SPECIAL REPORT: SOCCER IN THE “A”

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In this three-part special report, we delve into what’s happening with soccer in Atlanta. We take a look at the game in the A through the eye of influential people in the worlds of sneakers, art, music, and fashion. Soccer is reaching into areas in Atlanta that it never has before, and the culture that is growing in the city is something different than what has been seen up until this point in the US.

When you see soccer pitches at the metro station, hip-hop icons in the stands, 70,000+ fans in those stands, and a fan base that reflects what is arguably the “blackest city in America”; the soccer culture on and off the pitch in ATL is unique to the Dirty South. It is only fitting that the team took care of business and brought home the cup.

Special thanks to Wish ATL(Pat), Vera Zeigler, Mo Hairston Waka Flocka, Whoo Kid for taking the time to chat.

PART 1


 

PART 2


 

PART 3


CAN THESE OG BRANDS REEMERGE AFTER JORDAN?

So the hype around the PSG x Jordan Brand collab was more than real. What we fail to realize though, or at least what I did initially, was that this is not the first time a brand totally foreign to the world of soccer has come in to stake its own claim. While numerous brands have come and gone before the Jumpman, the overwhelming success of this PSG x Jordan Brand collab has proven that there is obviously more than enough room for other brands besides adidas and Nike. There is clearly and more importantly real opportunity for brands out there right now, especially those with a streetwear heritage, to reinsert themselves back into the spotlight.

What follows is a list of brands I consider prime for a comeback or that I’d simply love to see back in soccer.


FILA

I start off with what is perhaps the biggest longshot, and that is FILA. Here in the United States, FILA has not been hot since the Grant Hill sneaker line. The same can be said about its stint in soccer as its heyday came at about the same time in the late ’90s and early 2000’s. Though the brand is not totally out of soccer as it sponsored some lower league teams in recent years, you start to wonder what sort of splash FILA could make in this new context we now find ourselves in, as well as with a much higher profile club to back it.


REEBOK

Reebok, as we all know, is a Crossfit brand nowadays, but who could forget the fire kits they put out in the not so distant past. This away number worn by Javier Zanetti in the late ’90s is one of the best put out by the brand. I know I can’t be the only one who wouldn’t mind wearing something similar to this with a fresh pair of Reebok DMX’s.


STARTER

Starter is another brand with a streetwear past to make a foray into soccer. Only a few years ago, the brand kitted out Oxford United, a team from the lower tiers of English football. While its design for the club’s home kit is not something that immediately grabs my attention, Starter still has an unshakeable nostalgia tied to it. There is definitely much for the brand to capitalize on, which is why I’d love to see some soccer club partner with Starter on some sort of apparel line at the very least.


CHAMPION

Rounding out the list is Champion, the brand I consider to have the most potential of all. Unlike all of the brands profiled just now, Champion is the only brand to still have considerable cultural relevance in the present day. Most of us might remember Champion in its time outfitting Parma. As those kits are still very sought after, I can’t help but wonder why the brand has yet to stage a comeback in soccer.


I hold out hope that some, if not all, of these brands will make their triumphant return. The timing just seems right as soccer now has the type of consumer that appreciates the allure of a brand with both a sport and streetwear past. Make sure to let me know your own thoughts on this topic in the comments below.

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.

ADIDAS X FRANKIE: WOMEN’S STREETWEAR MEETS SOCCER

In a bid to further the marriage between streetwear sensibilities and soccer aesthetics, Vancouver-based Frankie Collective, a female-focused platform that “take inspiration from ’90s staples and rework vintage garments to push the boundaries of contemporary style,” have teamed up with adidas Canada for a fire collection of customized soccer pieces. As mentioned, the unique pieces see an exploration of soccer and streetwear culture by way of some of our favorite adidas-sponsored clubs – namely Juventus, Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Beyurn Munich – and were made as part of adidas Canada’s recent #TangoLeague held in Toronto. Have a look at Frankie Collective‘s official editorial shot by felice.c0m, featuring Ebhoni Ogarro, Emily Ferguson, and Mercedes Edison aka UNimerce.

BBC GOES OUT OF THIS WORLD FOR ITS WC-INSPIRED CAPSULE

Although this year’s World Cup is far behind us, that doesn’t mean we need to forget and move on from the one-in-every-four year event. In fact, all the better to remember its impact to help spur on more culture surrounding the sport. Especially out here in the States, given that we, along with our neighbors Mexico and Canada, will be hosting the global tournament in 2026 following Qatar for 2022 (the first Arab state to host the World Cup). To help keep our soccer spirits up, up and away, we have Billionaire Boys Club: the fashion brand/retailer and brainchild of both Pharrell Williams and BAPE founder NIGO.

