Football casualism

Amongst the many subcultures born and raised in England in the 70’s and in the 80’s, there is one that often goes off under the radar, almost as if it was less important or less distinctive: Casualism. Why, you ask? It is a common mistake and totally understandable for some point of views.

So many subcultures were born in England, lots of them with an important and extremely distinctive aesthetic impact in the common imaginary. Just think about the punk subculture, the mod one, the skinhead scene.

All the mentioned above sucultures however, seem to have a common threads. All of them were deeply bonded with a specific music genre and, most importantly, they simply were a way to express one's affirmation in the world.

Casualism distances itself from this point point of view, simply because was born for a specific purpose. It was not born from a new music scene, and it was not bonded with a political or social inclination. It was born in the football grounds terraces and it represents a subculture that is one of a kind.

The reason why the football casuals were born is pretty easy to explain. At the end of the 70s, after 10 years from the beginning of the hooliganism phenomenon, the British law enforcement decided to really countertfight the spreading of football fights.

An easy task, since the football violence was mostly always practised by people from the working class. And working classes at the time meant lot of members of the skinhead movement. For a policeman of the late 70’s the equation was pretty easy to solve:

Boots and braces = hooligan.

Hooligans needed to go unnoticed if they wanted to keep doing their business and having fun. The standard look of the last decase was not good anymore. That’s when the Casualism came to light. Hooligans decided to completely revolutionize their look, in order to keep the hooliganism alive.

The idea that helped to pursue their goal was to start dressing wearing clothes of expensive brands for the sole purpose of going unnoticed by the police, which perfectly worked.

The hooligans therefore said goodbye to the Dr.Martens boots and the Harrington Jackets. Adidas Trainers became a must for what matters shoes and to lot of different brands became sort of a new uniform: Sergio Tacchini, Fila, Ellesse, Lacoste, Henry Lloyd, CP Company. As previously mentioned, we are talking about the only British subculture specifically created as a solution to a problem.

Hooliganism eventually was largely ceased due to the British government stance against it after the events occurred at the Heysel in 1985.

However, the football casuals and their look are still alive today.

Written by: Stefano Zanotti

Fun fact:

The company "Adidas" was founded by Adolf "Adi" Dassler who made sports shoes in his mother's laundry room in Herzogenaurach, Germany. In the 20s, his older brother Rudolf joined the business, which became "Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory".

Both Dassler brothers joined the NSDAP in May 1933 and became members of the National Socialist Motor Corps. Furthermore, Adolf took the rank of Sportwartin the Hitler Youth from 1935 until the end of the war. During the war, the company was running the last sport shoe factory in the country and predominantly supplied the Wehrmacht with shoes.

Rumor has it that the brothers' relationship collapsed - with Rudolf forming a new firm that he called Ruda – from Rudolf Dassler, later rebranded Puma, and Adolf forming a company formally registered as Adidas. Even the town's two football clubs were divided by the Adidas/Puma rivalry: ASV Herzogenaurach was supported by Adidas, while FC Herzogenaurach endorsed Puma's footwear.

Released in 1975 as part of a campaign to get lethargic West Germans to exercise more, by the early ’80s the Trimm Trab had become the sneaker of choice for UK football casuals dressed in European designer sportswear by labels such as FILA, Sergio Tacchini, ellesse, Stone Island, and Lacoste. In fact, it became so associated with the terraces that to this day the word "trabs" is slang for sneakers in Liverpool, one of the UK's most football-obsessed cities and a major center of casuals style.

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