Few people have been as influential on British footballing fashion as legendary Italian designer Massimo Osti. Responsible for giving us both Stone Island and C.P. Company, Massimo has been decking out the terraces for decades now.
He may have passed away in 2005, but that’s done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm that a certain kind of football fan has for the man’s work. Amble into any ground on any given Saturday and the sight of the signature Stone Island patch affixed to a sturdy jacket will be ever-present as the smell of sausages sizzling on a grill outside the ground and the sound of a massed crowd of angry men screaming “WANKER” at a referee.
Earlier this year C.P. Company started publishing Colour Stories a series of pieces which examine the role of specific colours — plucked from the Pantone archive — in culture, fashion, and society at large.
The latest sees Dutch football clothing company Lack of Guidance examining the relationship between C.P. clothing and the English football grounds that are sites of communal worship most weekends of the year.
“When we were asked to do the Colour Story, C.P. Company asked us to do something on football,” says Lack of Guidance co-founder, Rens van Strien. “We had to think about how we could tell a story about colour which both made sense for the brand but is also a good fit for their audience.”
So they sat in Amsterdam and thought about the fact that British football fans that travelled to mainland Europe to support their club in continental competitions in the late 1970s started coming back with hitherto unknown menswear brands stuffed in their suitcases.
And it’s that combination of football, travel, and fashion which fuels this engaging tale of how various English clubs and their grounds came to wear the colours we associate them with today. That tale, incidentally, has been told by Amsterdam-based Bristol Rovers fan Shaun Savage.