EXPLORING THE MOST CAPTIVATING CREST ORIGIN STORIES

Three lions, four birds, and a cross of the knights templar walk into a World Cup… The origins of global soccer crests is a tangled mess of lions, tigers, eagles and rosaries — as complex and intertwined as the beautiful game itself. Now that we’ve passed the knockout stages, here are a few of the best origin stories behind the sigils of our World Cup favorites.


JAPAN (The three-legged crow)
Japanese design culture has always a boasted a beauty rooted in being painstakingly well-considered. The nation’s soccer kits for their beloved “Samurai Blue” are no different. The JFA crest prominently depicts the Yatagarasu – the three-legged crow – who in Asian myth serves as a kind of avatar for divine intervention or a messenger from the gods. Under the crow’s front-most talon is, of course, the rising sun, emblematic of modern Japan. To this day, the winners of the “Emperor’s cup,” Japan’s oldest domestic trophy, are awarded a Yatagarasu emblem on their kit as a reward, further conflating Japanese monarchy with the divine.


MEXICO (El Tri)
El Tri’s current crest has been in rotation since ‘94 and shares the same eagle as the Mexican flag. But instead of the eagle perched on a cactus, it is instead rocking atop The Aztec calendar. That nod to the ancient Aztecs weaves a rich tapestry of Mexico’s indigenous iconography into the Passion and Orgullo (pride) of their soccer history.


FRANCE (Rooster)
Sometimes a simple pun, perhaps even a homonym, can stir up a symbol to last over 100 years. For many scholars, the fact that the Latin root for the region of Gaul (Gallus) was identical to the Latin word for the rooster (Gallus) served as a genuine LOL moment for the people of the Middle Ages. Oh, how these people would laugh at the pleasant coincidence while associating the Gauls with the attributes of a rooster: stubbornness and brazenness. Joke’s on them, the French would run with it and since 1909 Fédération Française de Football would march out onto the field of play with the proud rooster emblazoned over their heart. From Zizou and Thuram to Pogba and Griezmann, Les Bleus unleash the rooster’s crow of French culture and sport in 90-minute intervals.


BRAZIL (Seleção)
The iconic yellow and green adorned with its five World Cup victory stars are as iconic a brand as any in sporting culture. Yet, because of how vibrant and decadent the crest is, the cross anchoring it all often hides in plain sight. A second look will begin to avail the similarities of the crest shape and cross to that of Portugal, as the cross in the middle is a nod to the Portuguese Templar Knights in the Order of Christ’s Cross who uncovered a large portion of South America for Europe. The crest as a whole serves as a reminder that while the language of the nation may be rooted in Europe, the flair and joy is something uniquely made up of Brazil.


ENGLAND (Three Lions)
Ahhh, the originators of heraldry. Masters of lore and Knighthood, the English FA and the three lions have receipts going back as far as anyone when it comes to the genesis of the crest in culture. While the Three Lions are a living homage to the different iterations of King Richard the 1st’s coat of arms, the 10 Tudor roses scattered symmetrically across the shield represent the 10 regional branches of the FA. On a stage crowded by large felines, the English may just have the most iconic rendition.


RUSSIA (Double-headed Eagle)
From our lovely tournament host comes some of the most brazenly gangster symbols in World Cup history. Taken straight from the Russian coat of arms. the two (well, three when counting the two heads of the eagles) are the double-headed eagle of Ivan III and a sigil of St. George trampling a dragon. With both Byzantine and Hittite origins (that one’s for you AP Euro nerds) the hosts showcase an equally rich tradition of heraldry as that of Western footballing nations. Their bold crest serves as a reminder that no two eagles are alike.

SCOUTING REPORT: RED STAR FC COACH JACKET

The beautiful game of soccer truly speaks a universal language. Our collective love for the world’s sport breaks all boundaries and connects international borders. City Boys FC, a small soccer-inspired streetwear brand from Tokyo has recently collaborated with Red Star FC, a club that is also small in size, but large and rich in history, to release the “Red Star FC Coach Jacket” as part of a full collection which includes T-Shirts, socks, and a jacket. Ex-Manchester United and Red Star FC player describes the latter Parisian club perfectly: “Red Star is an underground, romantic, popular football club where there is absolutely no social status. People love it because it still has that old-school football vibe. The club was not built for just victory and winning. It is a very powerful symbol of freedom and creativity. Not a lot of clubs have that natural credibility.” Bellion currently serves as the Creative Director for Red Star and has been taking significant strides on putting Red Star FC on the map in a way where bigger clubs like neighboring PSG probably will struggle to emulate. Being the oldest soccer club in Parisian territory, Red Star FC has built a natural credibility with its supporters and its culture where other big clubs like PSG will feel challenged by the influx of big corporation influence and touristic environment. That does not mean PSG’s culture and credibility is any less or worse, but it’s just different. I think the decision for Red Star FC to have a full collection with a small Tokyo based clothing brand shows their reach and their ambition to continue in growing their value in working with authentic people that are in the “scene,” versus a going with a big name brand for sake of status.

