Art Of Football, a fashion collective and creative community, today launched its range in line with the upcoming Women’s World Cup as the brand aims to convert football fan culture into a lifestyle and celebrate the women’s game.
Launched in 2013 by brothers Gabe and Luke Cuthbert, AOF is known for capturing football’s best moments, quirks and nuances and celebrating them with original merchandise.
The brand’s Women’s World Cup collection features references to iconic moments from the England women’s team’s recent history, such as Alessia Russo’s cheeky backheel from the Lionessess’ 2022 Euros-winning campaign or ‘Weigman Track Pants’, referring to the team manager Sarina Wiegman.
“It’s probably our most expansive range to date,” Gabe told Forbes in an interview. “We’ve got a bomber jacket, some track pants, and a silk scarf, which you can wear in many different ways and also use as a flag.
“We’ve got a football jersey and then just a range of either cropped fit size tees or unisex tees with sort of classic graphic designs on there. We are also working on other more generic World Cup designs.”
The brand has also planned a hero item in the range, the ‘Button-Down Under’ shirt, which is a unique piece that will be created as the World Cup progresses, with AOF capturing the tournament’s best moments and building them into the garment design in real-time.
“We are really excited about that,” Gabe added. “It will be a short sleeve shirt that will start a tournament blank, but then, after key moments happen throughout the tournament, we will create embroidery designs. We plan to release a super limited amount of these at the end of the tournament.”
AOF, which has about 225,000 followers across Twitter and Instagram, has also launched its first sticker book for the World Cup and will partner with fast-food chain McDonald’s to screen games during the tournament, which will be held from July 20 to August 20 in Australia and New Zealand.
It also worked with sportswear brand Nike
“We had a really exciting collection that was reworked out of old scarves,” Luke said. “We made this really cool women’s wear collection that was available exclusively in the Nike Oxford Street store. We were like really proud of how that’s come out. And we also did some activations with Nike to engage more people to engage in the tournament and support the Lionesses.”
Women’s Football Collection
AOF has also previously launched items related to women’s football, including clothing and artwork related to England players who caught the limelight during last year’s Euros.
Gabe says the Lionesses squad players have adopted AOF as a “fan wear brand” of the team.
Both founders have a good relationship with some of the England players – they travelled to Barcelona to watch Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh play and created a mural of Manchester City’s Mary Earps outside Nottingham train station.
“The Russo backheel T-shirt, we found out at a later date that the England team bought it and were wearing it around the camp to sort of embarrass Russo about it. We even had Lucy Bronze wearing our “It’s Coming Home” caps in the changing room celebrations after the win, which just we only saw in the Instagram stories afterwards,” Gabe recalls.
They hope the Lionesses are spotted wearing some of the new collection Down Under.
“We’ve sort of always been showing them the prototypes and making them aware of it,” said Luke.
Gabe was 18 and Luke 21 when they launched AOF, which will celebrate its 10th year later in December.
As students, they started working on AOF out of their family house, and the fashion collective currently has a team of 25 members who work out of Nottingham and London or remotely.
“The idea came when Luke and I were working on a burger van, and somebody who we were working with was selling a heat press to make T-shirts. So we said, yeah, we could do that. So we sort of started by printing movie slogans and various things on eBay,” Gabe explained.
“But being huge Nottingham Forest fans and from a family of football supporters, we wanted to try and do something with the thing that we loved. I was an art student, so it was about combining those two things, and we wanted to sort of do justice to the moments that make you fall in love with football.”
The brand’s fastest-selling pieces are usually player-specific designs or those related to game-changing moments in matches.
“I think a few years back, we used to always draw inspiration from famous artists or do collections based around like our ideas of how Wassily Kandinsky or Henri Matisse would do football artwork,” Luke said, referring to the Russian painter and French visual artist.
“The international tournaments are always really big moments for us, so we always do a collection for those. What we also do really well is the reactive moments. So we’ll bring out (a collection) if there’s a crazy moment that happens, for example, Nottingham Forest getting promoted back to the Premier
AOF’s plans include dividing the brand into two sub-brands, namely AOF Club, which would focus on team-specific fan wear, and AOF Lifestyle, which would be about creating fashionable sports-leisure wear.
“We are we’re both very ambitious,” Gabe said. “We don’t want to ever sort of set ourselves a ceiling.”
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