Bowery Football Club is keeping it classic this World Cup. The Manhattan-based group is hosting a pop-up exhibition in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for the duration of the tournament, where you can feast your eyes on beautiful classic kits and watch any of the games on a massive projector screen. Club members Quinn and Carlos were happy to host us for the Switzerland-Serbia game and show us around the former firehouse that they rented out for the four weeks, which comes with a fully stocked bar and a patio out back.


Bowery FC teamed up with their partners Lagunitas Ale and Manchester-based Classic Football Shirts, who so graciously supplied the beer and kits, to bring this football idea to fruition. The attention to detail could not be ignored, as the jerseys were arranged by group order for this year’s edition of the World Cup.

Also on display are some of Bowery’s own apparel, my favorites being their Umbro kits and OnlyNY collabs. I have to say, there’s a unique flavor to BFC’s designs; one can tell just by looking at their custom stickers which ooze New York.

One can only feel right at home at the clubhouse thanks to the hospitality of the club members. I even managed to meet a DJ from London who lives in Dubai but was in town for the weekend, which just goes to show how the World Cup and soccer bring the world together, no matter your country of origin or if their team is in the tournament. Shout out again to Quinn and Carlos for having us, and keep up the good work. Bowery Football Club is a true representative of what New York can bring to the playing field.

You can follow Bowery FC on Instagram and Twitter. Their clubhouse exhibit is open for the duration of the World Cup at 411 Kent Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.


It seems like the best soccer apparel out now is the one we simply can’t have. While the Nigeria kit release will go down in the history books, it should not completely overshadow the significant contribution made this week by Own Fan Club, an up and coming brand from London that shows us what soccer lifestyle fashion is all about.

There’s another much-hyped release that shares a lot in common with what OFC showed us this week. This, of course, is no other than Virgil Abloh’s collection with Nike which celebrates the signature aesthetic of soccer by highlighting its most recognizable features. Yet while Abloh’s collection brings much clout and style, it pales in comparison to what OFC has done. The brand has more than just fashion behind it. It brings with it an authenticity not yet seen in the soccer lifestyle market.

It reminds us that soccer at its heart was never about the glamor. Instead, the sport was about a simplicity and accessibility that are perfectly captured in the brand’s decision to repurpose Hawaiian shirts. On their own, the shirts are easily dismissible, however, a slight stroke of genius was all that was needed to make these shirts memorable.

Much like Abloh, OFC pays homage to soccer’s distinct design language. Incorporating old logos from some of the biggest clubs with the typography of old sponsors and jersey numbers, it reflects on the unique relationship between all these features. The collection is a trip down memory lane to a fonder time where disparate elements such as team and sponsor logos complemented and enhanced the overall look of a kit. It is no surprise that OFC uses the ’90s as inspiration as this era provides a plethora of examples, whether it be Arsenal with JVC or Dortmund with Die Continentale, of teams that are difficult to disassociate from the companies they repped.

Though we can’t make this disassociation, the larger discussion at play with this collection is the very real disassociation we can make between soccer’s signature aesthetic and the kits that act as its customary canvas. Own Fan Club’s offering clearly demonstrates that soccer has a communicable design aesthetic. Harnessed with a raw, edgy, and simply pure energy, it proves that soccer fashion is ultimately what we make of it.

With this said, I think it is necessary to address what the term “soccer lifestyle” actually entails. There’s a misconception that somehow the term implies a perfect balance of the two concepts. This should not be the case though as it is the soccer component that should be more heavily prioritized. As seen through OFC’s example, it is ultimately the soccer component that elevates the lifestyle and not vice versa, and that is why I think every soccer fan should be appreciative of what Own Fan Club has given us.

Images via Soccerbible


I have had a real problem ever since February. As many of you might remember, February was the time Nike chose to officially reveal Nigeria’s World Cup collection. In its entirety, the offering blew me away. I simply cannot remember feeling the same way about any other World Cup release in my lifetime.

The collection had that instant pull yet ironically Nike has kept us at a distance from it. When the collection was presented, I wrongly thought its release was imminent as in previous World Cup cycles where Nike has often used the month of March to release all of its federations’ kits. It was only after reading Nike’s press release on the collection itself that I became more concerned and puzzled. The press release did not make any mention of a specific release date even though Nike’s subsequent press releases on national team kits have. I would argue that release dates are the whole point of these press releases.

I, therefore, sought answers. Initially, I relied on social media and my usual go-to sources for new kit intel. I couldn’t find anything and to make matters worse, it seemed as if no one was willing to offer any answers either. I remember reaching out to a few months later. I had already prepared myself for the disappointment though as I have never had any success in getting real answers to my questions anytime I have reached out to them or any other customer service representative at other major soccer retailers. As expected, all could tell me was to stay tuned to their social media platforms.

