FEMALE IS FOOTBALL: ANEESHA DEWSHI

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Aneesha “Neesh” Dewshi is a self-proclaimed jack of all trades. A creative based in London she has been working in the fashion PR industry for more than 8 years. Born and raised in the UK, football and sneakers have been a part of her life since primary school. Neesh also is a co-founder of the creative football collective called Romance FC. The collective located in Hackney, East London is a female football club created out of the love of the beautiful game and a desire to find like-minded womxn.

Follow Neesh: @crayfish8

Photos: @richimpossible

Tell us a little about where you are from and you and your family’s background. 

I grew up in a city called Nottingham, which is located in the heart of the East Midlands in the UK. Although my parents are Indian, they like many others were born and raised in East Africa and came to the UK in the late 1970s when my grandparents decided to make the move.

Where, when, and how did your connection with the game of football begin?

I was first introduced to football through my dad, as he’d always have it on the TV. Whether it was MOTD (Match Of the Day) or the Champions League, it would always be on in the house. We were quite a sporty family growing up, so football was always a game we’d be playing at family gatherings.

When I went to primary school, my parents used to have a car share system in place with a couple of other families. Which meant that each parent took it, in turn, to drop and collect the kids from school. So I’d play with the boys during school breaks and then after school on the street in between parked cars, whilst we were waiting to be picked up.

Talk to us a little about what you do for work.

I’ve been working as a Fashion & Lifestyle PR for the past 8 years across a number of global clients. It can be quite demanding at times but every day is different. I always say to work in the PR, you must be a jack of all trades because you never know where certain projects will take you.

When did your love for sneakers and streetwear begin? 

I would say my earliest memories of my love story with sneakers started at primary school. We had to wear a school uniform but there was no rule for footwear, which meant we could wear sneakers. So from my early years, I was stunting on the playground in the freshest kicks – the other kids didn’t know what hit them!

The first pair of kicks that I recall I had were a pair of Fila basketball high tops, they were all white with the iconic navy and red branding. After that I had a pair of adidas Galaxy with pops of orange and navy, I think this is where my love for running silhouettes came from. Then came the most memorable sneaker of my younger years, mainly because I had to really work the charm on my parents for them. It was my first pair of Nikes, so it was a big moment and also a big shock to my parents when they had to part ways with their hard earned cash. As soon as I saw the Nike Air More Uptempo in the store, I knew I had to have them. They were the OG black/white colourway with the big “AIR” across each side panel side, they were big, brash and bold—and I wanted them more than anything. I have so many fond memories stomping around the playground and attempting to run around in those chunky basketball sneakers. So much so, that when the retro came out a few years ago, I had to cop.

Working with clothing, footwear and fashion how do you see those three things merging with the game of football on or off the pitch?

I think fashion, footwear, and football have always gone hand in hand from the early days of terrace culture with people consciously seeking premium Italian fashion brands such as Stone Island and CP Company to team up with their Adidas to now, where you see many fashion brands adopting football culture and style such as the last Off White x Nike football collaboration, which saw a range of shirts and even boots adorned with the unmistakeable Off White branding. 

Another example of this is when Nike launched the Nigeria kit last Summer ahead of the World cup, there was so much hype built around the launch, similar to that of a sneaker release and of course the kit was straight up fire, so unsurprisingly it sold out within seconds.

So, I have to ask, what professional team do you support in the UK? If that team is not your hometown team, then why?

My team has always been and always will be the Red Devils aka Manchester United. Now, I know what you may be thinking.. but she’s not from Manchester! Well, my love for United started when I was a young girl watching United play in the early/mid-’90s. It was Eric Cantona who really drew me to the team, I loved his energy on the pitch, always creating chances, scoring goals with such flair and creativity, it had me in awe. I always thought that there was certain arrogance to the way he played, obviously, he did get into a bit of trouble but I liked that bad boy streak in him.

We had a good run when Cantona joined and had other young top class players on board like; David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, and Andy Cole who all made watching United play so mesmerizing.

