The effect of Ellesse Heritage Clothing on the 80s Casuals Subculture
‘Casuals’ subculture is a section of association football culture that was typified by football hooliganism and the adoption of wearing expensive European designer clothing. This subculture originated in the UK in the late 70s when many football hooligans began to wear designer labels and expensive sportswear to avoid the interest of the police. The hooligans didn’t wear their own clubs colours so that they could easily infiltrate rival supporters and enter pubs.
Clothing labels at this time were closely related to the 80s Casuals culture as football supporters travelled Europe and were seen back in the UK with expensive Italian and French designer clothes. This started the 80s Casuals culture as more and more fans were going to Europe and bringing back new designs and new brands that represent teams colours.
The Ellesse Heritage brand is a perfect example of a clothing brand that has its roots based in sport and was at the forefront of the 80s Casuals culture. The Ellesse Heritage brand was formed from producing skiwear and tennis clothing, these vibrant colours and styles were quickly adopted by the ‘Casuals’, as designs featured team colours with the retro, vintage style, that were synonymous with street-wear.
Ellesse Heritage continued to grow and produce cutting edge designs that the ‘Casuals’ movement required. By having a diverse collection of designs and colours Ellesse Heritage clothing began to create other clothing apparel like headwear and footwear. You would often see ‘Casuals’ only buying one brand and being completely dressed in their chosen brand and colours, so the obvious market was there for any European designer brand.
Supporters were bringing back these European brands on mass and selling them in local pubs and streets, the brands had a major problem with ‘fake’ clothing being produced and sold. The ‘Casuals’ culture looked harshly on fake clothing and there was a big emphasis to keep the culture authentic and real. The 80s Casuals fashion trends began to change frequently and the casual subculture reached its peak in the late 80s. With the arrival of acid house, rave and Madchester scenes, the violence and fashion faded to some extent.
As the fashion trends changed there wasn’t so much of an emphasis on expensive European designer clothing and the Ellesse Heritage brand became an iconic brand that represented an era of 80s Casuals. Other brands such as Burberry and Stone Island began to be common at most football grounds and became the uniform of the football supporter.