RED STARS DEFENDER CASEY SHORT TALKS OFF-WHITE

Last weekend, Nike send us out to Chicago to experience the official event celebrating their soccer-inspired collaboration collection with one of today’s most coveted creatives Virgil Abloh and his brand Off-White, dubbed ‘Mon Amour.’ During the event, which as mentioned took place at the very city Abloh first called home, we were fortunate enough to sit down and chat with professional soccer player and defender of the Chicago Red Stars Casey Short, who came through to join in on the festivities of the day. If you’re just catching up on what went down at the ‘Mon Amour’ event in Chicago, head over to our official recap feature here. As for Casey, check out our exclusive interview below where we asked her to share her thoughts on the Off-White x Nike collection, who she’s rooting for in the 2018 World Cup, how she got involved in Nike in the first place and more.


So, first all we’re here in Chicago to experience the announcement of Off-White x Nike ‘Mon Amour.’ So to start, I wanted to get your thoughts and comments on the collection.
I think it’s so cool! I didn’t know a lot about it before, but I love the alternative take on the old-school soccer inspiration. It’s like a throwback but it’s still different and super cool. It’s not cookie-cutter like we see elsewhere sometimes – it’s very unique.

Talking about you now, how did you first get into soccer?
Honestly, it started as more of a social thing! All of my friends were doing it so I started it and then fell in love with the game.

Seeing as it’s World Cup season, are you gonna be watching the games?
Yeah, I will be, but obviously it’s a little bit sad that our men aren’t in it… I to for. So it’s tough – I don’t know who to root for.

If you had to choose, which country would you root for? AND who do you think will actually win?
OK, so for I think is going to win… Germany. And our team, we actuallydrew out of a hat for who to root for, and my team was Costa Rica so that’s who I’m actually rooting for!

Moving on now to you and Nike, tell us a little bit about your experience working with the brand as a professional athlete.
Oh, well, Nike has been phenomenal to me. I’ve always been a huge fan of their gear and their apparel – and of course their shoes. So to finally become an official ambassador, It means a lot to me. I mean, I’m literally obsessed with Nike, haha.

Is becoming a Nike ambassador somethingthat you ever thought would happen?
t was always the dream! But obviously there were a few step backs with injuries which m, ‘is this actually going to happen?.. was this meant for me?.. But that’s also when I realized just how badly I wanted it and how much this the game meant to me.

Images by Turfmapp/Trisikh Sanguanbun

FORGET NIGERIA’S SHIRT, IT IS CHINA’S TIME TO SHINE

Apologies but this had to be done. I’m saying it; China’s new away kit is so much better than Nigeria’s home kit. There, it’s said. And I’m going to tell you why.

Nigeria’s shirt has dominated the scene since it was revealed back in February, and rightly so. It’s a fantastic kit. Not only is the shirt good but the whole release was solid and Nigeria and Nike worked wonders on the products and reveal itself. It’s skyrocketed Nigeria into the forefront of the kit scene for this World Cup, even though they have next to no chance of taking home the gold. However, they have won the kit game. The shirt sold out within minutes online when it was released, huge queues formed outside NikeTown in London, and other stores and the resell value of the shirt near tripled online (much to the disgust of us football fans, eh? People cashing in on our growing culture).

But let’s discuss overall kit releases this year – not just within the World Cup. And that’s where the Nigeria kit plummets back down to Earth and tastes the loss it has been handed by the King: China Away.

The China kit is a perfect juxtaposition of adventurous yet exquisite. It’s a near perfect shirt, in my opinion. Albeit, China isn’t good enough to even qualify for the tournament, but their kit game is, in my opinion, one of the best. Ranked 73rd in the World rankings, with President Xi Jingping pumping in investment to the infrastructure of the Chinese game, the nation is yet to see any sort of improvement regarding their country’s team. But what a wonderful kit to use that makes them look less of an average footballing side. They may not be very good, but at least they look slick doing so.

A wonderful design is used on the kit; paying tribute to the country’s history and culture, using an exquisite dragon graphic. This was a very bold move, regarding that it could have either went two ways; incredibly bad or spectacularly brilliant. And it went the way of the latter. Combining this with a one-color design in a wonderful black with neon green detailing, the kit pops. It works. It’s so good. I can’t stress that enough.

I mentioned something about the kit being ‘near perfect’ earlier in this piece. Now, I say this based one thing: that DAMN neckline. I’ve argued this on twitter for weeks, ever since it was first revealed and now it needs to be addressed here. If Nike didn’t ruin every kit, even the Nigeria one, with this silly neckline then maybe we’d have a lot of kits regarded better than they are being said to be right now. I know I certainly would rank a lot of Nike’s kits higher if it wasn’t for this. And the fact they’ve put it on this China kit, a kit that so magical, is just upsetting. I’d still rock it though.