For its Summer 2018 NYC-exclusive capsule collection, the premium streetwear label has delivered a vibrant and whimsical array of athletic pieces inspired by the recently passed World Cup. The drop includes a range of silhouettes, from player jerseys to goalie long-sleeves, warm-up suits, short and more. The main attraction for the collection as a whole, however, is it’s diverse and fun designs that features tie-dye, camo, and classic soccer stripes patterning, as well as BBC’s classic space-centric motifs. Details include “7 Mercer” and “212” notes that nods to the brand’s NYC flagship.

To showcase the pieces in use, courtesy of the kind people at Billionaire Boys Club, we decided to explore our own urban landscape for the setting of our original fashion editorial, which you can see throughout. The pieces are currently available at BBC’s NYC flagship store, so be sure to stop by if you’re in the area:

BBC Flagship Store
7 Mercer St, New York, NY 10012

NOWHERE FC & AS ROMA INTRODUCES RETRO STREET COOL

Nowhere FC and AS Roma are back at it again. In what is now their second collaboration together, the two outfits return this summer for a collection that mixes the best of heritage design with streetwear flair. On par with some of the best offerings I have seen all year, the collection showcases why Nowhere FC might just be the standard that all others follow.

Roma clearly see the potential in the New York-based creative collaborative. Of course, the club comes in lacking little in terms of design heritage. For as long as I can remember, Roma have boasted some of the most recognizable iconography and some of the best kits in world soccer. Long before Nike ever came along, Roma captured my attention with their stunning Diadora and Kappa kits of past decades whose colorways and graphics have obviously informed this latest offering.

The entire collection is a mix of scarves, bandanas, tees, tanks, and jerseys. It is really your typical offering from Nowhere FC in terms of not only product, but design as well as back for another installment are their signature dyed jerseys. The allure of this collection for me, however, is not so much in Nowhere’s ability to bring something to the table, but rather in the outfit’s decision to exercise both restraint and foresight to rework the great design already there.

One of the most recurring motifs of the entire offering is the wolf head logo used by Roma in past years. The logo made a comeback in Roma’s Nike away kit only a few seasons ago, however, its heyday was again those glory years which should never be thought of as long gone. Its prevalence in this collection in fact brings up a discussion of the current state of retro/throwback product offerings as well as how tied to singular identities current clubs should be.

Nike’s work with the NBA this year provides an example that soccer clubs should certainly be looking at. Sure, we are still confused by the terms such as association, icon, or statement that Nike used to describe their jerseys, however, the important thing here is the consistent integration of a throwback element into design repertoire of each team. There is clearly no dearth of opportunities for soccer teams to do the same thing as most teams have up to three kits to play with.

Roma has more than once toyed with this throwback theme in recent time. Just last year, the club hooked up with COPA Football, the Mitchell & Ness of soccer if you will, for a retro selection of jerseys and jackets from the team’s storied history. The cues Nowhere FC has taken from these faithful reproductions are more than evident, however, what sets Nowhere apart is their gift for reinterpreting these heritage designs with a modern sensibility. As a result, the collaborative has proven the versatility of this vintage iconography which works both in its pure throwback self as well as in throwback inspired streetwear.

With this we fall back again to a talk about branding and the need for Roma to explore alternative identities that are still authentic to the club. The wolf iconography and ASR script logo showcased by Nowhere are more than attractive looks that shouldn’t be relegated to mere lifestyle offerings. These lifestyle offerings for now though are the closest thing to perfection that Roma has put out so you can be sure I want to scoop up whatever Nowhere FC makes available.

The outfit has set up a pop up shop for all their wares at the Procell Gallery in New York, but I hope the KTTP community can make their voices heard and convince Nowhere to make most if not all of their selection available to purchase online.

Images via Soccerbible.

