Talking Sports Casual and football with an up-and-coming London designer.
Co-founder of Gravy Train, London’s first hip hop meets fried chicken night, North London’s Pasquale Daniel has enthusiasm for the Sports Casual movement that is matched only by his reverence for fried chicken. His final year project at university was a unique menswear collection marked by its homage to the Islington-based Arsenal Football Club. Inspired by the Arsenal’s kit archive, Pasquale subtly reworked their 1991-93 away strip into an original print design, which he then transferred onto cagoules – the garment that came to epitomise the swagger of the Sports Casual movement. We sat down with the London College of Fashion Graduate and chatted gravy, Trapstar and London Town.
You’re Islington born and bred. How does being a London influence you creatively?
I grew up on a council estate in Islington but had a wide mix of friends from all over the place that widely transcended class, race and interests. I think this mixed exposure growing up gave me a good understanding of street culture and fashion while providing me with enough external insight to create ideas to mess with it.
Tell me about your graduate collection, which was inspired by throwback Arsenal kits.
I’m a North London boy and a massive Gooner. My heart beats Arsenal red. Mainstream sportswear has been on a pause, design- wise. Football is by far the biggest sport in the country, but British kids would rather wear basketball jersey or baseball shirt. I wanted to know if I was the only one who thought that the old Adidas and Umbro prints of the early nineties were beautiful.
Why did you look to the Casuals movement for inspiration?
At the root of all our major underground fashion cultures there’s a distinctive attitude. Like the Hip Hop movement, the young working class made people re-evaluate trainers and sportswear and made them highly desirable. I suspect that the Casuals’ association with football hooliganism in the nineties is why it’s not as celebrated as other UK fashion movements. I chose to focus on the cagoule; the signature garment of the Casuals movement. The shape is timeless, but it needed a makeover.
The print is really intricate, how did it come about?
I created this print from scratch using Adobe Illustrator. Polyester is an ideal fabric for sublimation printing which is the method I used to print the Arsenal 1991-93 away kit. I read an article as part of my research which named that specific kit as one of the most ugly football kits of all time! Absolute madness!