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July 30, 2017

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A football shirt badge of honor

FOOTBALL shirts are not just symbols of team allegiance: the colors, designs and styles are being reappraised as icons of sartorial cool at an exhibition in London.

“The Art of the Football Shirt” takes visitors through 180 different football shirts, from classics to strange strips that pushed the boundaries, and jerseys that crossed over into fashion, music and politics.

It shows how plain shirts gradually gave way to a tidal wave of graphic design experiments, with art school graduates let loose with shapes and colors.

Curator Neal Heard, who owns 70 shirts in the collection, said: “These things are fashion items now. I call it the ‘basketball-isation’ of football — it’s becoming more about lifestyle and less about the tribal resonance of a team’s shirts.”

He compared modern football jerseys to New York Yankees caps — a symbol worn by many people without any allegiance to, or knowledge of, the baseball side.

The free exhibition, running from Wednesday to Thursday, is part of the Jacket Required menswear trade show at the Old Truman Brewery.


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