It was only a short while ago that I finally found something on Twitter. It was a response from Nike revealing that the release date for this collection would be June 1st. This tidbit of information should have provided some relief yet I still find myself being consumed by this subject still.

With the release now only a matter of days away, I find myself more concerned with the question of whether I’ll be able to get the kit at all. As I said before, Nigeria’s kit release is unlike any other. It seems everyone wants it whether it be the casual or more passionate fan. At the same time, Nike will not make things any easier. While in previous years fans had a few months to buy their favorite kits before a World Cup, the window for this is now severely limited to a few days. The decision is none other than a deliberate attempt from Nike to have us feed into the hype. Unfortunately, we have no other choice as I, like everyone else, wants to have this kit by the start of the tournament.

As much as a marketing move, the delayed release date is also a smart business decision. Nike has ensured that people will pay the suggested retail price for the Nigeria kit which was likely not the case for adidas’ World Cup home kits. Out now since November, many fans have surely capitalized on some sort of discount ranging from 15% on the adidas website to the 25% to 30% off discount some soccer retailers here in the US had around Christmas time. Fans now will be lucky if they get free shipping but of course, the real concern for me is not so much price, but whether Nike and its retailers will be able to adequately meet the demand considering it will indeed be high. Again, they have not left themselves much time for this as every fan will want to have their jersey by the start of the tournament two weeks later.

Now, some of you may have noticed that I have not expressed any concern on whether the kit will live up to its hype. Despite obviously having more than enough time to dwell on this possibility, I have no doubt that the Nigeria kit will be everything I imagine it to be in person. Before I worried that Nike would make the mistake of not offering the match version of this kit as it has done with its smaller federations. Here is perhaps where you might be better able to understand the craze I’ve been driven to as I have found myself closely examining press release photos just to verify that Nike will most likely offer match jerseys. Recent reports for the demand of the jersey should also confirm this.

Still, the wait for Nigeria’s jersey has not been easy. I know many people surely share my struggle so please comment below on how you feel about this jersey and how you have coped with its long-anticipated release.

Images via Nike.


This past week gave us easily another candidate for kit of the year. Making the rounds through social media and receiving more than a welcomed reception, New Zealand’s new away kit is a simple thing of beauty that makes us forget this nation did not even qualify for the World Cup.

Before getting into the specifics of what makes this kit so exceptional, I must simply say that we should not be surprised that New Zealand has such a world class look. If anything, I have come to expect the best from New Zealand as its away jerseys of the past few years, including most notably its 2012 and 2016 away looks, prove that this nation should always be looked at as a top contender in a soccer-style sense.

New Zealand’s 2012 away kit featured above.

The interesting thing about this year’s look is that it recycles the same inspiration as all these past kits, yet still manages to offer something new. New Zealand’s most recognizable symbol, the fern, is again the main decorative detail though in this case it is reserved specifically to the sleeves of Nike’s new Vapor template. Rather than opting for an abstract or subtle print typically seen on many soccer kits, Nike highlights this fern inspiration to maximum effect by presenting a photo-realistic rendering that more effectively captures the mystique and power of this symbol.

More than just a great design, New Zealand’s away kit notably confirms that the criticism from many fans against Nike may be unwarranted now. While Nike’s Euro 2016 offering bolstered claims of Nike’s lazy design efforts, its 2018 kits show Nike can still flex some serious design talent when given the opportunity. I mention opportunity as I have noted that the most interesting or unique designs to come out of Nike come from its less high profile federations such as Slovenia, Slovakia, Australia, and obviously Nigeria. Meanwhile, the higher profile federations such as the Netherlands and France have been extremely conservative at least with their home looks. Though I understand the need to maintain a consistent and recognizable look, New Zealand’s away jersey proves that a bit of provoking design is necessary to make something unique and worth buying.

I simply wish Nike showed some more confidence in its work. A standout design such as New Zealand’s, therefore, deserves the authentic/match treatment rather than the mere replica offering that will be made available to fans. As a fan, I always want to have the real thing. Besides, I don’t think it would have been too much of an expense or risk for Nike to at least offer a limited batch of the authentic/match version of this kit. This is definitely something Nike might choose to explore through its Jersey Shop as I definitely feel that a demand for standout kits such as this, even at a slightly higher price point, more than exists.

For now, replica jerseys will suffice so make sure to hit up to get the New Zealand away jersey.

Images via Nike.


The reveal of a new kit for any team is always a contentious subject among its fans. In recent years, it seems like brands have become way too comfortable with the fact that they can never please everyone so much so that they will pump out kits that fit their brand more rather than the team they outfit. This week, however, Umbro and Everton give us hope in seeing a complete shift in kit creation which transfers creative and branding power to the people most connected to the club itself.

