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New Terracewear

17th April 2024 by B.Burrows

With its earliest roots set in the experiences of British football fans in the 1970s, the concept of terracewear has continued to evolved even to the present day. Its origins are mostly credited to fans of Liverpool, rumoured to have been so impressed by the fashion seen amongst their counterparts when on European trips that they brought it home with them. This created a similar envy within rival fans in the UK, particularly those belonging to more violent and widespread subcultures of the time whom also adopted the style partially through the necessity of disguising themselves from police who were more familiar with skinheads clad in Dr. Martens.

The 1980s saw a dramatic reduction in the amount of matches British football teams would play in Europe, and with it reduced opportunity to secure the more exotic items and brands previously seen in stadiums. In turn, this gave way to a rise in the popularity of brands closer to home; Fred Perry and Aquascutum were two of the biggest names to benefit from this transition, with the latter's focus on weatherproof fabrics being particularly suited to the conditions most football fans were used to. The limited choice of brands at this time created a culture of constant one-upmanship among the already competitive rival fans, leading to the consistent evolution of terracewear throughout the best part of the decade.

Marred by the violence of the 1980s, previously favoured brands began to lose popularity in the terraces by the 1990s with wearers often drawing the attention of police or rival "firms". The European Championships of 1992 saw a large number of these fans head to Sweden to support England and, their violent tendencies unperturbed by the comparitively lenient police, proceeded to loot a local clothing outlet that was largely stocked with an as yet unknown brand - Stone Island. With an instantly recognisable compass patch to the arm heavily featured in news coverage of hooligans at the time, the brand quickly became a mainstay of the terraces and the aesthetic began to branch out into the mainstream.

After finding its way into the wardrobes of prominent musicians of the time such as Oasis and Happy Mondays in the 1990's, by the 2000's the concept of terracewear had shifted. Though a clampdown on football violence with banning orders and the widespread advent of CCTV effectively killed the culture of hooliganism seen in previous decades, the aesthetic remained, as did its associations with subcultures of the past. Those looking to make an ostentatious display of masculinity in the stands could now do so without fear of being targeted by police or rival fans. The rise of the internet during this time opened up access to a host of previously unattainable brands for everyone, eliminating the competitive nature of the culture itself that had been seen before and concentrating the aesthetic down to a small number of styles and labels, mostly survivors from years past.

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Fred Perry



Paul & Shark



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