting the club. Almost a uniform of honor.
Fans from other clubs quickly followed even those who were not playing in Europe. Fans would take trips to France and Germany to shop in their boutiques, so they can wear European brands on the terraces at the stadiums which showed their love for the club. Football casual fashion was born.
This trend quickly took off. Right through the 1980s, different clubs would prefer different brands. By the 1990s football, casual were able to recognize other football fans and their allegiance to a club by the brands they were wearing. It became more than hooliganism; it was about a sense of identity.
TODAY’S FOOTBALL CASUAL
Today’s football casual doesn’t have the same connection to football violence as it did in the 1980s. It’s been adopted by younger football fans, men in their 20s and 30s with expendable income, who want to look good and have an identity with being a football fan. They embrace the modern casual look but what’s hot right now are styles and brands that were popular at different times in the history of the Casual. The retro casual.
These are working class and young professional men, feeling comfortable being fashionable and caring about the clothes they wear without feeling that it’s any threat to their masculinity. Here are some of the brands that are popular in the casual culture right now :
Perhaps these days, the most iconic brand that is essential to the casual look is Stone Island. The very iconic emblem, normally found on the sleeve of a sweater or coat makes it very recognizable. They became part of the wardrobe in the 1990s as casual culture moved away from football violence.
It meant that as the teen generation of the time became young men with expendable income, they would embrace the brand they coveted earlier on, making it perhaps the most popular brand and look of football casual fashion today.
Perhaps one of the older casual brands, Fred Perry was first embraced by skinhead culture in the 60’s, and subsequently, it became part of casual fashion at the same time. It’s one of the more affordable brands making it often one of the first steps for many new casuals.
Although the brand started life as a tennis brand it’s been taken on by football casuals and is a huge part of casual fashion.
Now part of Stone Island, the C.P Company is one of the most niche brands. Whereas a brand like Stone Island and Fred Perry are very iconic and easy to identify as a casual brand, the subtlety of C.P Company design and branding makes it a brand that’s only recognizable by those who are really in the know. It’s also a brand that designs great looking clothes.
The brand the Liverpool fans of the 1970s first started bringing back from Europe, which started the casual culture, Lacoste played an important role in the birth of the movement thanks to its very iconic look. The motif and vibrant colors, especially the Lacoste Polo is instantly identifiable and still is.
Lyle & Scott
A retro brand, from the 90s, Lyle & Scott is made distinctive by its Golden Eagle emblem. It was a very brand that very much for the connoisseur which makes it such an attractive brand today as a retro casual look. Casuals don’t want to be seen wearing the same clothes as their friends; they want to be different, so they love Lyle and Scott.