THE BEST LIFESTYLE X SOCCER FASHION COLLABS

We as soccer fans will take anything that draws positive and unique attention to the game, especially attention from those who may connect with fashion but need another outlet to love soccer. Collaborations between brands can open doors for new and exciting products in the fashion world, and collaborations in soccer fashion have taken the game to new heights, and perhaps, more importantly, has expanded fanbases.

Here is a list of some highlights of projects that stood out in recent years. Though I was going to rank them, that became far too difficult. So instead we can just appreciate each for its unique contribution.

LEVI’S X LIVERPOOL FC:

Levi’s recently teamed up with Liverpool FC to add subtle twists on old Levi classics. At the heart of the collection is the 511 slim fit jeans with a twist. The iconic back patch got an upgrade to Liverpool red and this is probably the most noticeable change of all the pieces. My personal favorite is the Sherpa trucker jacket with a small “You’ll Never Walk Alone” hang tag at the base of the neck collar. The entire collection screams classic minimalist – something Levi Strauss Company has built a successful brand around.


SOPHNET. x NIKE:

SOPHNET, the Japanese Streetwear brand, partnered with Nike to create FC Real Bristol. Real Bristol is one of the first imaginary soccer clubs with its own clothing line. The line, since its first drop in 1999, has grown to be quite extensive with over 1,000 items for sale on their website. FC Real Bristol was one of the first of its kind and headlined the imaginary club with “fans” being buyers of the product. Being so new and innovative, it was easy to appreciate.


SUPREME x UMBRO:

Would any collaboration conversation be complete without headmaster Supreme? Before you groan, let’s check out the Umbro and Supreme mashup from 2005. You know… prior to the small logo on a Hanes white T-shirt days. An NYC skateboard label and one of the most prominent soccer brands of all time – two powerhouses to say the least. In 2005, soccer wasn’t exactly on America’s radar but Supreme confirmed (yet again) that they can work with anyone.


YOHJI YAMAMOTO X ADIDAS FOR REAL MADRID:

Probably the most badass idea of all, Yohji Yamamoto, a fashion icon of Japanese streetwear who spearheaded adidas’ Y3 line, designed jerseys for Real Madrid. Prior to this release, there were multiple fashion designers working for soccer clubs but their products stopped at the locker room with sweat suits and club shirts; Yohji’s made it on to the pitch. The kit features a slate grey half bird-half dragon over a black silhouette. Likely the easiest kit to transition from pitch to streetwear.


VIRGIL ABLOH’S OOFF WHITE x NIKE

Rounding out the list with arguably the most prominent fashion collaboration is Virgil Abloh’s “Off White” with Nike. Simply put, taking on a major brand like Nike and recreating over 10 classic silhouettes is a beast in itself. Bring that into the soccer realm and you’ve got streetwear-meets soccer-meets the mainstream audience. Pretty bold move if you ask me. Virgil ran with it and the “Off White” theme has exploded. From foams to Airmaxes and Jordans, to the Mercurial Vapor 360, the signature quotation marks have taken over their own piece of Nike’s dynasty. A collaboration list wouldn’t be complete without it.

KTTP’S NIKE SHOOT: OFF WHITE IN CHICAGO | KIM JONES IN LA

Before we all inevitably move on from the still-relevant, design-orientated Nike soccer collabs with Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones, we wanted to present our own effort at showcasing the two well-crafted collections. We come to you with a two-part fashion editorial where we took both collections onto the streets of two different U.S. cities. For Virgil’s Off White pieces, we decided to hit the hometown of the designer himself, Chicago, for a shoot featuring yours truly (they twisted my arm until I agreed to model for this…) as I gallivant about Wicker Park/Bucktown in an attempt to score myself a much-deserved donut, all captured by Turfmapp founder and photographer Trisikh Sanguanbun.

Our Kim Jones shoot, taken by long-standing HYPEBEAST photographer Aaron Miller, takes place in our own city of Los Angeles, where we bring on ex-pro soccer athlete and personal trainer Shawna Gordon, who joins me on the roofs of DownTown LA chasing after that city-synonymous sunset. Both editorials utilize the soccer-focused pieces under a more casual style sensibility, showing how one can wear – or even pair – the pieces off the pitch. Check out both shoots below.


