WSS x KTTP PRESENTS | KIT STORIES: DAVID VUJANIĆ

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For this edition of Kit Stories presented by World Soccer Shop, we meet up with Mr. “Have a Nice” himself, David “Vuj” Vujanić. Vuj takes us through his kit journey, from falling in love with the sport during the 1998 World Cup when he was captivated by the OG Ronaldo. Vuj recaps a story of a very unique Steven Gerard Liverpool kit that he owns and we learn about how a series of kits in his closet represents the different iterations of his family’s national heritage. His kit journey comes full circle at the 2018 World Cup in Russia when Serbia played Brazil in the group stages. Watch as Vuj passionately expresses his love for the football kit. “I love kits man, they’re just iconic. They represent a time. They capture moments. They transcend the game itself.”

Be sure to follow Vuj on instagram at:

@DVUJANIC

 

VINTAGE | A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT CLASSIC FOOTBALL SHIRTS

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We had the enviable opportunity to peruse the colors and crests on the racks of the Classic Football Shirts warehouse. Nestled in the shadows of Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, the aisles upon aisles of shirts and gear worn on the hallowed football pitches all over the world spark vivid memories tied to these historic pieces.

Each strip from the classic patterns down to the blood stains bring to mind moments cherished by footy fanatics far and wide. Moments that evoke a simpler time before every football fan had virtually every match from every corner of the globe streaming in their hands.

For Gary Bierton, preserving the moments and history before cell phones filled the stands, has been the mission for the passion project that first began in 2006 with the inception of Classic Football Shirts, founded by his older brother, Doug and friend Matthew Dale.

“It takes you back instantly, you know,” recounts Bierton as he sits in a warehouse with over twenty thousand kits ranging from the most loved to the most loathed, from well-known to the most unknown clubs around the world. “I’m looking at that France ’98 shirt. I can remember where I was when I watched the World Cup final in ’98. It puts you back in the room instantly.”

With Classic Football Shirts, Gary has been instrumental in buying, documenting, and providing the biggest collection of football shirts online in the world for fans and teams alike.

Looking for the 1999 kit worn by the treble-winning Manchester United squad? Take your pick: David Beckham. Paul Scholes. Roy Keane. It’s all there on their website.

The digital gatekeeper of football relics began in student housing his brother Doug and his partner, Matt,  finished university studies in Manchester. More so a clubhouse with a few rails carrying product for passers-by, with the first pop-up shop happening in 2018.

Not long after starting Doug and Matt got things started, Gary found himself working holidays cataloging shirts as he followed his own path at the Manchester Business School.

“I don’t think any of us expected to be here in 2019,” laughs Bierton as he recalls moments from the store’s infancy.

As the de-facto leader of marketing and brand growth, he has leveraged the collection into pop-up stores across the UK and exhibitions showcasing kits from brands such as Nike, adidas, Umbro and Kappa.

Classic Football Shirts created their first exhibits under the brand ‘Fabric of Football’. The cataloging the shirts online had already started years before and the catalog just kept growing.

Around the same time the team at Classic Football Shirts was expanding their online presence they got ready to dive into retail pop-ups.

Bierton’s mother raised concerns about the uncertainty of a career choice as a glorified second-hand merchant. Friends too wondered about the sustainability of the idea and where this side project would take them next.

Bierton continued to see the growth even those around him questioned the career choice. The doubters turned into believers when they saw the hundreds of people clamoring to get a chance to purchase a shirt at a London pop-up.

“A lot of my friends live in London and they come to see what you’re doing. Then they’re like, ‘Why are people queuing down the street to look at this stuff,’”

His friends might have been slow to catch his vision but it did not take long for them to realize the influence Classic Football Shirts has on the culture.

The impact of companies like Bierton’s has been far-reaching. Today tastemakers and fashion-centric individuals outside of the game and culture are choosing to rock classic football kits with growing frequency. Players have cross-pollinated their influence into different avenues. Seeing Drake or Kylie Jenner showoff their favorite football shirts on the ‘Gram is commonplace.

Brands like adidas and Nike have geared their campaigns and collections to fuse fashion with sports as a way to be more inclusive of the audience they are marketing to.

From the avid fan to the casual enthusiast of the game entrenched in everything fashion, leveraging the influence of designer juggernauts such as Virgil Abloh and Gosha Rubchinksiy has blurred the lines of ready-to-wear runway designs for the pitch.

That wasn’t always the case. Bierton recalls the moment that his type of inventory transcended the hardcore football fans.  “Not until maybe 2013, 2014 did it become a fashionable thing,” he says. “The moment we realized it had gone a little beyond from what we thought, was a post with Kendall Jenner wearing a Juve ’98 Kappa jacket.”

Celebrity influence has turned shirts that might otherwise be forgettable into hype-fueled items. The aforementioned Italian club Juventus donned rose pink Adidas kits for the 2015-2016 campaign. As soon as Drake and Snoop Dogg were captured wearing the shirts across social media, fans pillaged retailers to ride the trend.

But for Bierton, the affinity and passion for shirts will never fade. Beyond the trends and influence driven by the who’s who of music and design, he knows there’s someone looking for that vintage kit from his beloved Manchester United or the local Macclesfield Town football club shirt.