I want to talk about Romance FC. For those that don’t know, give us a little background.

Romance FC is a creative football collective that we built in Hackney, East London out of the love and frustration of the beautiful game and the lack of spaces where you find like-minded womxn. When we started the team in 2012 we were originally called Boiler Room Ladies FC where we met at the early Boiler Room nights, shared a love of music and trained alongside the guy’s team. When we first started playing, we noticed that there weren’t many other casual womxn’s grassroots football teams around London and we struggled for a few years to even find any that we could play friendlies against. Then over the years, we started to see more womxn’s teams cropping up in London and were playing against them in tournaments, which was fantastic. However, we were left consistently frustrated in the way these tournaments were executed as we always came across misogyny and tokenism, which left us feeling pretty deflated.

So in 2016, we decided that enough was enough and we hosted our own womxn’s football tournament called—Playing For Kicks. We created a safe space for womxn and non-binary folk to come to play and enjoy a day of great football and music all designed and executed by ourselves.

Now coming into its fourth year, we’ve seen the tournament grow from strength to strength, with teams participating from key cities in the UK and even France. Each year we take on more teams, splitting them into groups based on their ability levels to ensure that all teams feel confident and encouraged in their groups. We want to lead by example and encourage young womxn and girls to take up spaces and continue to play sport, therefore we always include a junior football match within the programming of the tournament where they can experience all the elements surrounding the game. Football is there for everyone.

In the lead up to the World Cup, we will be hosting a very special Spring Kicks womxn’s tournament on 11th May in London—this will be our biggest tournament to date as we will have a total of 28 teams participating. Expect some amazing football, DJ sets from some of the best womxn in London and strictly good energy only. Head over HERE for more details.

What was the process like working with Nike to create the capsule collection?

Nike has followed our journey from the early days of Romance FC. At the end of 2017, we were contacted and asked if we wanted to design a kit for the team. This had been a dream of ours since the beginning of Romance FC’s journey. Before getting overly keen on the idea, we asked how much creative freedom we would have—we think big and create with the heart so it was key to know where we stood. 

Luckily we were given complete freedom to design what we wanted, excluding the cut of the top. Founding Manager Trisha Lewis and Design Artist Aimee Capstick designed the kit and typography, which took inspiration from classic geometric print football shirts of the 80s/90s and a gradient colour fade to recreate the evening sunset over our favourite park to play in during the summer evenings in Hackney.

Following the submission of our design, we were approached with an opportunity to then work on a global project with Nike Football for the Nike By You program. This would be the only womxn’s jersey included in the launch, which would then be sold on their site.

From the get-go, we expressed that in order for this to work and be authentic, we would have to have creative control to tell our own story. This was a lengthy process, communicating with multiple teams within the company but finally, we got the sign-off and the rest is history.

We then honed all our skills and fields of expertise together to create our own shoot photographed by Striker Stephanie Sian Smith. This imagery was then used by Nike to accompany the product being sold online.It was a great opportunity to work collaboratively with a global brand in this way, whilst still retaining autonomy. As I am sure you can see, we are really happy with the outcome and proud to wear our kit on and off the pitch.

From your perspective, is the perception of women’s football changing in the UK and Europe and do you think projects like the one with Romance FC and Nike are helping?

Football is the most watched sport in the UK, with the Premier League being the most prestigious league in Europe. Growing up all I would see on TV and hear would be men playing football. I had played football at primary school with my friends and briefly picked it back up again in Secondary school when we had a women’s team, which lasted all of three games. Unfortunately, that’s where my experience playing football stopped until I picked it back up again in 2012.

I believe that the perception is changing, slowly but it is changing. We see more coverage in the media of the women’s games, the level of the professional women’s teams has propelled due to financial backing enabling these players to solely focus on football like their male counterparts.

I feel that projects like the Romance FC collaboration with Nike Football helped to generate awareness but it is the hands-on approach of local communities, grassroots projects and local initiatives like Hackney Laces #lacesfamily and East London Ladies that are really making a difference.