OFF WHITE X NKE IN CHICAGO | THE DONUT HUNT IN WICKER PARK


KIM JONES X NIKE IN LOS ANGELES | WE COULD NEVER REACH THE MOON ANYWAY

RED STARS DEFENDER CASEY SHORT TALKS OFF-WHITE

Last weekend, Nike send us out to Chicago to experience the official event celebrating their soccer-inspired collaboration collection with one of today’s most coveted creatives Virgil Abloh and his brand Off-White, dubbed ‘Mon Amour.’ During the event, which as mentioned took place at the very city Abloh first called home, we were fortunate enough to sit down and chat with professional soccer player and defender of the Chicago Red Stars Casey Short, who came through to join in on the festivities of the day. If you’re just catching up on what went down at the ‘Mon Amour’ event in Chicago, head over to our official recap feature here. As for Casey, check out our exclusive interview below where we asked her to share her thoughts on the Off-White x Nike collection, who she’s rooting for in the 2018 World Cup, how she got involved in Nike in the first place and more.


So, first all we’re here in Chicago to experience the announcement of Off-White x Nike ‘Mon Amour.’ So to start, I wanted to get your thoughts and comments on the collection.
I think it’s so cool! I didn’t know a lot about it before, but I love the alternative take on the old-school soccer inspiration. It’s like a throwback but it’s still different and super cool. It’s not cookie-cutter like we see elsewhere sometimes – it’s very unique.

Talking about you now, how did you first get into soccer?
Honestly, it started as more of a social thing! All of my friends were doing it so I started it and then fell in love with the game.

Seeing as it’s World Cup season, are you gonna be watching the games?
Yeah, I will be, but obviously it’s a little bit sad that our men aren’t in it… I to for. So it’s tough – I don’t know who to root for.

If you had to choose, which country would you root for? AND who do you think will actually win?
OK, so for I think is going to win… Germany. And our team, we actuallydrew out of a hat for who to root for, and my team was Costa Rica so that’s who I’m actually rooting for!

Moving on now to you and Nike, tell us a little bit about your experience working with the brand as a professional athlete.
Oh, well, Nike has been phenomenal to me. I’ve always been a huge fan of their gear and their apparel – and of course their shoes. So to finally become an official ambassador, It means a lot to me. I mean, I’m literally obsessed with Nike, haha.

Is becoming a Nike ambassador somethingthat you ever thought would happen?
t was always the dream! But obviously there were a few step backs with injuries which m, ‘is this actually going to happen?.. was this meant for me?.. But that’s also when I realized just how badly I wanted it and how much this the game meant to me.

Images by Turfmapp/Trisikh Sanguanbun

RECAPPING NIKE CHICAGO’S OFF-WHITE ‘MON AMOUR’ EVENT

This past weekend Nike Football and its Chicago office flew us out to The Windy City to experience the official launch of Nike and Off-White’s much coveted ‘Mon Amour’ soccer-inspired collection. If you’re anything like us – which we’re assuming so hence being on this site – you’re already aware of Nike’s fashion-focused, soccer-inspired efforts with two much talked about designers: Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones. While both are connected by way of being fashion designers, as well as the fact that Abloh took over Jones’ Artistic Director position at Louis Vuitton, their respective collection with Nike couldn’t be any more different.

Jones’ “FOOTBALL REIMAGINED” collection takes on a more avant-garde, all-black aesthetic, whereas Abloh’s Off-White effort pulls design language directly from traditional soccer – or rather football – cues. But we’re not here to talk about the story behind both collections again as we’ve done that here, and a closer look at Jones’ collection is soon to come, so today is all about what we experienced while out in Abloh’s home city of Chicago for the ‘Mon Amour’ activation.

To begin, this was my first time in Chicago, and to avoid boring you with a Dear Diary entry on my personal thoughts and comments, I’ll leave you with I fast fell in love with the city. If you’ve been, I’m assuming you have similar sentiments. If not, I’m sure you’ve heard all about how great it is. The food, the people, the convenience… And no this isn’t sponsored by Chi-Town’s tourism board, it just honestly had a great weekend there! Having landed late on Friday night, it was pretty much a hotel room workstation set up for me save for a cheeky whiskey at a local sports bar down the road. Saturday was the main event day, so come the morning, I linked up with our lead photographer Trisikh from Turfmapp, his team and fellow soccer media man Cooper from Eight by Eight magazine.

We headed out to Douglas Park where Nike Chicago had set up a custom soccer field aptly entitled “HOME FIELD,” which took on the design elements we’ve been seeing from the Off-White x Nike soccer campaign. When we got there, the pitch was already scattered with a mix of Chicago’s local influencers, soccer fans, Nike reps and other well-styled individuals that are connected to the scene in some way or another. I had decided to put on the ‘Mon Amour’ long-sleeve jersey that was waiting in my hotel room upon arrival courtesy of Nike, which unintentionally landed me as the impromptu model for the collection for other media outlets.

