Something a bit different today on BackPageFootball as Paul Larkin looks at the influence football has had on modern day fashion.
Some younger people reading this will see the title ‘Football & Fashion’ and think replica shirts and tracksuit tops are the only things football brings to the fashion table. The truth is football has had a massive influence on modern trends; in fact I would go as far as to suggest football was the leading influence in getting us to were we are now which is a designer brand obsessive culture.
Up until the 1950s, the term teenagers had never before been coined. Children were known as girls and boys, and once they displayed signs of puberty they were youths. During the 1950s a range of influences including film, television, magazines and the rock music scene created a new market grouping called ‘teenagers’. Teens made themselves known. A sudden flurry of consumer goods denied to war torn Europe were available and a consumer boom was born.
Teens were looking to make themselves different from others and even other groups of teens. This brings us back to football and the first group of fashion conscious football fans the Teddy Boys, who dressed in Edwardian style clothes. Although the Teddy Boys were on the football terraces they were not born out of football they were simply a reflection of society in the 50s. However, they do deserve an honorable mention in this article for beimg the first football fans to at least consider their appearance.
Fashion trends and thankfully football trends moved on in the 1960s and early 70s with Mod and later the skinhead cultures spilling onto the football terraces. This brings us into the late 70s and the rise of Liverpool Football Club as a real force both in England and Europe. Around this time it is widely accepted that the casual subculture was born. As Liverpool fans followed there team all across Europe,they picked up expensive sportswear and designer labels found on the continent and not seen before in this part of the world. Sergio Tacchini, Fila and Lacoste tennis shirts were among the first must have items. Footwear was taking off too with Adidas being the brand of choice, and stories are told by older Liverpool fans that around this time other groups of fans would chant at them “Why are you wearing trainers? Is it so you can run away later?”.
Of course the rampant hooligan problem of the time had a cross over into this new casual subculture. If you were intent on causing trouble it made perfect sense to dress well, especially as the police at the time were still looking for skinheads. It would be dong the casual subculture a disservice though to suggest that they were all hooligans.
It was not long until all fans of all major English football clubs were jumping on the bandwagon and wearing the same brands. Over time non-football fans took on the style and made it more mainstream. The casual subculture still exists today but it can be hard to see at most grounds as they have been taken over by fans who come fully kitted out in replica shirts just incase there team needs a extra player.
So the next time you pass a designer label clothing shop, take a moment to remember that great Liverpool team of the late 70s and those fans who first brought alot of those labels to these shores.