What are 3 go to sneakers for you right now?

Converse x Brain Dead (can’t take these off!)

Mizuno Wave Rider OG

Nike Air Max 95 x Atmos

What are you listening music wise at the moment? 

I listen to a wide cross-section of music across a number of genres, but it if I look through my most recently played we have; Noname—who I recently saw on her Room 25 tour, Slowthai—one of the best sounds coming out of the UK right now, Koffee—because the Rapture EP is sensational and Rosalia—whose voice is so unusual and captivating that I forget that I actually can’t understand Spanish!

Who are you rooting for in the world cup this summer?

England of course, the Lionesses are on really good form!

For someone visiting London for the first time and that wants a more “lifestyle” tourist experience, give us your must dos/visits for: 

Too many to list but below are some of my all time favs:

Sneaker Shop: Sneakers n Stuff and Pam Pam (great selection of women’s kicks in both)

Clothing: Goodhood

Food: Troy Bar (Shoreditch) for some of the best Jamaican food in East London, BBQ Dreamz(various locations). incredible Filipino inspired street food in London and The Shoreditch Stop, which is an unassuming off license that sells delicious homemade curries to take away and is always mad busy.

 

UNBOXING | ADIDAS PREDATOR ARCHIVE PACK

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For this episode of KTTP Presents | Unboxing we take a look at the adidas Predator archive pack. We have some guest hosts on this episode all the way from the UK. Kish Kash and Neesh linked up in London to hold it down for KTTP. They look at the pack created to commemorate 25 years of Predator. The pack includes a remake of both the Predator Precision worn by David Beckham and the Predator Accelerator, worn by Zinedine Zidane. Both boots are reimagined in colorways matching the personalities and careers of the football greats that made history and so many memorable moments in the silo.

THE JUMPMAN ON THE PITCH

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About six months ago I wrote a piece on the website where I stated that lifestyle and soccer had come to a peak with the collaboration of PSG and the Jordan Brand. When I first learned about the range, I was just a fanboy searching through all the press releases and images of the collection online and getting my wallet ready to buy the entire collection. The collection that represented, so perfectly, everything that we’ve been talking about at KTTP for the past four years. 

At that time it was a far-fetched notion of mine to shoot the iconic collection in action on the pitch. But just like a lot of my great notions in recent years, far-fetched isn’t always so far off. On the back of 2 and a half weeks of bouncing around cities in the UK and Europe fate would have it that PSG and Man U were meeting in the Champions League at the same time we were in Paris. 

The football gods smiled on me and the far-fetched idea became reality. I was blessed with the opportunity to shoot the second leg of PSG’s Champions League quarterfinal with Manchester United in Paris. The stage was set, and thanks to the homies at PSG, my photographer credential was set as well. 

The day before the match, I visited the PSG training facility to shoot the first 15 minutes of training. I got an up-close look at the training outfits. Bold red mixed with black pants spoke to that iconic “BRED” colorway that Jordan Brand has made infamous. Mbappe broke out the special edition Jordan Vapors. In the corner of the trainging ground stood two basketball hoops next to a soccer goal, painting a quite literal picture of the combination of two worlds. 

On match day the energy was buzzing from the streets to the metro, this was no ordinary day. One thing that was different for me, was waiting until the evening for the match to start. In the US I’m accustomed to watching Champions League matches at lunchtime. That wait intensified my anticipation. The combination of it being my first Champions League match (as a photographer and/or spectator), my first match at Parc des Princes, the significance of the match, and the thought that this far-fetched drea, was actually happening made for a few nerves. And then it rained and continued to rain pretty much the entire match. 

