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.