 

SOUTH KOREA FOR THE WIN: A SPECIAL STREET STYLE EDITION

Today marked a monumental win for South Korea within the world of soccer, as they beat Germany in today’s match for the World Cup 2018 with a two-nil win! Out here in Los Angeles, a city with the country’s largest Korean population, let me just say, the high energy, pride, and spirit felt throughout simply cannot be put into words. For those of you who are – or were – rooting for Germany, the Korea win comes as an immense blow given that the country is now out of the World Cup…

While we as a media outlet strive to stay as unbiased as we can, we can’t help but share in the joy our Korean brothers and sisters are feeling right now. In a bid to continue Korean pride, we’ve got a special Street Style fashion editorial that highlights Nike Soccer’s official Korea collection, modeled in Downtown Los Angeles by our very own writer Raymond An who is currently out there in Russia doing his own bit of Korea-support – if you haven’t heard about his #followtheflag initiative yet, click here to find out all about it. Donning South Korea’s official Nike 2018 away kit in white, as well as their travel top in black, the editorial also brings out a retro World Cup piece in blue complete with the Korean flag emblem, as well as an official Korea Football Association cap, all styled in street-ready looks. Check out the special South Korea street style editorial throughout.

THE KFA TAKES A STYLED APPROACH TO THE WORLD CUP 2018

Although the on pitch play of the Korean National Football team has been lackluster at best, the team came correct off pitch for this years World Cup in Russia. Partnering up with design firm H9PITCH STUDIO, the KFA created a special collection of items that appeal to the world that lives outside of the game. From limited edition patches, skate decks, rings, air fresheners, bluetooth speakers, and bracelets the collection has something for everyone. Not until recent has repping your national team crest been looked at as stylish, but with the younger generation of fans emerging, the clubs and countries must keep up with the popular sense of style. The best part of this entire collection is the federation did it all private label. Avoiding the headache and red tape of the “big brand” the KFA was able to lean on a design group directly connected to the streets of Korea, in turn creating a collection that sends a message to the streets.

The inspiration behind the product stems from an ever growing need for “cool” in the soccer space. With so many small pop up brands entering the market, it seems only fitting that the big clubs and countries start to grasp the new wave of soccer. No longer is soccer tiro pants with the track jacket, or the mom in the mini van, as the key teams begin to take notice of the off pitch style, the growth of the sport will accelerate beyond anything can imagine. Tapping into the movement of the urban community will allow so many more people to be aware of how beautiful the game genuinely is. A gate way to the gam through the world of style.

When it comes to being first, Korea was not the first ones to do this, back in 2014 the USMNT teamed up with the likes of legendary artist Futura, Kayo skate, and Nike to create a players only collection and PSG created a full collection of product for its US Tours in both LA 2016 and Miami 2017,  but what Korea did do was break the mold for a federation and open this open to the masses. Allowing the fans of the national team to rep the country with pride and style is one thing, but when the fans of other countries are supporting, you know you have done something correct.

In my opinion, the collection is well rounded, creative and a step in the right direction. Hopefully sooner then later the powers that be inside the clubs and federations will take note. Until then you get one option. You can pick up the full KFA collection now at H9Pitch.

Peep the full collection below.

 

THE RIGHT WAY OF BLENDING STREETWEAR WITH SPORTS

PUMA has rolled a fresh new collaborative capsule with Chinatown Market in anticipation of this year’s NBA Draft. Chinatown Market, which is primarily an online retailer of culture-inspired goods, sought to reenergize PUMA’s Basketball division with a set of cheeky graphics that serve as more than just another stock draft tee you would get from a major sportswear retailer. The capsule was sold during a one day pop-up event at PUMA’s Brooklyn HQ (sorry folks).

Among the collection, the long-sleeve tee rocked by draft prospect Deandre Ayton, generated the most buzz, and for good reason. Though not directly related to the world of soccer, the many labels and minds inspired by the beautiful game can take a few notes at what was had by this collaborative collection. It’s true, we all love when a streetwear label crafts a shirt that pays its respects to a classic football kit – whether by using its name in place of a sponsor, using a club’s colors and stripes, or designing a one off crest. But are we really going to keep pretending like its not getting played out after seeing the same formulaic approach time and time again?

Soccer and streetwear will always share a symbiotic relationship, borrowing elements from one another in further propelling each in its own right. What the PUMA x Chinatown Market capsule does right is bring the playfulness of sport back into fray. Labels need to start bringing back the simple emotions and graphic elements we associate to the game. Whether it be a childishly-drawn He-Man nutmegging a hapless Skeletor, or a shirt with a club’s cherished (and perhaps unapologetic) chant displayed in an equally timeless typeface, let’s start paying homage to the vibe we hear and see in the stands and the streets rather than just that of the kit and pitch.

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.