by Karl Hofer.
The football Casuals; much has been written about them and their influence on fashion and music over the past few decades. Here BOBBY gives you the five finest fashion brands that UK football fans have embraced since the 70’s:
The high end golf brand was readily adopted by the football Casual and the iconic diamond pattern became a feature at football games all over the country in the 80’s. They were serious players in the leisure and sportswear market, a fact confirmed by their sponsorship of top British golfers Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie. Perhaps the first luxury knitwear brand in the world, Robert Pringle founded the company in the Scottish borders in 1815 and over the years it expanded around the globe.
4. Ralph Lauren
This is a brand that has evolved from one that originally catered for the elite classes to one that is now the preferred fashion choice of Mexican drug traffikers. Ralph Lauren was brought to the masses by young working-class men watching football matches at the weekend and the cut of the design coupled with the simplicity of the shirts saw their popularity rocket.
That phenomenal popularity led to an explosion of fakes of inferior quality during the 90’s – but the true Casual connoisseur could tell ‘a moody Ralph’ from a mile off.
3. Burberry / Aquascutum
Hitting it’s peak in the early to mid 80’s, Burberry and Aquascutum went from the Royal courtyards of Buckingham Palace to football terraces across the country. It’s important to note that at that time Burberry didn’t manufacture baseball caps. People that wear Burberry and Aquascutum caps are not to be confused with the stylish casuals of yesteryear. They are a late 90’s phenomena worn by petty thieves and chavs (or ‘neds’ for the Scottish among you) and are a badge of the not-to-be-trusted.
In recent years Burberry has successfully turned around the Chav-like reputation that it had acquired by removing the brand’s iconic check-pattern from all but 10% of the company’s products and re-branding itself with advertisement campagns in GQ, Esquire, Vogue, Tatler, and Harper’s Bazaar.
2. Stone Island
The Stone Island jacket is such a common sight in every football hooliganism based film – such as Green Street Hooligans and The Football Factory – it is now regarded as the uniform of the new breed of Football Casual. The adoption of high end designer clothes has always been a driving force behind casual fashion, the exclusivity of certain clothing and one up-man-ship drove fans to seek out the latest and the best that fashion labels had to offer.
Right from the off Adidas has always been popular among casuals. The original Forest Hills came in white and gold and the shoe had various incarnations between 1979 and 1983. Forest Hill re-issues have been coming out since 1999 and their classic style still stands the test of time. Originally designed as a tennis shoe they still look as eye catching on the high street today as they did on the terraces in the 80’s. Other Adidas trainers that were embraced by the casual movement include the Samba, Trimm Trabb, LA Trainer, Grand Slam, Stockholm, Dublin and Handball Special.