The Football Casual
There is one sub culture that is often over looked when it comes to influencing popular fashion, this sub culture is one that has no class bounderies and it has been going strong for over thirty years. It is found all over England, it has organised groups and it has influenced the rest of the world. This fashion or look is the one of the Football Casual.
It comes in many forms, sometimes smart, sometimes sporty but always clean, tight and very expensive.
A little history.
The football casual movement really started in the late seventies when Liverpool FC were playing a lot of European games, the fans would head out to away games in Italy and France and come back with handfuls of expensive clothing.
English football fans have always dressed up for the games, whether it was the Teddy Boy movement in the fifties or the Mod movement in the sixties, fashion and football have always been mixed but it wasn't until the late seventies that fans got a look that they could call there own.
At the very start it worked in the fans favour as the police were always on the look out for Skinheads and Mod revivalists when they were searching out hooligans, the lads in the expensive clothing just slipped through, but this wasn't going to last for long.
Soon the police became aware of this latest trend and once photos started appearing in the newspaper the Football Casual was born and they became public enemy number one on match days.
Some of the brands to be seen in.
CP Company : We might as well start with the jacket that you will see on the front of most books that deal with Football Casual's, the CP Company Goggle Jacket. This jacket is instantly recognisable because of the goggles which fold down from the hood. These goggles were originally design for motor sports but they were perfect for disguising your face. These jackets were also waterproof and warm which is perfect for those cold wet days on the English terraces.
Adidas : Now Adidas was a company well known in casual circles, but not so much for the clothing but for its trainers. Classic shapes such as the Adidas Gazelle, Adidas Stan Smith and Adidas Samba were staples for the lads at the weekend. They had a more European look than their rivals Nike and they fitted in with the tight look perfectly.
Benetton : This French company was best known for it's rugby and polo shirts which normally featured a thick band across the front with Benetton logo printed on it.
Stone Island : Coming from the same parent company as CP Company, Stone Island are known for their extremely well made clothing which sported a compass badge on the arm. In fact this badge has became so associated with hooliganism that you will be turn away from most pubs on match day when wearing it.
Lacoste : This is another French brand that became very popular in the scene, they were best known for their polo shirts which were well cut and came in every colour you could imagine. Their tracksuits also became popular in the nineties but this was more in the casual revival.
CP Company Goggle Jacket.
Benetton Rugby Shirt.
Stone Island Jumper.
The fall of the Casual.
With the up rise of Rave and Acid House culture in the late eighties and early nineties the violence in football started to die out as hooligans were now meeting each other on the dance floor under the influence of ecstasy. Although this could be seen as a good thing for society, it wasn't a good thing for the fashion.
In the mid nineties there was a small revival in the form of Brit-pop but it was never the same, it ended up being a poor copy of the original with all the style gone. It became more about the labels than it did the style and this was shame, because any body can buy a Stone Island jacket but it is hard to make it look good.
The gap between the late eighties hay days of football fashion and now is over twenty years, and on the streets of England you can see the casual slowly starting to creep back in. Instead of being a copy of the fashions from before this time it is coming back with the same tight style but with more heritage brands.
This can only be a good thing as companies have been trying to relaunch the look for so many years but it has always looked contrived. This time Casual's are choosing British brands and classic English shapes. So if you see a smart looking kid wearing a Barbour jacket and some clean cut jeans there is a good chance he is off to a football game.