The photographer, documentarian and filmmaker Lydia Garnett has always loved football. Watching it, playing it, but also admiring the fashion that accompanies it. “Training jackets, adidas boots, nylon shorts, football socks – I love when people lean into functional sportswear and it fuses with their own style,” says Lydia. To pay homage to the recent Women’s World Cup and the eclectic style of the many fans who followed it, Lydia has created Fans Zine – “a photographic style project that defines how we’re dressing now and shows the way we experience watching a game”.
The zine is made in collaboration with two of Lydia’s football teammates, Izzy Trimble and Kamila Serkebaeva. All involved in Hackney’s grassroots Goalposts league, the trio are immersed in an inclusive sporting space that’s “full of inspiring, interesting players and fans with great stories”, Lydia says. Making the most of this pool of players and other connections, Lydia cast people they knew – people they play with, people who they knew to be big fans, and people who had previously played at a high level – asking them to bring their “favourite look”. Lydia also collaborated with stylist Jake Hunte and assistant Honor Barber “to draw out and elevate people’s natural style”.
The art direction is purposefully “stripped back”, with Lydia taking inspiration from Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek’s iconic Exactitudes: Combat Girls – Rotterdam 1996 shoot. But, instead of seeking out similarities in style as Versluis and Uyttenbroek did, Lydia instead wanted to celebrate the differences. The simple white background and central focus on the subjects allows the style on show to take centre stage. When the zine is unfolded, this uniformed approach allows you to take in each person, while also appreciating both the outfits together. Moreover, Lydia wanted the images to manifest “collective power and individual” confidence, and so she had the subjects maintain eye contact, an effect that “throws the gaze back and invites you to engage”.
Throughout the shots, football and broader sporting apparel is subtly woven into an array of striking outfits. A Nike tracksuit is paired with ornate earrings, a shirt and tie contrasted with a pair of football shorts and socks, a vintage scarf finishing off a sharp pinstripe suit, and a number of outfits are topped off with the sought-after Nike x Martine Rose Shox shoes – a heeled football boot-esque shoe that epitomises how fashion and football are becoming ever more intertwined.
Lydia handed out 100 of the first copies at some of the Women’s World Cup final screenings in London, so they hope some might be adorning the walls of fans and fashion lovers alike. They also hope that Fans Zine “stands as a testament to women’s football culture and what makes this game so special at this time. I hope that it encourages and inspires people to bring their full selves to women’s football environments.” Lydia is now looking to have the project evolve into other sports, events and communities – what sporting fashion subculture would you like to see Lydia delve into next?
GalleryLydia Garnett: Fans Zine (Copyright © Lydia Garnett, 2023)
Lydia Garnett: Fans Zine (Copyright © Lydia Garnett, 2023)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.