Curated by Neal Heard – consultant, historian, football fanatic and author of A Lover’s Guide To Football Shirts, bi-annual menswear trade show Jacket Required presented the public with an education in all things football jersey, giving us an insight in to how the shirt has at times represented so much more than our beloved game, whilst showcasing an archive of iconic, historic and obscure football shirts. In a dedicated space on London’s Brick Lane, the show was broken down in to sections, touching on different areas in which the football shirt has become interlinked, including music, politics and both high end and street fashion.
If you weren’t able to catch a glimpse of this one-off exhibition, we have all the insights and imagery for you here so you can get topping up on your football knowledge.
SING WHEN YOU’RE WINNING
“Traditionally, the music scene wasn’t readily associated with football and especially football jerseys. Historically, although some musos loved the sport and the shirts, it wasn’t always shouted aloud. Rather, it was left to people in the spotlight, including Rod Stewart and Elton John, to fly the football shirts flag. Soon there came a change. A certain Bob Marley adored football and was often photographed in various exotic jerseys as he toured the world playing with the Wailers. The Three Degrees once visited WBA to meet their name-sakes. Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant is a president of Wolves, and famously wore the Old Gold whilst paying a celebrity match in his pants. And Michael Jackson even posed in a Nice shirt on a promotional tour for a sock company! The game changer? New Order produced the best football song of all time, wearing the England 3rd shirt whilst doing so. And of course, Liam and Noel Gallagher continually show their brotherly allegiance to Manchester City. Later on, many bands declared their club commitment by sponsoring the shirts of teams they loved – The Super Fury Animals supporting Cardiff City, and GLC making its mark on Newport County.” – Neal Heard
FROM THE STREET TO THE CATWALK
“PSG’s 1970’s kit is the work of French fashion designer Daniel Hechter, with a nod to the Eiffel Tower on its central band in mind. Puma’s sleeveless kit pushed the boundaries with FIFA banning them three months before the 2002 World Cup finals, and Jean Paul Gaultier would have been proud of the France 2011 away kit. Fashion breakthroughs can be found in other instances, including Dortmund’s use of neon, though Sheffield United technically got there first. The examples of tribal patterns channelled in Nigeria’s kit has now gone fashion full circle – with Lover’s F.C x You Must Create collaborative jersey seen on the catwalks of London Fashion Week. However, fashion and especially streetwear is often about appropriation. The streets and its tribes are appropriating and reinterpreting jerseys like never before. Football inspired garments find homes in the wardrobes of skate and hip hop ambassadors as Palace and Patta adopt and re-work classic kits to great effect. Plus, with the influence of EA Sports and the FIFA game, the new generation have been raised street and global shirt-savvy. The game has changed, and changed for good.” – Neal Heard
SHIRTS GO GRAPHIC
“The once standard approach and reaction to graphical shirts, evokes the annoyance of shirt aficionados. When the football shirt finally embraced the idea of graphical patterns from the late 80’s, it gave birth to some over the top abominations. However, such abominations are equally outweighed by classic design. The graphic approach started to bubble away as iconic shirts should as Holland ’88 and Germany ’90 were born, paving the way for the trend to take full flight from the mid-90’s onwards. The design team at Umbro were certainly allowed free-rein and free-thinking – the results of which, are simply superb.” – Neal Heard
MIXING SHIRTS AND POLITICS
“Madureira celebrated the 50th anniversary of their past sides meeting with the legend that is Che Guevara, and what a homage that is. An icon on and off the pitch, Socrates lead his Corinthians team with unity for players’ rights, urging the public to push for and to utilise democracy with their Democracia jerseys. The concept of mixing these two worlds has come full circle in more recent times, with St Etienne showing solidarity for their compatriots with the one-off Pray for Paris jersey. Rather more incidental examples featured the ‘accidental Swastika’ jersey of Fiorentina – withdrawn from use 11 games into the season. Similar explanations lead to Stockport withdrawing its Argentinian-look jersey when the Falklands War broke out mid-season, with others reminding us of a time of the cold war, and eastern Europe. Unsurprisingly, for items so totemic, shirts can and are used as political items. Hummel pushed the boat out, designing and manufacturing a shirt for Tibet – a team not even recognised for political reasons by FIFA, while St Pauli of Hamburg are the punk rock anarchic club of Europe. Forever overtly politically tied.” – Neal Heard.