Football fashion culture – a shift from the terraces to the runways

Posted on 21 January 2024
By Archie Ward
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From festivals to runways, football shirts aren’t just for the pitch. With a wider range of consumers, it’s easy to see why kit designers have adapted to the climate and hunger for fashionable leisure wear.

Years ago, shirts may only have been worn by fans going to the match, but now it’s so much more. Clubs all over the world have now forged a shift in the way things are done and have taken a plunge into the world of fashion.

Serie A outfit Napoli, in Italy, have worked closely with fashion giants Armani and regularly release special edition kits. Paris St Germain are sponsored by Nike and carry the Air Jordan brand, whilst Inter Milan’s pre and post-match attire, is courtesy of Moncler.

It’s almost as though designers, manufacturers and brands have spotted the potential to use players as models. Of course, this is a useful way of using the athletes’ platforms to promote their work, firmly ending the days of ill-fitting suits and generic kits.

This change from the conventional football shirt market has seen more people becoming almost flaneur type of fans, wearing kits for fashion first aesthetic. Young people especially may have no affiliation to a team, although regularly wear their shirts as it matches their style.

Clubs have moved on from the days of straight-faced players promoting new kits, and instead have distinctive models sporting the eye catching and bold designs. A smart move is to design a shirt that can be worn with a pair of jeans, not just a pair of shinpads.

The resurgence of retro is also worth noting. Old shirts that may have been discarded without a second thought, may now be a Holy Grail for someone. North London club Arsenal have recognised the power of nostalgia, and regularly release kits or leisurewear which delve into heritage and their roots. Of course, Adidas’ designs are received very well, prompting others to follow suit.

Although, a slick, modern shirt or an 80’s style jumper can’t just sell itself. The influence of those in the limelight can also play a huge part. A-Listers are frequently seen wearing retro items, which shows the change in the industry, and highlights football shirt’s versatility in the modern world.

Fashion heavyweights Stone Island and New Balance recently collaborated to release a football kit, proving that the trend doesn’t need a specific football team to flourish. More and more brands are adhering to the trend, and it doesn’t look like it will be going anywhere any time soon.