The rain set a unique frame for a match that held such significance. And while the result didn’t have PSG shining in the end, the Jumpman on the pitch definitely did. It wasn’t just the kits during the match. From the aforementioned “BRED” warmup/training fits to the all black coaching gear to bright white Flyknit pregame track tops to seeing fans rock both the home and the away kits in the stands (I didn’t see anyone with my coaches jacket though)–it was evident Jordan Brand and PSG came correct on all levels with this one. I even got a bonus snap of a fellow photographers fire on feet with his Jordan 1s. 

Of course, the black “home” kits did not disappoint visually on the pitch. Whether it was the whole team huddled together in moments like the team photo and celebrating the first goal or an individual player coming over to the corner flag to take a corner, the black kits with white the Jumpman showed out. No lie, every time I put my camera to my eye I said to myself, “man those kits look good.” Down to the Jumpman over “Paris” on the socks, all the little details of this kit just work.

One thing I did notice was missing, was the Jumpman on the feet of Mbappe. Now, I know this was probably due to some contractual obligations and what not, but still, a match of this level and a player of Mbappe’s level, you want the potential man of the night rocking the Jumpman on feet. Regardless of that omission (and of course the outcome of the match),  photographing the Jumpman on the pitch was well worth it. Jordan Brand set the bar high for themselves with this one, we are all waiting for next season. Too soon, too soon, I know.

WORLD SOCCER SHOP x KTTP PRESENTS | KIT STORIES: BEN CHI

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Kits Stories is a series in which we tell the uniques stories of individuals through the kits that have made an impact on their lives. This first installment of Kit Sotires features Ben Chi, the Manager of Brand and Community for LAFC, founder of the dope soccer lifestyle brand FC Dorsum and member of the KTTP family. Ben helped KTTP get off the ground and was integral in the vision of KTTP coming to life. Through the story of his kits we got to know more about where his passion for kits started and how he turned his passion for the beautiful game into a career.

THIS WEEK IN KITS

With the World Cup hangover in full effect, this week’s excitement from the world of kits may just be what the doctor ordered. With so much going on though, it might be too easy to lose track of all that was this week in kits. Luckily, KTTP is here to provide some clarity on exactly what kits we should prescribe ourselves as well as those we might survive without.

Without further ado, let the recap begin.


JUVENTUS

On top of their mega signing, Juventus held on to the headlines this week with their solid third kit option for the upcoming season. Though adidas is taking a page from Nike this year by essentially using the same template for all third kits, this template is stylish and modern enough for me to get over this fact. Add to it Juventus’ now all too common Scudetto and Coppa Italia badge, as well as Ronaldo’s number 7 and you, might easily have one the best selling jerseys to come out of this summer.


MANCHESTER UNITED

Next in the recap is Manchester United. Though not the best United kit I have ever laid eyes on, I like the fact that adidas designers are at least trying out something new in light of the fairly safe and conservative designs we’ve seen since the adidas takeover. This number pays homage to United’s railway heritage with a clever train track graphic that runs from the bottom to the top of the jersey. The overall design might not be new when it comes to the world of soccer as a whole, but that might just be where the appeal of this jersey is as it offers something new yet still familiar.


BAYERN MUNICH 

From not trying to reinvent the wheel, we move on to a team that is really going in a whole new direction. The new Bayern Munich away kit is what I like to call the mint chocolate chip look. I don’t use this description as a wholly derogatory term as I really do appreciate the color Bayern has brought on. I simply just think this kit is just far too simple and just needs a little something more to be truly icy, fresh, or whatever other word you want to use.


BLACKBURN ROVERS

Championship side Blackburn Rovers has also decided to switch up the color palette. In this case, the team does it for its home kit and the decision proves to be absolutely brilliant. The new touch of sky blue which now stands in place of the typical royal blue offering adds a greater touch of class that complements the club’s badge and retro Umbro diamond sleeves to perfection. This is one kit I call H2T good. Props to anyone who gets that reference.


HULL CITY

As we move on, the English Championship keeps my attention as Hull City is another club doing great things. In contrast to Blackburn, Hull sticks with a familiar away look with this black jersey with orange accents. Surely, it is a simple design, however, that collar and the way this color palette accentuates the club badge is enough for me to be wooed by this kit.


