When down at the local on a Saturday afternoon, watching a mid-league Championship match and squashed between two old boys spilling warm Carling down your leg, the two industries of fashion and football can appear fathoms apart.
Indeed, due to the frequency at which he appears on billboards in briefs, a person young enough to have never seen David Beckham play for England or Man U, might well believe that the nickname ‘Golden Balls’ has nothing to do with his prowess in the football stadium.
Current players such as Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (both winners of the Ballon D’Or player of the year award) can spark trends and crazes in a moment after sporting new haircuts or wearing different boots on the pitch.
Both receive millions in advertising and sponsorship deals with fashion companies and Ronaldo has this year appeared with supermodel Irena Shayk on the cover of Spanish Vogue. Barcelona’s Neymar has recently done the same on the Brazilian edition of the glossie with model Gisele, and the French player Oliver Giroud caused a TwitStorm a couple of years ago when he appeared on the cover of gay magazine Têtu.
Of course it isn’t just impressionable youngsters that follow football fashion but grown adults as well. Throughout the World Cup the streets will be full of all types walking around in the national team’s shirt, from fanatic granddads to toddlers wrapped up in patriotic jerseys with painted flags on their cheeks. The St George’s flag is on sale throughout England fit with clips so to be used as a sari or skirt, or with a hood to wear as a poncho.
Shirts through the Years
When the national football shirt is unveiled, the qualities of the round-neck versus the V-neck suddenly become of great importance to those who are rarely interested in the world of fashion at any other time of the year. The retail site Zalando has this year put up a World Cup infographic displaying the shirts of the national football teams since the World Cup began. Apart from a few exceptions such as the USA, each country’s design is pretty uniform over the years.
Germany’s striking wing like design in 1994 stands out for its ecentricity, as does Chile’s Reebok 1998 shirt, but for the most part the teams have stuck to a national colour with minimal frills. This year Ghana’s shirt is the most flamboyant with the multicoloured collar inspired by the Kente cloth design, found on traditional Ghanaian clothing. Some might imagine that such a joyful pattern would uplift a team’s spirits whatever the result at full time.
For those of you who are uplifted at full time simply because it has arrived, why not the next time you are forced to sit through a match focus more on the fashion displayed than the football; and rather than following the score, compare the teams’ shirts, either those on the television screen or, if visually impaired, those slopped with Carling worn by the old boys either side of you.