With the world of football fashion blending into inspired places, designer Pasquale Daniel lends his written thoughts on the landscape of off the pitch wear to SoccerBible Magazine Issue 5. A creative with an armoury of ideas, it's only right we head to Highbury, The Emirates and a local chippy to share his story and vision while going on to examine the ongoing terrace-wear evolution.
[Words: Pasquale Daniel] For some decades now football has had an inconsistent relationship with the fashion world. From the 80s casual to the Stone Island and Burberry archetypal football hooligan of the 90s, football’s place in UK fashion, although relevant, has not often been consistent or representative of the clubs involved. In stark contrast, American sports have perfected the ability to market their teams as both prestigious sporting clubs and worldwide clothing and accessory brands. Questionable designs and negative associations with football in the UK have seen club apparel rejected as ‘fashionable’ by many in the past, despite the hysterical popularity of the sport.
It was during my time as a London College of Fashion Sportswear Design student that I began to create my ‘Arsenal Heritage’ concept collection. Being a North London native and lifelong Gooner, it felt only right to challenge football’s lack of fashion credentials.
I was intrigued to see if terrace-wear could be channelled into modern and functional garments that were also truly representative of a particular club, including its unique aesthetic and historical makeup.
The first look I created was a ’93 Heritage Cagoule and Shorts. e pullover cagoule was inspired by the K-Way style pullovers worn by fans of the early 90s, but constructed in separate layers connected by concealed zips in the elbows and ribs to regulate movement and ventilation. A water-resistant PVC quarter-zip was favoured up the front and an adjustable elastic cord used in the hood, waist and hem. Inspired by my earliest memories of Arsenal, the fabric is sublimation-printed with Arsenal’s iconic ‘bruised banana’ 1991-93 away strip graphics — this was my attempt to bring what I consider one of the greatest kits of all time back into relevance.
Humbled by the reaction of my first project I focused on a second outfit — the heritage bomber and track pant. I attempted to take on an ethos of bold colour- blocked matching tops and bottoms favoured by the 80s casuals movement. Both garments are constructed from waterproof polyester panels with water-resistant PVC front zip and pocket openings. It was important to me that the looks were not just retro throwbacks but also modern and functional in their design and construction.
Apart from replica kits, I felt football clubs were missing a trick in their licensed apparel and I often associated club shop apparel with the guy walking down town wearing bootcut jeans with astroturf football boots, and let’s face it, no one wants to see that. What I wanted to do was to see where football could be taken in garment design, but first I had to understand the cultural history of terrace wear.
The earliest reference of football and fashion meeting in recent decades came from the late ’70s. Young, largely working class football fans from England’s North East would acquire high-end European sportswear brands including FILA, Sergio Tacchini and adidas, often admittedly through shoplifting on away- game trips to the continent in European competitions. Using clothes that weren’t intended for them to stand out to authorities, they transcended class by dressing ‘casual’ as a way of dressing up. This turned into style tribalism as different fan sets, or ‘casuals’, became uniquely distinguishable.
Read the full exploration by picking up your copy of SoccerBible Magazine Issue 5 here.
Photography: Jordan Curtis Hughes