CHELSEA

Speaking of simple, it might not get any more simple than Chelsea’s new away jersey for this season. This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing because as much as I wanted to hate Chelsea’s jersey, I find myself really loving this design. Its definitely just another template look, however, the jersey’s yellow color with hints of blue are just too damn sharp and classic to overlook.


PUMAS

Even though this was a recap rather than a countdown of this week’s kits, I can’t help but end on the highest of notes. For that reason, I end this recap with Mexico’s Pumas who are the only team to lend not one, but two solid kit options. The range demonstrated in these kits is what really wins me over. On one hand, I have the home shirt which is everything I want and expect with that giant Puma logo, and on the other is the away shirt which relegates the Puma to your typical club badge with a classic pinstripe soccer look to go with it.

Though I am not making any decisions for now on which ones to buy, some of the kits I have covered this week have certainly made a compelling argument. Share your thoughts in the comments below on which kits you think will hold up to be some of this summer’s most memorable.

KITS FOR DAYS: OUR PICKS & PASSES ON RECENT KIT DROPS

With most of our attention in the next few weeks shifting to the World Cup, some of the biggest clubs are adamant that we don’t forget about them. This past week provided us with a bevy of kit releases so it is only natural that I feel the need to share my thoughts on some of the hits and misses, which I might either pick up or pass up in the hopes of one day being able to say “I got kits for days.”

MANCHESTER UNITED

I’ve started the recap off with one of the strongest showings of the week courtesy of Manchester United. The color choice from adidas is one of the best they’ve put out since taking over from Nike. The shades of blue are the perfect touch of modern for a jersey that is ironically historically inspired by United’s 1968 European Cup victory. The biggest win for this jersey specifically, however, is how more palatable it has made the usually off-putting Chevrolet sponsor logo.


MANCHESTER CITY

From a strong showing, we move on to a release that leaves us wanting a little more. In typical fashion, Manchester City is afraid to rock its boat when it comes to its home kit. Its jersey is essentially another simple design with only one feature working for it. That is, of course, the button collar previously seen on the France home jersey which adds just a nice touch of class to an otherwise less than unique design.


ROMA

Roma has been as conservative as Manchester City with its home look. This year, however, seems to be the exception as Roma present a chainmail print jersey inspired by Roman gladiators. This is a look I can definitely vibe with considering it makes me think of one of my favorite movies. That being said, this alone is not enough to sell me on the design. Funnily enough, I wish Roma had won some competition this year such as the Coppa Italia or the league, as an additional badge or some sort of additional sleeve detail would make this shirt slightly more interesting.


CHELSEA

Chelsea’s jersey is another design that I consider a step in the right direction despite the fact that it does not completely win me over. While I like Nike’s modern touch on a classic soccer look through its unique take on the jersey’s red and white horizontal stripes, I still keep thinking the best accent color for a Chelsea jersey should always be gold. Those who remember Chelsea’s 2005 Umbro design or even its 2008 adidas home jersey will know exactly what I am talking about.


PSG

PSG is a team I have come to hold high expectations. Their new home jersey, however, is not as innovative as I would have hoped as PSG has merely integrated the sleeve detail of Nike’s Vapor template into the central band of its signature and traditional look. Do not get me wrong though, as I still consider this a solid look. Recent years have taught me to hold on to my money until I have seen all PSG has to offer as either the team’s away or more likely third jersey will be sure to blow me away.


BAYERN MUNICH

It is only right that I finish off this recap with one of the best reveals of this week. This honor goes to Bayern Munich who presented a design that continues with the retro aesthetic we have already seen from adidas. In this design, what needs to be stressed is the fact that Bayern has not recycled some old design, but instead presents a print that is uniquely theirs through an abstract take on the diamonds of the Bavarian flag and the M’s of Bayern’s well known “Mia San Mia” phrase. Just short of perfect, this jersey lacks simply a navy collar which might have provided a better balance for the navy sleeve cuffs.


