Sports Editor Gabriel explores the world of football fashion and it's current trajectories.
For years, football has been intrinsically linked with the fashion world, yet the style often associated with fans and players alike is deplorably generalised and generally in line with that of JD sports promotional page. Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin has brought the beautiful game into his own hands by defying all fashion expectations associated with the modern-day footballer: he is truly bringing a unique sense of style back to the game. While your dad may point a judgemental finger at Calvert-Lewin when he misses a sitter on the television, the unsolicited aggression and homophobic slurs being thrown at a man who is by far the most fashion concious and stylistically influential footballer of our generation is contemptible.
The commitment Calvert-Lewin maintains towards his elegant style and high-end collaborations is admirable considering the difficult relationship fashion and football has had. His style prioritises a sense of individuality and self-expression, engaging in sartorial flamboyancy with his extensive handbag collection and iconic two pieces. Yet the fashion world generally associated with football is one submerged in anachronistic masculinity where men of all ages are required to adhere to the testosterone induced expectations of the ultra-fan or the high-flying premier league starter. Calvert-Lewin’s look encapsulates an escape from the sport; a modern pinnacle of football fashion that does not involve football at all. It seems that football fans fail to accept that this dedication to fashion may have nothing to do with them and that a footballer can be allowed an interest or too aside from the beautiful game. Is there such a taboo surrounding football fashion? Overpriced Palm Angels T-shirts coupled with a skin-tight pair of skinny jeans seem to get lauded by many, yet Calvert-Lewin’s Gucci overcoat is ridiculed, and people seem to accept that justifiable football criticism comes in the form of tweeting “maybe you should take your heels off Dominic”.
Somewhere in between Calvert-Lewin and your Stone Island sporting local is “blokecore”; a vintage football style that takes influence from the 80s and 90s. Here, people have been seen to sub out their overpriced C.P. company long sleeve for a bold vintage football shirt with many contemporary brands adopting their own stance on the style. Streetwear brand Palace have been known to replicate styles of old and have dedicated a series of football infused collections to iconic shirts from the past. This new-fangled trend has arrived amongst millennials and younger generations alike with battered Adidas gazelles, baggy faded jeans and a classic football shirt. In reality, the style seems to replicate the classic dad look seen across terraces throughout the UK for years. But blokecore is so much more than a look: it’s a nostalgic contemplation on football’s past; cheaper pints, a lack of sofa fans, and not a smartphone in sight. The gentrification of the sport we worship and the fashion we adore means we constantly look for originality and authenticity in an annoyingly saturated culture; here blokecore and Calvert-Lewin exemplify the individuality and expression needed to supersede the generalised expectations of fashion in football.
Calvert-Lewin stated in an interview with GQ that “Masculinity is about wearing the clothes on your back with confidence…So if you want to wear a skirt or a sarong that might divide opinion but you’re comfortable enough in your skin to do it regardless – that’s true masculinity”. Footballers, rightly, are afforded the space to express themselves away from the football pitch, yet some fans seem unwilling to accept it in the form of fashion. Hector Bellerin and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are pioneers in this sense. They are overlooking criticism and embracing what they love, a feat difficult to maintain in such a high-profile career. While your dad and his Stella may fail to appreciate a Prada suit or even a classic Gucci boot, the fashion world most certainly does. Striking is what he does best, may it long continue.
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