I follow a number of sites devoted solely to soccer kits. When I read people’s comments, the running theme always seems to be how disconnected some brands are from the teams they sponsor. It is easy to see how this can happen. For one, a designer might not be fully knowledgeable about the team they are designing for. At the same time, a designer is also bogged down by the whims and desires of execs from both team and sponsor. Why these people have such overwhelming influence over a team’s most powerful branding element seems ridiculous to me now that I really think about it. It is more than obvious that the people most in tune with a club’s brand are its fans, therefore, it is their creative input that brands should be actively seeking and showcasing.

Umbro and Everton have done exactly that. Brainstorming with fans over a 15 month period, the two present a kit that can really be considered truly Everton, as well as one of the upcoming season’s premier kits.

The fan input and the difference it has made is more than apparent. In past years, Everton’s kits have been problematic for a couple of reasons. First, Umbro chose templates that were probably not the best choice. While that could be overlooked, the biggest problem that I always saw was the accent colors that Umbro used for the signature blue Everton home jersey. This year’s kit simplifies things for the better. Keeping things white and blue, which are rightly the only Everton colors, Umbro gives us a retro-inspired design that looks to be a win-win for both sides.

Umbro seems to finally get over the identity crisis that I saw in its recent Everton kits. Ironically, it is the fans and not the execs in the team’s front office that remind the brand exactly why Everton chose Umbro in the distant past, and why it has chosen it again for the team’s near future. The design is a perfect balance of both brands. While the retro diamond taped sleeves might get all the attention, I think something can be said for the stylish collar as well as the heathered fabric which makes a simple blue jersey that much more interesting.

I really hope Everton fans will speak with their pockets for this kit. It is their pockets, after all, that will make the most convincing argument for kit sponsors to look more and more towards substantial and consistent fan input. My pocket is already spoken for so you can be sure that I’ll be adding this kit to my own collection. Let me know what you think of this kit and where you stand on Everton’s fan’s input in the creative process.

Via Umbro.


The polo style collar in soccer jerseys has been utilized less and less in recent years. When I got into soccer in the mid-’90s, it seemed like almost every other team’s jersey had one. Now, nearly twenty years later, I can only name Arsenal off the top of my head as the only major team whose jersey has a polo collar this season.

More glaring, however, is the fact that not one team at this year’s World Cup will wear a jersey with this collar. I ask myself then why such a classic soccer look has experienced such a steady decline?

I know part of the reason is simply performance. The big brands prioritize the input of their top athletes and it is no secret to anyone that some of these athletes have described the polo collar as bothersome. Another explanation also comes directly from the consumer these brands are now targeting. Marketing now specifically to a youthful consumer who prioritizes both the modern and the cool, the big brands seem to mistakenly think the polo collar no longer makes the cut.

This past week’s Nike Netherlands kit release may just be that happy accident which enlightens the big brands to use the polo collar more often. I first came across news of this kit release through Instagram and I remember being immediately drawn to the black polo collar which one of the models was sporting. Wrongly thinking the collar was part of the jersey as opposed to simply part of an undershirt Nike’s stylists had layered it with, I was taken back to memories of the 1998 Netherlands World Cup squad.

Though I was quick to realize my mistake, I couldn’t help but think how big of a missed opportunity this was for Nike. The Netherlands, unlike the majority of Nike’s national teams this year, has one of the most “templatey” looks of all. There are no visible unique decorative details to this kit specifically as Nike has banked on the iconic orange of the Netherlands to speak most vividly. While I do not necessarily find this design direction problematic, I do suspect that both Nike designers and executives of the Dutch Football Federation realize now how much more special the new Dutch kit could have been with the simple inclusion of this black collar.

Even though no one is beating Nike’s effort with the Nigeria home kit, I would have easily put the Dutch kit right behind it had it included this black collar. Considering the Netherlands will not participate in this year’s World Cup, a stellar kit might have been all the team needed to at least remain a topic of conversation amongst fans. I concede that the current kit is not exactly forgettable; its only problem is that it is simply just not memorable enough.

The funny thing is that despite its shortcomings, I still contemplate the idea of buying this kit. I have thought about wearing it in a similar way to the model or just making an alteration to the jersey in which a black collar is actually part of it. At the same time, I have gone on to think about the practicality of detachable collars in soccer jerseys. In the Dutch case, a detachable collar might be first and foremost a way to appease the more traditional fans. If seen, however, as a canvas for expression, the same medium can also satisfy the more creative leanings of its younger or newer consumers. In this way, a detachable collar should not be considered something that dilutes a brand, but rather enhances it.

For all these reasons, I am heavily pro polo collar. Make sure to let me know in the comments below where you stand on this issue and whether you see the polo collar making a comeback.