It’s a kit that rivals some of the best, and if China were good enough to get in the World Cup, then it would (or at least should) be getting the recognition that Nigeria has been and more. It deserves that, even if they haven’t made it to Russia. It’s just that good. A kit made for the culture. A kit made of us football kit gurus to swoon over. A kit made that is just, to put it simply, incredible.

NIGEL SYLVESTER VISITS PSG & MORE IN LATEST ‘GO’ VIDEO

Pro BMX rider Nigel Sylvester continues his ‘GO’ campaign, a point-of-view video series that sees the Queens, NYC-native traverse the globe, hitting up spots synonymous with all facets of creativity, from music to art to sports and then some. For his 5th installment, Sylvester travels from the foggy city of London town to the romantic city of Paris, all the while stopping off at a number of hot spots including Pompidou Centre, Somerset House, Parc des Princes, Pigalle Basketball Court, and Thorpe Park. We’re also happy to admit that we played a small part in getting all this set up by helping connect the BMX pro with PSG, which set the ball rolling for his latest captured adventure. So without further ado, hit play in the video above to enjoy the full Nigel Sylvester’s ‘GO – London to Paris’ video.

Images by Harrison Boyce

RECAPPING NIKE CHICAGO’S OFF-WHITE ‘MON AMOUR’ EVENT

This past weekend Nike Football and its Chicago office flew us out to The Windy City to experience the official launch of Nike and Off-White’s much coveted ‘Mon Amour’ soccer-inspired collection. If you’re anything like us – which we’re assuming so hence being on this site – you’re already aware of Nike’s fashion-focused, soccer-inspired efforts with two much talked about designers: Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones. While both are connected by way of being fashion designers, as well as the fact that Abloh took over Jones’ Artistic Director position at Louis Vuitton, their respective collection with Nike couldn’t be any more different.

Jones’ “FOOTBALL REIMAGINED” collection takes on a more avant-garde, all-black aesthetic, whereas Abloh’s Off-White effort pulls design language directly from traditional soccer – or rather football – cues. But we’re not here to talk about the story behind both collections again as we’ve done that here, and a closer look at Jones’ collection is soon to come, so today is all about what we experienced while out in Abloh’s home city of Chicago for the ‘Mon Amour’ activation.

To begin, this was my first time in Chicago, and to avoid boring you with a Dear Diary entry on my personal thoughts and comments, I’ll leave you with I fast fell in love with the city. If you’ve been, I’m assuming you have similar sentiments. If not, I’m sure you’ve heard all about how great it is. The food, the people, the convenience… And no this isn’t sponsored by Chi-Town’s tourism board, it just honestly had a great weekend there! Having landed late on Friday night, it was pretty much a hotel room workstation set up for me save for a cheeky whiskey at a local sports bar down the road. Saturday was the main event day, so come the morning, I linked up with our lead photographer Trisikh from Turfmapp, his team and fellow soccer media man Cooper from Eight by Eight magazine.

We headed out to Douglas Park where Nike Chicago had set up a custom soccer field aptly entitled “HOME FIELD,” which took on the design elements we’ve been seeing from the Off-White x Nike soccer campaign. When we got there, the pitch was already scattered with a mix of Chicago’s local influencers, soccer fans, Nike reps and other well-styled individuals that are connected to the scene in some way or another. I had decided to put on the ‘Mon Amour’ long-sleeve jersey that was waiting in my hotel room upon arrival courtesy of Nike, which unintentionally landed me as the impromptu model for the collection for other media outlets.

Slowly but surely, the other guests started getting kitted out in their own ‘Mon Amour’ gear, putting me much more at ease – behind the camera is more my scene. After getting settled amidst tunes from KIDS SEE GHOSTS, Ye’s ye, and Pusha’s DAYTONA among others spun by DJ’s Vic Lloyd and Kid Clay, we were brought over to the Nike jersey custom station in collaboration with THE BRILLIANCE!. This involved picking out your own heat transfer prints, all custom designed specifically for the event, in a bid to come up with your own interpretation of a ‘Mon Amour’ jersey. After the workshop, guests started gathering in pre-determined teams for a 4v4 tournament, with Trisikh – a much better soccer player than myself – jumping in on behalf of KTTP.

