Gallery M Squared Games The Evolution of Football Fan Merchandise

The Evolution of Football Fan Merchandise

สำรวจบริการต่างๆ fans wearing team-branded merchandise – jerseys, caps, hats and other wearables – has become commonplace. But how did this happen, and why did it happen when it did?

This article examines the transition of the replica shirt from children’s sportswear to adult leisurewear, using a combination of data on manufacturer catalogues, magazine adverts, match programmes and over 900 crowd photos. It finds that the evolution of fan merchandising is characterised by four distinct phases – the production of adult-sized shirts, the promotion of shirts by clubs and retailers, purchasing by adults, and the ‘parading’ of shirts at matches.

From Scarves to Jerseys: Tracking the Evolution of Football Fan Merchandise

Each of these phases marks a particular barrier-breaking force. The first phase began in the mid-1980s, as the football industry responded to a crisis of hooliganism and low esteem with a range of initiatives designed to establish the authenticity of supporters. The second phase coincided with a decline in the prevalence of traditional sartorial norms – coat-and-hat or jacket-and-tie. It marked the entry of new styles of football attire and a resurgence of match-day ‘parading’.

The third phase was characterised by a shift to more consumer-focused production and promotional strategies, and a more focused market for adult shirts. The fourth phase is marked by a steady increase in ‘parading’, and the appearance of shirts worn by a wide range of fans of all ages. Despite the rapid changes in the fashion for football merchandise, the stability of club colours demonstrates the strength and longevity of informal constraints.

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