TERRACE STYLE LEGACY
By Sam Higgins, 4 May 2017
With retro kit making its mark on the street-style scene, celebrities donning replica shirts and brands reworking sportswear designs from decades past, the influence of football in fashion has reached new heights recently. But it’s on the sidelines and in the crowd that we source our biggest slice of style inspiration, so join us as we take a look at how classic terrace style has shaped the way we dress today.
It’s the 1980s: The Breakfast Club is on at the pictures, a-ha is blaring from the radio and Everton are on the verge of winning the league. What a time to be alive. You, along with almost every other football fan, have become immersed in a new wave of fashion which has dominated the terraces all across the UK. This ‘casuals' subculture united fans through the power of striped polo shirts – usually from brands like Sergio Tacchini or Fred Perry – track and Harrington jackets, and a host of straight-leg, blue-wash denim. Unlike the uniformity of the players on the pitch, classic terracewear allowed for more idiosyncratic expression and Italian streetwear brands such as Fila and Ellesse thrived by producing pieces in bold hues (from pale pastels to strong primary colours) and geometric patterns.
While there were a range of brand logos that might decorate your polo shirt, when it came to your feet, the staple silhouettes of the stands were adidas kicks. The brand’s domination came thanks to its ready-to-wear, terrace-friendly footwear, boasting the tongue, structure and stitching reminiscent of typical 80s football boots. So popular were the Gazelle or Spezial models that their status among the footwear elite has been maintained ever since. Recently, the OG designs have been given a subtle contemporary tweaking so they slot seamlessly alongside the latest trends.
Terrace style has been represented on the big screen many times – albeit not usually in the best light – but casuals kit and top-quality filmmaking came together in the 1995 French film La Haine. British football fan culture had spread further afield, to the banlieue of Paris, where Vincent Cassel and Saïd Taghmaoui’s fictional counterparts mooched about in zipped-up track tops and crisp white tennis shoes. Around the same time, the rise of Britpop saw key features of the casual look like Harrington jackets and shellsuits revived and adapted. The latter, in particular, evolved from training pitch cover-up to wearable, everyday co-ord, despite the introduction of wacky designs and garish colour clashes.
It's in the last few seasons, however, that we’ve seen terrace style make its biggest impact on the fashion world. Some of the footballing influence has come in a literal sense, with hip-hop’s best dressed throwing team shirts into their everyday getups. But designers like Cottweiler and Christopher Shannon have also begun reinventing classic terracewear designs, retaining the iconic features – bold colours, the taping, the fine details – and ensuring that the trend is still at the core of British style. And then there's Russian ingenue Gosha Rubchinskiy, who isn’t just refreshing the key pieces but retaining the original styling, too – roll necks layered under bold jackets – confirming that the latest wave of terrace style is not just an emulation, but a real revival.