We recently released three shirts inspired by English teams and the jerseys that they wore at specific times on the 1990’s. There was some incredible jersey designs at that time that we wanted to celebrate. But there was also some incredible music coming out of England at that time as well. Soccer + music are about our two favorite things around here, so we were inspired by both when thinking about these shirts.
We wanted to tell the story of music + soccer at that time in England and the best person we could think of to do it justice is our boy Shawn Francis. So we will let him take it from here:
To a large degree, 1990’s England was a nation at odds with itself in the night clubs and at the football clubs. Despite its reputation for being a cold, grey island awash in miserable music and “hit-and-hope” football being played in equally drab kits, the early 90’s saw the birth of, to borrow a phrase from Billy Bragg, a new England.
In London, acid-house imported from Chicago and Detroit crossbred freely with the day-glow Balearic vibes U.K. DJ’s brought back to Blighty from E-ed up Ibizan holidays. On any given Friday legendary clubs like SHOOM heaved with dance floor disciples ready to worship at the alter of DJ’s like Danny Rampling, Terry Farley and Pete Heller. And the next day, when Saturday came, many made their way to the city’s football cathedrals to express a different kind of devotion.
For many of London’s clubs, the team’s on-field look wasn’t too dissimilar to what some of the punters were wearing the night before. Arsenal’s 1991-1993 Away kit was a highlight, capturing the country’s new-found affinity for both real and figurative colour. A bright yellow and blue affair, it’s all-over pattern of fading triangles seemed to be directly influenced by some of the trippier visuals the city’s fading rave scene/emerging superclub scene had to offer.
Up north, things were the same. But different.
Where London moved to a (mainly) drum machine beat -bands like Blur and Suede were just beginning their domination of Cool Britainnia’s southern front- England’s northwest married dance music’s groove with rock’s populism. Bands like Liverpool’s Inspiral Carpets and Manchester’s Happy Mondays and Stone Roses rode the line between rock and rave -and in the end- blurred the line between live music and machine music, completing the work of “Madchester” forefathers New Order and A Certain Ratio. They also wore flashy, cartoonish clothes so loose fit that they helped spawn “baggy”, a movement that was simultaneously a way of dressing and music genre.
The on-pitch fashion of the day was equally lively. Liverpool and Manchester United took the field in eye-popping kits with patterns and colours so luminous that they would not have looked out of place in the queue of the Hacienda, Manchester’s temple of boom that rivaled anything the capital had to offer. Whether the kits were cool or cruel was entirely a matter of opinion. What wasn’t, and still isn’t, up for debate is that they were original.
The new 90’s pack pays tribute to these legendary days of on-pitch creativity and infamous nights of excess and excitement. This is the look of Manchester, the feel of Liverpool, the vibe of London. This is then. This is now.