Overall Design: This jacket had one design concept in mind and that was to keep it simple and clean. The whole jacket is black with exceptions in red for the embroidered Red Star logo on the front and the “RED STAR FC” font on the back. The collars add a nice classy touch to the overall design, and the jacket resembles a classic bomber jacket without the “puff.” For some, this may be too minimalist of a design, but Red Star FC is a club that values the story and its identity over results on the pitch and I think this jacket does a good job in bringing the spotlight to the main character of the story.

Score: 5/5


Functionality: What good is a good looking jacket if it’s not going to keep you warm? I was just in Toronto this past weekend and decided to wear this for the trip. Coming from Los Angeles, I forgot how cold winter weathers were. I was a bit worried at first but I have to give it to the City Boys team, they managed to kill it in both criteria of design and functionality.

Score: 5/5


Wearability: This type of jacket is probably one of my favorites to wear right now. Nothing too bulky and heavy with a good semi-shine material to give you a darker/urban vibe, and not just because of its black colorway. I wouldn’t really recommend this jacket on a slightly chillier night in spring as it has faux fur in the inner linings, which may lead you to unwittingly sweat as soon as the day heats up.

Score: 4/5


Details: For this piece I’d like to give a shout out to the details and how this jacket was put together in terms of stitching and choice of materials/fabric, and not in its design. The design is sleek and minimal and thus did not require too much attention, but you would appreciate the details in the overall fit and how comfortable it is when you actually wear it. As mentioned, the inside of the jacket is made with faux fur which adds another level of richness to the overall experience.

Score: 4/5


Technology and Innovation: I think the faux fur inside of the jacket really caught my attention and had a good first impression on me when I first wore the piece. It was not something that I was expecting from my first look at the exterior, and the fact that it wasn’t just a cheap shell of a jacket was innovative in its own way. Nothing too advanced in the design aspect, but overall I am impressed with this latest release by City Boys FC and Red Star FC.

Score: 3/5

You can now shop the Red Star Coach Jacket from Red Star FC’s website or from RBC for US customers

FLOWERS & FOOTBALL – A MATCH MADE IN ARTISTIC HEAVEN

To commemorate adidas Football’s release of the international away kits in March, Kicks to the Pitch mixed foreign with familiar.

As the Los Angeles flower market is a staple to locals, fashionable kits are a statement in soccer. To honor the tradition of each, the jerseys were paired with flowers to highlight the unique colors and designs featured from each country. Arguably the best designs in the entire drop are featured below, including Argentina, Colombia, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Russia and Spain. The colors are vibrant and bold, fresh and unexpected from adidas, with eye-catching designs that complement the traditional three stripes from the brand. The subtle details and patterns on each jersey blossomed into something beautiful with each as unique and tasteful as the last. The integrity of the kits remains the same – the country’s crest on one side and adidas’ distinguished logo on the other. The jerseys will make their appearance at the World Cup this year, which kicks off June 14th in Russia.

Check out the photos by Emily Acosta below:

SHUKYU MAG’S ISSUE 5 TALKS TECH WITHIN SOCCER CULTURE

SHUKYU magazine, for those who are unfamiliar, is a print effort out of Tokyo, Japan that introduces the realm of soccer through themes, topics, and categories that branch out into the creative sphere. While soccer – or football to the rest of the world – is without a doubt a leading sport the world over, there’s unfortunately only a handful of printed publications that do an amazing job at encapsulating the many facets of the sport’s culture. SHUKYU is one such example of doing it right, made obvious through its creative design, quality of writing, level of content and its overall aesthetic.

First debuted back in May of 2015, the magazine is now five issues strong, having just released its Issue 5 only a few days ago. Dubbed the “TECHNOLOGY ISSUE,” the book delves into the integration of technology within soccer culture, with themes revolving around how we view games in today’s world, how social media is changing the landscape, and even what the near and far future may look like, which could very well include robot players apparently. “We as football fans watch live matches on our smartphones, access daily information via social networking platforms, and are further approaching times in which we read articles that have been written by AI. Who knows that in 50 years or so robots will be playing at the World Cup, and events beyond our wildest imagination may be taking place,” states the mag’s Editor Takashi Ogami in the Editor’s Notes.

However worry not if you’re one of those “AI technology will be the end of humankind” types, as, despite its exploration into the positives and negatives of technology within soccer culture, the issue settles on the fact that “football is football so long as there are 22 players that run across the pitch aiming for the goal and pursuing the ball, and the enthusiasm and excitement of watching a match in the stadium is the same in any era.” With great articles coupled with stunning visuals under a very pleasing design, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pick up a copy of SHUKYU Magazine No.5 TECHNOLOGY ISSUE.

Head over to its online store here to order yourself a copy for ¥1,500 JPY (approximately $14 USD), as well as copies of their back issues, and although they’re written in Japanese, each copy comes with an English translation booklet. The store also features special collaborative merch that we can totally get behind, such as hilariously kitsch T-shirts, socks, and accessories, including the awesome “Yellow and Red Card” series with Hender Scheme. For now, check out a few examples of what you’ll find in issue 5 throughout.