About a year ago, fashion lovers had their closets revamped by what seemed to be the perfect trend. Aptly named Blokecore, trend followers would run to the thrifts for a fashion-forward take on the usual uniform of a British football fan — soccer kits, baggy pants and retro sneakers.
To this day, fashion lovers are stocking their closets with retro soccer kits, much to the amazement of those who thought the trend would die off last summer. But the reason for its longevity is its adaptability. We’re not consuming Blokecore anymore. Welcome to a world where soccer is fashion.
In the past year, fashion has become obsessed with the sport. Major fashion publications have deemed the Adidas Samba the shoe of the summer. The silhouette originated as a soccer cleat, later reimagined as a sleek, everyday beater. The shoes have spotted on Bella Hadid, Katie Holmes, Kaia Gerber and more, generating headlines about the summer of soccer in fashion.
Across the pond, London-based soccer club Crystal Palace named a creative director for the first time in the club’s history. Kenny Annan-Jonathon is set to head all brand partnerships and merchandise design, proving to fans that the wearability of merch is a priority.
U.K.-born designer Martine Rose designed suits for the U.S. women’s national team to wear ahead of their World Cup qualifying matches. In the following months, Rose dropped one of the better non-team-associated soccer kit collections.
The fashion world is eating up soccer in all its forms, and that’s certainly true here in Toronto as well. Josh Roter is the co-owner of In Vintage We Trust. We caught up with him on Instagram this past week to discuss the way the Blokecore trend has shifted.
“There has definitely been a surge in popularity of football jerseys and football-based clothing since the Blokecore trend reared its head,” Roter says. “There’s also been a massive surge in the popularity of the sport. Very rarely would someone walk into the shop and blindly buy a kit based off of colour or fit — almost always they’re entrenched in the sport and fans of it, which is authentic and real.”
Trends are bound to attract bandwagoners along the way. However, even if the people supporting the trends are fake fans, the brands producing the garments are real.
“I think that as long as the brands referencing soccer are based in authenticity and are real with it, then it will come off right,” he says. “But when fast fashion companies try to catch that bag and create truncated trend-based garments for a very hot minute then it never ends well.”
Supporters of the trend have gone further than just buying newly manufactured kits. Ben Griffith and Santi Mercado are the owners of Offside Boys, a local online kit shop that specializes in retro soccer jerseys, and they’ve seen demand for their vintage jerseys soar.
“We think fashion and football have been on a pretty gradual collision course where we always felt like this was bound to happen,” says the pair. “We’ve definitely seen an influx of people interested in football memorabilia in Toronto over the last few years, especially since the Canadian national team’s qualifying run for the World Cup.”
The integration of soccer into the fashion industry currently has a chokehold on Torontonians, along with the rest of the world. With the Women’s World Cup winding down, but the trend growing astronomically, here are four great spots in the city for you to shop the trend.
Located in Ossington, Size? is an ideal destination for anyone looking to pick up their first pair of Adidas Sambas or Gazelles. The shop carries boutique-exclusive colourways based on fashion meccas around the world, ensuring you stand out among a crowd of blokes.
Offside Boys is the premier purveyor of retro kits around Toronto. Their impressive MLS collection will make locals feel right at home and prepared for any soccer-related travels in the coming months. You can shop the boys’ merchandise online.
After popping up around Toronto, Riot on the Terraces has cemented itself as a premier retro kit dealer in the city. Their collection of European giants will make you feel the need to break the bank. The next pop-up is at the end of the month, giving you the chance to score in person.
Livestock is another great boutique for scoring football-based sneakers. They’ve carried the Wales Bonner Samba for a few months now, which was arguably the best item of clothing to come out of the trend. They also carry the staple pairs alongside some funky colourways.