Fashion designers borrowing from sporty subcultures is nothing new. Surfers, skateboarders, golfers and Formula 1 drivers have all witnessed elements of their uniform strut down the runways, trickle down the high street and on to fast-fashion racks.
The latest obsession? Soccer. Or football, if you’re in Europe, where the best vintage sports gear can be found, thanks to the die-hard fans who inspired the trend.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen soccer and fashion merge either: think young David Beckham, Dirk Bikkembergs’ influential sport couture in the 2000s and House of Holland’s collaboration with Umbro in the 2010s.
But the style has recently been kicked into the mainstream. Outfits have gone viral on TikTok under the hashtags ‘blokecore’ and ‘blokette / bloquette’, which have more than 385 million views on TikTok combined.
Supermodel Bella Hadid is the MVP responsible for the footy look becoming so popular. She appeared in a Balenciaga campaign last year wearing an oversized football jersey from the brand’s collaboration with Adidas. And photographed on the streets of New York City wearing Adidas Sambas and a half-zip jersey, her off-duty style resembles what a leathery Liverpool fan might wear down to the pub.
Kim Kardashian too was recently snapped wearing a 1997/1998 jersey from the club Roma, paired with bike shorts and oversized sunglasses. But what makes the look distinctly ‘blokette’ is fusing masculine and feminine elements together.
Zoey Radford Scott, a New York-based Kiwi stylist, says many of her friends in Manhattan have embraced the trend. “Adidas especially, soccer shorts, long-sleeve soccer tops with socks and ballet flats, that’s a classic right now.
“I’m very into high soccer socks. I’ve been using them a lot in shoots from editorials, celebrity clients [Steve Lacey, Bad Bunny] to commercial jobs [Diesel, Jacquemus] so the soccer vibes are spread throughout.”
The playful mix of blokecore and balletcore is what makes the trend so appealing, not to mention the boom in diffusion lines making ‘high fashion’ more affordable to Gen Z.
“We’re seeing a massive increase in the collaborations between fashion designers and sports brands,” explains Auckland-based stylist Estelle Schuler.
“Balenciaga x Adidas, Jacquemus x Nike. I love the collaboration between British-Jamaican designer Martine Rose and Nike. It pays homage to the women of the sport and has some fabulous pieces – especially the Shox!”
Tom So, another Auckland stylist and Gen Z (aka a qualified expert) says, “designers like Martine Rose and Wales Bonner are the biggest influence in menswear right now. They draw inspiration from their [Caribbean] cultures and juxtapose it with elevated clothes that are super desirable. POC designers are always at the forefront of what’s next and these two are definitely responsible for bringing blokecore into the zeitgeist.”
If you’re inspired to try this out for yourself, you could spend $350 on a distressed Martine Rose X Nike jersey, or, you could make like a thrifty stylist and hit the op shops. So finds all his soccer pieces second hand. Schuler’s favourite jerseys are ‘borrowed’ from family members’ wardrobes.
“My Argentinian soccer jersey is sort of a family heirloom, gifted to my dad about 15 years ago from friends. Last year he was rocking the blue and white stripes around the house when I asked him if I could, pretty please with a cherry on top, ‘borrow’ the top. He gave it to me on the spot, but I’m not sure I’ll be giving it back anytime soon.”
As for styling, Schuler says “there is a fine line between slay and nay with this trend – the ones getting it right are paying attention to silhouettes. My go-to combo is an oversized track jacket paired with mini Adidas sports shorts – red and white stripes. I wear shorts and tall boots almost every single day, it helps me strut down the street better.”
“It’s about pairing it with jeans, shorts, dressing it up or down,” adds So. “Definitely not appropriate to play an actual football game.”
Similarly, Radford Scott likes to style her baby blue and white Martine Rose jersey with classic pieces. “Suit pants or mini skirts, simple things and not sporty otherwise it becomes a uniform,” she says. “I think wearing any sports team is a statement, so wearing a football jersey of a team you don’t know anything about could be wrong. But then if the colour is right and you love it, it doesn’t really matter.”
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