Fashion brands seem to be over the skateboard craze of recent years and moved on to the next wave of inspiration: the soccer aesthetic.
For the past few years, the dominant sportswear influence within the fashion industry has been undeniably been held by skatewear. The rise of cult skate brands such as Supreme, Stussy and The Hundreds to mainstream streetwear have proved to be a match made in heaven. Built around a refusal to conform to the norm, skateboarding culture was a natural fit within the pillars of streetwear and has since stuck around.
As streetwear began to gain more and more steam, it was fascinating to watch how the once niche subculture made its way to the runway with some of the most prestigious fashion houses jumping onboard. During his frequent trips to Venice Beach, Moncler creative director Francesco Ragazzi was so inspired by the angelic skaters suspended in mid-air that it became the basis of his new brand, fittingly named Palm Angels.
However with murmurs of collaborations such as Virgil Abloh and Nike for the 2018 World Cup or KITH and adidas teaming up soccer drop and even traditional skate heritage labels such as Palace, there’s no denying soccer’s rapid ascent in all corners of the industry, gaining steam among unlikely North American crowds that have yet to fully embrace the sport.It may have initially been refreshing to see the likes of Dior and Balenciaga send their models down the runway dressed as rebellious skaters, but by the time Supreme’s high-profile collaboration with Louis Vuitton hit the shelves at astronomical price tags, the trend seemed to have reach its peak. It seems now that brands have begun looking elsewhere to ride the sportswear trend, with the newest releases from Gosha Rubchinskiy, Off-White, Palace and more spurred on by the world’s most popular sport for their aesthetic.
Fashion and soccer are in no way a pair that is new, with brands including Kappa, Stone Island and adidas having their heritage largely rooted in the culture that surrounds the beautiful game.Palace is an interesting case. Born from the gritty irreverence of South London’s skateboarding scene, the label’s previous summer threads included a number of football tops that played on the traditional kit designs of Italian clubs Inter Milan and Juventus. While Social Studies’ Art Basel Miami pop-up saw the likes of Ronnie Fieg, Skepta and Fat Joe in attendance for a Nike-sponsored workshop led by Virgil Abloh. Skepta even screen-printed streetwear logos like Off-White, Awake and O32c onto blank club tops that he eyed out.
The soccer frenzy was taken to another level when French label Koché took to Manhattan’s Strand Bookstore for a Pre-Fall show that featured stretchy suits and loose fits of chopped-up jerseys. Most of the models strutted down the narrow bookstore passageways emblazoned with branding that was created in collaboration with massive French club Paris-Saint Germain.Of all the noteworthy brands, Gosha Rubchinskiy has perhaps been the most active of late when it comes to football inspired designs. When Gosha Rubchinskiy unveiled his Fall/Winter 2017 lookbook alongside collaborations with adidas football, the collection saw inclusions of traditional adidas soccer sportswear, football scarves and even black and white knitwear that was quite literally a soccer ball. He followed this up by sending models down the runway for his SS18 show in full-on soccer kits – from the old school baggy jersey tops and parachute short shorts down to the retro-inspired cleats, shin pads and knee-high socks.
It might be easy to dismiss the trend as fashion’s bandwagon of the moment, but soccer may prove to be one of the year’s most enduring trends. While there was no argument that skate culture, which is much bigger in America than in Europe, felt more disingenuous than genuine, football is a central aspect of the European lifestyle that seems to transcend generations and social backgrounds.
Words by Braeden Alexander – Shop the latest products on END.