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Football Leads Fashion’s Merch Craze

Published 03 August 2022

2 min read

Italian football club Venezia is shifting its focus to fashion, blurring the line between what constitutes fashion and merch in a major way. We unpick the key drivers and opportunities in this rapidly moving trend.

Last season, Highsnobiety named Venezia, a small and largely unknown Italian team, “football’s most fashionable club” thanks to its retro style jerseys, fashion-focused ad campaigns and experimental styling. Now with the release of its 2022-23 kits, designed as part of a rebrand in collaboration with Italian sportswear label Kappa and German art direction studio Bureau Borsche, the club has cemented its status as a covetable label with both sports and fashion fans alike.


While most professional sports teams deal in branded, wearable merchandise, Venezia’s approach shifts the narrative in such a way that positions them as a bonafide fashion brand with cross-demographic appeal. And for a small club like Venezia, it serves as a lucrative additional revenue stream.


Given Gen Z’s affinity for branded merch as well as an industry-wide nostalgia boom, expect to see more clubs - as well as entertainment companies like film distributors A24 - make the move into branded apparel that could pass for streetwear.


In addition, irony and humour play a huge part in the streetwear landscape of today. By aligning oneself with specific clubs, brands or musicians through apparel, there’s an element of “if you know you know” exclusivity at play here that actively entices hype-driven cohorts.


There’s also a near unprecedented amount of interest across Europe in women’s football right now, and myriad untapped opportunities and commercial potential in female sports categories, which will become a key focus for fashion.


Combine this with the reinvigorated hype around classic Adidas soccer silhouettes - namely the Gazelle and the Samba spurred by Gucci collabs and Bella Hadid endorsements - and it looks like football is set to re-stake its claim on the streetwear scene.

Last season, Highsnobiety named Venezia, a small and largely unknown Italian team, “football’s most fashionable club” thanks to its retro style jerseys, fashion-focused ad campaigns and experimental styling. Now with the release of its 2022-23 kits, designed as part of a rebrand in collaboration with Italian sportswear label Kappa and German art direction studio Bureau Borsche, the club has cemented its status as a covetable label with both sports and fashion fans alike.


While most professional sports teams deal in branded, wearable merchandise, Venezia’s approach shifts the narrative in such a way that positions them as a bonafide fashion brand with cross-demographic appeal. And for a small club like Venezia, it serves as a lucrative additional revenue stream.


Given Gen Z’s affinity for branded merch as well as an industry-wide nostalgia boom, expect to see more clubs - as well as entertainment companies like film distributors A24 - make the move into branded apparel that could pass for streetwear.


In addition, irony and humour play a huge part in the streetwear landscape of today. By aligning oneself with specific clubs, brands or musicians through apparel, there’s an element of “if you know you know” exclusivity at play here that actively entices hype-driven cohorts.


There’s also a near unprecedented amount of interest across Europe in women’s football right now, and myriad untapped opportunities and commercial potential in female sports categories, which will become a key focus for fashion.


Combine this with the reinvigorated hype around classic Adidas soccer silhouettes - namely the Gazelle and the Samba spurred by Gucci collabs and Bella Hadid endorsements - and it looks like football is set to re-stake its claim on the streetwear scene.