Slowly but surely, the other guests started getting kitted out in their own ‘Mon Amour’ gear, putting me much more at ease – behind the camera is more my scene. After getting settled amidst tunes from KIDS SEE GHOSTS, Ye’s ye, and Pusha’s DAYTONA among others spun by DJ’s Vic Lloyd and Kid Clay, we were brought over to the Nike jersey custom station in collaboration with THE BRILLIANCE!. This involved picking out your own heat transfer prints, all custom designed specifically for the event, in a bid to come up with your own interpretation of a ‘Mon Amour’ jersey. After the workshop, guests started gathering in pre-determined teams for a 4v4 tournament, with Trisikh – a much better soccer player than myself – jumping in on behalf of KTTP.

The tournament was rapid fire, with a flurry of back and forths from the mix of players (and skills), but all in all, it was a good excuse to flaunt the ‘Mon Amour’ pieces like they were intended: on the pitch. After the tournament, we enjoyed a little bit of downtime before the “HOME FIELD” became open to the public, which naturally attracted a swarm of Nike fans, soccer heads, and honestly anyone at the park with or without a ball to come and kick around on the pristine pitch. All in all, the event was a great way to bring the Off-White x Nike ‘Mon Amour’ collection to life, all within the place that started it all for Abloh’s enthusiasm towards the beautiful game. Have a look at our exclusive visual recap of the event this past weekend, taken by Trisikh and team, then be sure to check back in for our very own on-the-street lookbook editorial featuring pieces from the colleciton.

KIM JONES/VIRGIL ABLOH: EXPRESSIONS OF SOCCER

In Desmond Morris’ introspective book The Soccer Tribe, famed-Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho states, “Those who only know football know nothing about football. Those who only see twenty-two men chasing after a ball fail to understand its geometry, its ballet, its psychological depth, its true nature. It is the most faithful representation of human nature and its many faces. It is a tribe where the rationale of tactics, emotion, and the fun of the game all prevail.”

Like the United gaffer, we believe the beautiful game is as much about cultural identity as it is about kicking the ball with your mates. This sense of identity can be seen everywhere, from the pubs and neighborhoods we call home, the clubs we cheer and agonize over, the boots you wear on the pitch to the music, clothing, and kits you don off it. Unlike any other sport, soccer has seamlessly integrated into every facet of culture to the point where it has engendered its very own pocket in the world of fashion.

Enter Kim Jones and Virgil Abloh, two lads who know a thing or two about fashion. Jones, the newly appointed Creative Director of Dior Homme, and Abloh, the man who has just replaced him as such at Louis Vuitton, are back again to stamp their mark at the helms of culture with their latest World Cup campaigns for Nike.

“FOOTBALL REIMAGINED,” as Jones has called it, is his way of reworking the perception of the football pastiche from the confines of the pitch to influences that extend as far as the avant-garde tailoring of London’s Kings Road, coupled with the latest technologies seen across our favorite sportswear garments.

When speaking on the former, Jones states “That whole punk era was all about proportions that gave power to the wearer. I was inspired by the idea of DIY of the time–cutting up and putting things back together–to create something new.” This inspiration has also led to an equally eye-catching sneaker which pays its respects to the iconic mercurial, along with three of Jones’ favorite Nike silhouettes: The Footscape, the Vandal and the Air Max 97.

Abloh, a man who has ascended the fashion ranks like a rocket, views soccer as a portal to his youth, where he remembers listening to hip-hop classics on his way to play high school soccer matches. Dubbed “Football, Mon Amour,” the collection features the Off-White boss’ many soccer memories–from the patterns and numbers he wore to the dots on the juggling lion crest, which Abloh explains is essentially the most optimal points in striking the ball.

When explaining the capsule’s Flyknit Zoom Fly, Abloh says “I wanted to communicate where a player strikes the ball. So, I put dots on the boot; if you’re going to strike the ball, your foot/eye coordination is basically the only variance of chance. That’s what the collection started with, these running shoes that mimic the same as your actual boot on the pitch so that you started subconsciously training all the time. Then I just applied that aesthetic from the bottom up.”

Already reeling off a series of massive campaigns (how about those Super Eagles), Nike is set to release another two smackers with FOOTBALL REIMAGINED, set to release on nike.com and select retailers on June 7, and the Nike x Off-White “Football, Mon Amour” capsule, set to launch on June 14. Have a look at the two collection’s official photo editorials respectively below.

OFF-WHITE MERCURIAL IN HAND: HAS OUR OPINION CHANGED?

