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Football and Fashion: England Prepares for Waistcoat Wednesday

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Florence Allday Bio

2018’s World Cup has been full of surprises, none more so than the seamless interweaving of fashion and football. British brand Marks & Spencer have cottoned onto the trend, adorning larger stores’ shop windows with their #LuckyWaistcoat campaign, inspired by Gareth Southgate’s favourite outfit. Before last weekend’s match, sales had increased by 35% but now stores in the UK and Moscow have sold out, ahead of Waistcoat Wednesday.

While waistcoats may seem a bit left field, the fashion industry is consistently impacted by major football events. Top sponsors Nike and Adidas are unsurprisingly boosted by the World Cup and the Euros, but other brands benefit from the beautiful game too. Louis Vuitton’s vintage 1998 France World Cup football can be snapped up for a mere £4,334 from Farfetch, alongside its updated FIFA World Cup Official Licensed collection, available online until 15th July. Ironically, Italian brand Versace’s £560 men’s football shirt remains popular.

After Germany’s 2014 World Cup victory, their sponsors Adidas saw retail store sales increase by 9%, while group sales in Western Europe grew at a double-digit rate. Nike, who sponsored the majority of teams in the 2014 tournament, in the six months following the final. Lotto Sport Italia made the Costa Rican kit in 2014 – the only team in the final 8 to not be sponsored by Nike or Adidas. This exposure led to a creative collaboration with Damir Doma for their SS19 collection.

This year, Belgium are the only semi-finalists with Adidas kits; France, England and Croatia are all sporting Nike. However, the historical gap between Nike and Adidas is rapidly closing. Euromonitor brand share figures for Western Europe show that despite Nike’s 2014-15 growth of 17% compared to Adidas’ rate of 11.2%, from 2016-17 Nike grew by just 1.1% in the region compared to Adidas’ 7.1% brand share increase. Both teams have capitalised on Adidas’ World Cup advert features the likes of David Beckham, Karlie Kloss, Lionel Messi, Mo Salah and Luis Suarez. However, with pre-orders of the Nike-sponsored Nigeria lime green and white zigzag kit passing 3 million, selling out before even being released, the world’s No.1 sports company shows no signs of giving up the fight easily.

England’s difficult retail climate has been thrown a lifeline by the World Cup: Gareth Southgate’s sartorial choices helped Marks & Spencer stock and sales rise; 18 million pints were drunk during England vs. Sweden, pumping life into the flailing UK pub industry; and Three Lions is set to go to Number 1 on the charts this weekend. If England progress to the final, Aldi and Lidl have said they will close early. Optimism is sweeping the nation as we hope that, thanks to eleven men and a waistcoat, football’s coming home…

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