The footballers of Whippets FC are much more than your average-Joe’s meeting up once a week to let off some steam and have a pint in the local. For one, their team consists of a very established group of creatives including visual artist Rose Pilkington, The XX’s Romy Madley Croft, creative director Sarah-Jayne Todd, artist-designer Coco Capitán and many other talented creatives that grace the studios of London. And playing to these strengths, the Whippets FC players have collaborated on a new kit showcasing the community and creativity of the club, as well as women’s football.
On their collective design, Coco explains, “We weren’t really thinking about gender when we designed our kit, but what we liked,” adding that, “as a rather queer collective, we think the only elements to keep in mind when you dress for sport is personal taste and comfort, but not your gender.” As a group brimming with originality and artistry, Whippets FC takes the aesthetic of the team pretty seriously. Preferring to “personally take care of it”, rather than hand over the design to someone else, the team reflects their sense of community through their aesthetic, emphasising how “the love and support that all the girls have for one another makes it something more than just a sport.”
The team’s visual identity is led by captain Sarah-Jayne and goalie girl Rose Pilkington. Coco’s lent the Whippets her signature typeface that she uses throughout her practice while, at the same time, every player has a say in the overall outcome for the Whippet’s look. For Coco, women’s sport has been a strong influence on her individual practice for a while. But when she joined the club, the community provided her with the chance “to experience it in person”.
Playing for the Whippets FC for about a year, Coco realised she wanted to be part of the club on more than a physical level, embarking on a creative journey that explores the alliance of sports. “I was curious about the meaning of this union and why it was, and is, so important to be part of this group of young women that connect through football.” As a result, she’s created a new series of work starting with these wonderful shots for Dazed that depicts the allegiance, pride and familial-spirit of the Whippets FC.
In the lead up to the Women’s World Cup this summer, there is arguably more hype around women’s football than ever before. “We believe that football should not be for boys nor for girls, but rather for footballers," says Coco, "for people who are passionate about the sport.” The team recently watched the match between Barcelona FC and Atletico de Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, breaking records for its attendance of over 60,000 spectators at a women’s football match. “This makes me feel like great things are happening in football,” remarks Coco, “and this World Cup is making some dreams come true. I want to be there to support our global community of footballing women.”
Despite these improvements for women’s football, there is still a long way to go in the quest for gender equality in the sport. “I dream for the day that female players have salaries that equal male players, not only in football but in so many other sports as well.” She comments on how many women have to “keep studying or take care of children and other family” all while training at the same time. “It is about time that these women deserve our support and respect, and that their sacrifices and victories are equally celebrated.”
While male players earn staggering amounts of money, not only because of their ability, but also because of their media attention, Coco asserts that, “If audiences get more interested in women’s football, the conditions of the players will also improve. This is why, among other reasons, I am doing everything I can to make women’s football more visible.” Along with the artist’s ongoing exploration of women’s sport, Whippets FC is in the process of designing a new kit to be unveiled this summer. Luckily for us, Coco’s shared an exclusive sneak preview of the new kit’s prototype, and the results are so great that we’re hoping these designs will be available for the general public to purchase.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.