Following our post on the announcement of the much talked about Virgil Abloh/Off-White rendition of Nike’s Mercurial Vapor 360, we managed to get our hands on a pair to truly see what all the fuss is about. Prior to that, we were basing our judgment on the quotes Nike News offered us from Abloh himself on the design and intention behind the boot, online reviews and comments, and our own opinions that took into account Abloh’s recent efforts towards the soccer realm – a conversation we went to lengths on in our KTTP Radio show.

Admittedly, from what I read about the Off-White Mercurials and the reasons behind Abloh’s designs, I wasn’t that impressed. It felt like the creative director/DJ was trying too hard to make himself and his soccer-related endeavors seem authentic when in reality, he only really played soccer during high school. That’s like saying I took a Judo class once in school and therefore I’m now a bona fide Judo fighter… While my sentiments on that remain, I will also admit that with the Mercurials in hand, I was surprised to find the attention to detail and the quality of the production was way better than what I had expected. That being said, was that in part due to Virgil Abloh’s input, or Nike’s continued effort at putting our quality products? Until we figure that out, check out our photo shoot of the shoes throughout for a closer look at the details.

ANIMAL PRINT STEPS OUT OF THE JUNGLE AND ON TO THE PITCH

For anyone that calls themselves a sneakerhead… in fact, most that are even remotely into sneaker culture will have seen at the very least one footwear iteration that boasts Nike‘s synonymous animal-inspired patterns & prints, be it from an Animal Pack or a Safari drop. The soccer realm, however, has finally received its long awaited follow up, Mercurial CR7 Safari being the first, into the animal kingdom – despite the amount of flash out on the market – thanks to renown fashion designer and director Kim Jones‘ efforts with Nike’s Mercurial Superfly 360. Cast in a blazing “Total Orange,” the boots’ upper brought on an all-over display of Cheetah-print, which in our opinion puts this design miles ahead of the game.

Now, you may be wondering why the ex-men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton and the now current artistic director at Dior Homme is adopting the pattern of a cheetah onto not just a shoe, but a soccer boot at that. The reason behind the design is refreshingly straightforward. “I grew up in Africa and have always admired the strength of animals. The cheetah is the fastest land animal, so it makes complete sense as an inspiration for me,” the designer tells Nike News. Jones is not the only one who within the past month has decided to put their creative touch on a soccer boot.

We of course have Virgil Abloh – who coincidentally took over Jones’ role at LV if for some strange reason you haven’t heard that news already – and his Off-White take on yet another Nike Mercurial: the Vapor 360s. However, his design has the people divided, with one side approving of the Off-White stamp, and the other questioning the authenticity of his involvement in the game. In Kim Jones’ case, there’s no statement given by the man that makes it sound like he’s a soccer head, but rather a nonchalant (and perhaps more believable) mention that he likes the sport. The focus of his shoe then lies on the purpose of the design and its aforementioned link back to Jones’ upbringing in Kenya and Botswana.

For us at Kicks to the Pitch, the Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 x Kim Jones boot falls exactly into our niche category of lifestyle and soccer, given the brand heritage of animal print, and how the Mercurials also followed the release of Nike’s Air Max 1 collaboration with Japanese sneaker and streetwear imprint Atmos. While animals patterns have been a recurring theme for not just Nike, but within the sneaker realm as a whole – think Vans, Supreme, Stussy, adidas, Jordan Brand, Reebok… the list goes on – Nike is without a doubt the head of the pack when it comes to tapping into the animal kingdom’s artwork. In fact, Nike and Atmos together have played a big role in imbuing the sneaker landscape with unmatched efforts in animal print; a case in point being the 2007 Atmos x Nike Air Max 1, Dunk & Court Force “Beast Pack.”

The recent release of the Atmos x Nike “Animal Pack,” however, which features the fur from the Leopard, Tiger, Zebra, Giraffe, and Horse, takes the whole animal print game to the next level. The combination of all five animals comes from the mind of Atmos’ creative director Hirofumi Kojima, and represents yet another example of when Nike trusts an outside creative to run with their wild ideas. Another example of that being Nike’s “What the” Dunks, and more recently the “What The” Mercurials. With the animal print – and the “What The” design for that matter – having expanded outside of lifestyle and into soccer territory, who knows what else we may be seeing in the near future, especially since the sport of soccer is really starting to make its way into more facets of both the mainstream and niche creative industries. Let’s just hope we get to see more authenticity within what’s to come as opposed to bandwagon jumping.

Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 x Kim Jones images by Richard Gordon