Yes, I am critical even of the best designs. You probably are too so make sure to comment below and share your own thoughts on the jerseys presented this past week that you’ll be looking to add to your own collection.

THIS WEEKS INSTAGRAM BEST 11

As most major leagues across the planet wind down, brands/teams are quick to get the jump on next years kit releases. Man United, City, Bayern, Roma, PSG and others have already unveiled some of their 18/19 offerings with many more sure to follow suit. From jerseys to boots, soccers biggest keep it moving in time for the World Cup as Nike drop the “Just Do It” collection and New Balance release the pristine “Otruska Pack”. Elsewhere Waka Flocka hangs out with Edgar Davids for an Atlanta United match and Sergio Ramos flexes his Off White Vapormax’s.

So that was El Clasico 🍿

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Coming soon

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SCOUTING REPORT: ZLATAN THE TAEKWONDO MASTER

We’re all used to it by now. We’ve seen it a countless number of times from the Swedish giant Zlatan Ibrahimovic dominating the soccer pitch week in, week out. What makes him so great is not solely because of the number of goals he’s scored, nor because he’s won league titles in every league he has played in with the exception of the EPL. He is recognized as a one of a kind because of the manner in which he has done everything from day one of his career. He is probably one of the few players – minus Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar – to have so many goals that are just jaw-dropping. He’s done it so many times that you expect nothing less from him, but still, when they happen again, it never ceases to amaze you. With all that said, did you know that behind his worldly talent in soccer, Zlatan earned a black-belt in taekwondo as a 17-year-old in his hometown of Malmö? And to further his credibility, he’s even received an honorary black-belt from the Italian national taekwondo team in 2010. Putting the two pieces together, I think it’s safe to assume that his outrageous acrobatic goals can be credited to his background in the ancient Korean martial art.

This week’s Scouting Report will cover the latest “Taekwondo FC” tee collection by Nivelcrack, one of our favorite soccer streetwear brands from Korea, recognizing the taekwondo-soccer master himself: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Overall Design: This isn’t the first time Nivelcrack has released a “Taekwondo FC” tee. Their first release was based on the time when Diego Maradona faced Korea at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, and the Koreans used their taekwondo skills to stop him from his domination. This new collection takes the same approach and illustrates Zlatan doing a jumping taekwondo kick on the soccer field during his time at Manchester. The collection comes in two colorways of blue and red. The meat of the design is on the back of the shirt, while the front of the shirt simply reads “Taekwondo Futbol Club.” Overall I think the design is cool and the colorways are dope.

Score: 4/5


Functionality: I own these myself and can safely say that they’re of great quality. You don’t have to worry about them fading away like some of the 100% cotton tees out there.

Score: 4/5

Wearability: It was a perfect time for Nivelcrack to release this collection as for the past couple weeks Zlatan has been grabbing all headlines in soccer through his move to the MLS with LA Galaxy. His debut goals to snatch a comeback win in their first ever LA derby against LAFC brought more spotlight his way, and he’s also been making some appearances on very popular shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live. Summer is upon us here in LA, and it’s only going to get hotter. It’s perfect to match the heat with this refreshing design of a T-shirt. The pieces will definitely turn heads if you wear it to an LA Galaxy home match or anywhere in LA where Zlatan has been the focus of the city for that matter!

Score: 4/5


Details: Without the number of details on the design, it would be difficult to tell which player the T-shirt is recognizing as the main drawing can easily be seen as just an outline of a person. However, Nivelcrack has done a good job of maintaining some key features of Zlatan so that any true fan will be able to immediately point out that it’s the lion himself.

Score: 4/5

Technology and Innovation: Not much innovation here in terms of design as it is a traced sketch of an actual photo, and also the fact that its a continuous release of the “Taekwondo FC” tee collection, but the overall concept of these are great and fresh.

Score: 3/5

You can now purchase the Taekwondo FC tee collection by Nivelcrack from RBC.