The tournament was rapid fire, with a flurry of back and forths from the mix of players (and skills), but all in all, it was a good excuse to flaunt the ‘Mon Amour’ pieces like they were intended: on the pitch. After the tournament, we enjoyed a little bit of downtime before the “HOME FIELD” became open to the public, which naturally attracted a swarm of Nike fans, soccer heads, and honestly anyone at the park with or without a ball to come and kick around on the pristine pitch. All in all, the event was a great way to bring the Off-White x Nike ‘Mon Amour’ collection to life, all within the place that started it all for Abloh’s enthusiasm towards the beautiful game. Have a look at our exclusive visual recap of the event this past weekend, taken by Trisikh and team, then be sure to check back in for our very own on-the-street lookbook editorial featuring pieces from the colleciton.

KTTP RADIO EP. 56 | REDRIBBONRECON, PORT X LA GALAXY, WC18

With World Cup action only a few days away, Drew connects with sneaker artisan, fashion and soccer junkie Red Ribbon Recon. The guys debate their favorite kit releases for the cup this year, who is going to take it all, and their opinion on who is truly the “group of death”. They discuss how they feel about some recent product drops spanning all aspects of the game, including some serious critiques, and their thoughts on what it takes to release a culturally sound product in today’s soccer market.

Drew also talks to his old cohost Anthony about the Port Long Beach and LA Galaxy collaboration. The teaser video was released online for the Capsule Collection and Anthony talks about the process behind it and the upcoming block party to celebrate its release. Drew praises the collaboration for it’s beautiful simplicity and homage to the roots of original soccer gear.

Laslty, Drew recaps Open Cup action and the current status of the MLS across the country including who is killing it and who is getting killed.

Check it out below:

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DUTCH CELEBRATING MOROCCO

In just a few short days, the World Cup should be all that matters. The tournament has become a month long holiday of sorts in which all just seems right with our world. We obviously kid ourselves and I am glad to have come to grips with this reality thanks to the help of certain releases this past week which have reminded me that this is as much a time to look out into the world as it is an opportunity to also look into ourselves.

The first eye-opening release this past week came courtesy of Lack of Guidance. The Dutch brand should be familiar now to most of you. It began merely with the intent of delivering stellar design by reinterpreting some of soccer’s most recognizable logos, but has matured into a brand who wants its designs to now actually mean something. Their latest effort is one of their most significant to date as through it the brand is able to ask some real tough questions of its own homeland.

Reflective, evaluative, and self-critical, the project is premised on the simple fact that the World Cup is always a time where we see ourselves become cheerleaders of nations other than our own. While we usually have no affinity to these teams other than the players we admire, Lack of Guidance points to the irony that its own Dutch people do have ties to another nation which they will still not support. What is worse is that now they should have more reason to support this nation seeing that the Dutch themselves will not be taking part in the tournament.

The nation in question is none other than Morocco whose redesigned crest adorns the front of the brand’s retro style jersey. Interestingly, Morocco’s roster includes 7 Dutchmen of Moroccan descent whose names are inscribed on the shirt’s back. As a whole, the product functions as a call to action to show solidarity with a community often marginalized in Dutch society. For Lack of Guidance, there is obviously no better way to do this than through soccer.

 

While Lack of Guidance’s effort took a more subtle approach, Fokohaela’s offering is more provocative and in your face. Once again a discourse on a nation that will not be participating in this year’s World Cup, Fokohaela’s designs come on the heel’s of Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” a song which which mirrors some of the same issues seen here. The first design touches on the topic of police shootings of unarmed Black men. Its defining decorative feature is a recurring target image with the message of the Black Lives Matter movement of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” interspersed throughout.

The second design on the other hand is a commentary on America’s mass shootings. It reinterprets the American flag into bullet holes and blood drips yet still lays out a clearer message for all to see. The “Slave 2 Guns” statement across the back lays bare the troubling question of how a nation can prioritize the right to own a gun over the personal safety of its citizens.

The two jerseys are set against the backdrop of the World Cup, a time in which every nation is so determined to demonstrate the best of themselves. Fokohaela’s jerseys force us to step away from this fantasy and instead confront some serious and uncomfortable truths. The experience of wearing or just seeing this jersey on someone else can therefore be cathartic in a way as it is through being truthful and critical of our own reality that we can be our nation’s strongest fans or patriots. So let us be accepting of the image we as Americans are projecting to the world, however, let us not resign ourselves to the danger that this image always has to be so.

Fokohaela’s jerseys are available here. 25% of their proceeds will benefit the Black Lives Matter movement. Lack of Guidance’s shirt, however, is already sold out.