Regardless of the buyer, he’s thankful to play a part in connecting with fans and new aficionados.“It’s bigger than football. And we’ve come from the perspective as football fans, but then it becomes more than that. You can keep it quite rigid or open up to anybody.”

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.

WOULD YOU WEAR YOUR FAV ALBUM AS A SOCCER JERSEY?

Well, if you’re a fan of both music and soccer then we can safely assume your answer would be yes, right? The concept of taking your favorite album’s artwork and turning that into a soccer jersey begs the question of why it’s never been done before. Well, thanks to graphic designer Nick Texeira, we now have a good reason to push this design notion into reality, as his reimagining of some of today’s most popular music album artwork into kits proves just how amazing this idea can be.

Texeira’s concept artwork seen here focuses mainly on popular hip-hop albums, which he has turned into the designs for an array of global team kits, as well as throwing in his own choice of sponsored branding. This includes such mashups as A$AP Rocky’s Testing with Chelsea FC; Post Malone’s Stoney with FC Barcelona, Migos’ Culture II with Atlanta United FC; Drake’s Scorpion with Toronto FC; and Young Thug’s Slime Language with LAFC and more, not to mention other types of concept kits on Texeira’s Instagram account. Have a look at the designs Nick Texeira has put together, as well as his official website, then leave us a comment on what album x soccer jersey you would want to wear.

WE TOOK THE ADIDAS SKATE SOCCER KITS TO THE SKATE PARK

adidas Skateboarding recently dropped a campaign that really hit the mark for us. While we orientate ourselves around the game of soccer, we do so through the lens of culture and any of its facets that stems from other forms of creativity. Take skateboarding for example; a sport that prides itself around the culture it has manifested over the years. While there’s an obvious tie with skate and fashion, the same can very easily – if not more – be said with soccer. So when adidas Skateboarding showed up with a campaign that featured its roster of skaters who were tasked with designing their very own soccer kit, needless to say, we were excited.

Seeing as yesterday was the official #GoSkateDay, it was an obvious decision for us to hit Los Angeles’ most iconic skate location, the Venice Beach skate park, to put the skater-designed jerseys to good use. Thanks to our cameraman Ben Higginbotham, along with his team and skaters Chase Lett, Eunice, Destin Thomas and Jeramy Ritchie we’re proud to present our own exclusive video editorial featuring the adidas Skateboarding team designed soccer kits, followed by an accompanying lookbook. Check out the video above and the stills below.

FORGET NIGERIA’S SHIRT, IT IS CHINA’S TIME TO SHINE

Apologies but this had to be done. I’m saying it; China’s new away kit is so much better than Nigeria’s home kit. There, it’s said. And I’m going to tell you why.

Nigeria’s shirt has dominated the scene since it was revealed back in February, and rightly so. It’s a fantastic kit. Not only is the shirt good but the whole release was solid and Nigeria and Nike worked wonders on the products and reveal itself. It’s skyrocketed Nigeria into the forefront of the kit scene for this World Cup, even though they have next to no chance of taking home the gold. However, they have won the kit game. The shirt sold out within minutes online when it was released, huge queues formed outside NikeTown in London, and other stores and the resell value of the shirt near tripled online (much to the disgust of us football fans, eh? People cashing in on our growing culture).

But let’s discuss overall kit releases this year – not just within the World Cup. And that’s where the Nigeria kit plummets back down to Earth and tastes the loss it has been handed by the King: China Away.

The China kit is a perfect juxtaposition of adventurous yet exquisite. It’s a near perfect shirt, in my opinion. Albeit, China isn’t good enough to even qualify for the tournament, but their kit game is, in my opinion, one of the best. Ranked 73rd in the World rankings, with President Xi Jingping pumping in investment to the infrastructure of the Chinese game, the nation is yet to see any sort of improvement regarding their country’s team. But what a wonderful kit to use that makes them look less of an average footballing side. They may not be very good, but at least they look slick doing so.

A wonderful design is used on the kit; paying tribute to the country’s history and culture, using an exquisite dragon graphic. This was a very bold move, regarding that it could have either went two ways; incredibly bad or spectacularly brilliant. And it went the way of the latter. Combining this with a one-color design in a wonderful black with neon green detailing, the kit pops. It works. It’s so good. I can’t stress that enough.

I mentioned something about the kit being ‘near perfect’ earlier in this piece. Now, I say this based one thing: that DAMN neckline. I’ve argued this on twitter for weeks, ever since it was first revealed and now it needs to be addressed here. If Nike didn’t ruin every kit, even the Nigeria one, with this silly neckline then maybe we’d have a lot of kits regarded better than they are being said to be right now. I know I certainly would rank a lot of Nike’s kits higher if it wasn’t for this. And the fact they’ve put it on this China kit, a kit that so magical, is just upsetting. I’d still rock it though.

It’s a kit that rivals some of the best, and if China were good enough to get in the World Cup, then it would (or at least should) be getting the recognition that Nigeria has been and more. It deserves that, even if they haven’t made it to Russia. It’s just that good. A kit made for the culture. A kit made of us football kit gurus to swoon over. A kit made that is just, to put it simply, incredible.