I STILL THINK ABOUT THE ADIDAS F50 AND I MISS IT

The F50. Born in 2004 and paved the way for a huge amount of success for adidas, and the players wearing the silo. A boot which has seen different generations come through until it was ditched in 2015 (alongside the Predator, 2015 wasn’t a nice year for me).

adidas launched several generations of the Tunit F50, which was the first generation of speed boots from the Three Stripes. This was a major change in adidas’ boot range and it was made to compete with Nike’s Mercurial range. A boot that had revolutionary technology on it, alongside interchangeable studs which major competitors had not utilized before. This boot was a major play for adidas.

You see the laceless boots being released all the time from major companies now but many aren’t a fan. Something that was very special about the F50 was it had laces, yes, but had a feature where the laces were completely hidden providing a larger striking surface and enhancing control. This was a major trend of the time.

But it wasn’t until the F50 Adizero that I fell in love with the silo. The main reason was, that as a young kid/teenager I adored Lionel Messi (and still do) and the little Argentine wore F50s. I bought into the marketing process behind the F50 and fell for it. I was hooked on the Adizero and hooked on Lionel Messi. From then on, I only wore F50s. The lightest boot on the market, hence the name. The things Messi did in these boots, whether it be the Chameleon colorway, the solar red/yellow colorway or his first signature red/white boots, I loved it and wanted to be like him. And the closest I could get was the boots.

Each season I got a new pair, ready for a fresh start from the last campaign, and it was the F50 Adizero, and more specifically the Adizero MiCoach, that I wanted. Spending all my (or my parent’s) money on the freshest boots on the market was my favorite thing to do. Then, I would pull them on and channel my inner-Messi – albeit it didn’t really improve my talent.

The aesthetic of the boot was beautiful. A delightful design with the SPEEDFRAME, the web design across the upper and the three stripes down the side. Not only this but the colorways adidas released over the course of the Adizero life just increased the amount of love in my heart for the boot.

Following the success of the first generation of MiCoach F50s, the second design came out. And this design was also superb. The web-like design on the upper had gone and it was a one colored upper rather than having two. The stripes had been moved closer to the toes and the heel counter featured a cool sash design. The SPEEDFRAME was still intact. The first colorway was the excellent yellow colorway, debuted by Messi. And from this release, more and more excellent releases followed. There was purple, all black, pink/blue and more.

This was when Messi got a signature boot with the red/white design. An all-time favorite boot release of mine. A wonderful split design, with one half featuring red and the other white. One I adored from first sight.

There is still a chance to cling on to the greatness of these boots. If you’re like me and desperately want a return, adidas have teased us with a Chameleon GLITCH colorway, just like the classic F50s.

There was something about these boots that I loved. The design was incredible. They were revolutionary in terms of tech and weight. They had the greatest player on the planet driving them. What more could you want? Keep your Mercurials. Keep your Preds. Keep your Copa Mundials. I’m taking a pair of these all day, every day. I miss you, old friend. Maybe we will see each other again sometime.

KIM JONES/VIRGIL ABLOH: EXPRESSIONS OF SOCCER

In Desmond Morris’ introspective book The Soccer Tribe, famed-Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho states, “Those who only know football know nothing about football. Those who only see twenty-two men chasing after a ball fail to understand its geometry, its ballet, its psychological depth, its true nature. It is the most faithful representation of human nature and its many faces. It is a tribe where the rationale of tactics, emotion, and the fun of the game all prevail.”

Like the United gaffer, we believe the beautiful game is as much about cultural identity as it is about kicking the ball with your mates. This sense of identity can be seen everywhere, from the pubs and neighborhoods we call home, the clubs we cheer and agonize over, the boots you wear on the pitch to the music, clothing, and kits you don off it. Unlike any other sport, soccer has seamlessly integrated into every facet of culture to the point where it has engendered its very own pocket in the world of fashion.

Enter Kim Jones and Virgil Abloh, two lads who know a thing or two about fashion. Jones, the newly appointed Creative Director of Dior Homme, and Abloh, the man who has just replaced him as such at Louis Vuitton, are back again to stamp their mark at the helms of culture with their latest World Cup campaigns for Nike.

“FOOTBALL REIMAGINED,” as Jones has called it, is his way of reworking the perception of the football pastiche from the confines of the pitch to influences that extend as far as the avant-garde tailoring of London’s Kings Road, coupled with the latest technologies seen across our favorite sportswear garments.

When speaking on the former, Jones states “That whole punk era was all about proportions that gave power to the wearer. I was inspired by the idea of DIY of the time–cutting up and putting things back together–to create something new.” This inspiration has also led to an equally eye-catching sneaker which pays its respects to the iconic mercurial, along with three of Jones’ favorite Nike silhouettes: The Footscape, the Vandal and the Air Max 97.

Abloh, a man who has ascended the fashion ranks like a rocket, views soccer as a portal to his youth, where he remembers listening to hip-hop classics on his way to play high school soccer matches. Dubbed “Football, Mon Amour,” the collection features the Off-White boss’ many soccer memories–from the patterns and numbers he wore to the dots on the juggling lion crest, which Abloh explains is essentially the most optimal points in striking the ball.

When explaining the capsule’s Flyknit Zoom Fly, Abloh says “I wanted to communicate where a player strikes the ball. So, I put dots on the boot; if you’re going to strike the ball, your foot/eye coordination is basically the only variance of chance. That’s what the collection started with, these running shoes that mimic the same as your actual boot on the pitch so that you started subconsciously training all the time. Then I just applied that aesthetic from the bottom up.”

Already reeling off a series of massive campaigns (how about those Super Eagles), Nike is set to release another two smackers with FOOTBALL REIMAGINED, set to release on nike.com and select retailers on June 7, and the Nike x Off-White “Football, Mon Amour” capsule, set to launch on June 14. Have a look at the two collection’s official photo editorials respectively below.

KITS IN BITS IN THE FASHION OF BRAND ‘OWN FAN CLUB’

It seems like the best soccer apparel out now is the one we simply can’t have. While the Nigeria kit release will go down in the history books, it should not completely overshadow the significant contribution made this week by Own Fan Club, an up and coming brand from London that shows us what soccer lifestyle fashion is all about.

There’s another much-hyped release that shares a lot in common with what OFC showed us this week. This, of course, is no other than Virgil Abloh’s collection with Nike which celebrates the signature aesthetic of soccer by highlighting its most recognizable features. Yet while Abloh’s collection brings much clout and style, it pales in comparison to what OFC has done. The brand has more than just fashion behind it. It brings with it an authenticity not yet seen in the soccer lifestyle market.

It reminds us that soccer at its heart was never about the glamor. Instead, the sport was about a simplicity and accessibility that are perfectly captured in the brand’s decision to repurpose Hawaiian shirts. On their own, the shirts are easily dismissible, however, a slight stroke of genius was all that was needed to make these shirts memorable.

Much like Abloh, OFC pays homage to soccer’s distinct design language. Incorporating old logos from some of the biggest clubs with the typography of old sponsors and jersey numbers, it reflects on the unique relationship between all these features. The collection is a trip down memory lane to a fonder time where disparate elements such as team and sponsor logos complemented and enhanced the overall look of a kit. It is no surprise that OFC uses the ’90s as inspiration as this era provides a plethora of examples, whether it be Arsenal with JVC or Dortmund with Die Continentale, of teams that are difficult to disassociate from the companies they repped.

Though we can’t make this disassociation, the larger discussion at play with this collection is the very real disassociation we can make between soccer’s signature aesthetic and the kits that act as its customary canvas. Own Fan Club’s offering clearly demonstrates that soccer has a communicable design aesthetic. Harnessed with a raw, edgy, and simply pure energy, it proves that soccer fashion is ultimately what we make of it.

With this said, I think it is necessary to address what the term “soccer lifestyle” actually entails. There’s a misconception that somehow the term implies a perfect balance of the two concepts. This should not be the case though as it is the soccer component that should be more heavily prioritized. As seen through OFC’s example, it is ultimately the soccer component that elevates the lifestyle and not vice versa, and that is why I think every soccer fan should be appreciative of what Own Fan Club has given us.

Images via Soccerbible

KTTP RADIO EP. 55 | GUERIILLA FC, CHAMPIONS LEAGUE & BVB

After a two week hiatus Drew chats with founder of Guerrilla FC’s Justin Salhani on the inspiration behind his brand, his thoughts on the World Cup kits, and the ever evolving blend of fashion and lifestyle with the beautiful game. He critiques designs, praises others, and predicts who takes it all in the World Cup this year. The guys also reflect on a multifaceted soccer culture that exists today, the praise it is receiving in the fashion world, and how far branding has come in recent years. Whether you like the boots, the kits, or the lifestyle, the game can reach anyone on any level.

We also recap the rise and fall of Liverpool in the Champions League Final (poor Karius), his opinion on Sergio Ramos’s controversial tackle on Mo Sallah, and what Zidane’s resignation means for Real Madrid moving forward. He also touches on the Dortmund vs. LAFC match that happened here in LA praising the class and respect of the Dortmund players.

You can check it all out below including some photos of Guerrilla FC’s recent releases: