|07 Apr 2011, 17:15|
Casuals are a subculture of football support that developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the United Kingdom, and is typified by football hooliganism and the wearing of expensive European designer clothing. The subculture originated when many hooligans started wearing designer labels and expensive sportswear in order to avoid the attention of police. They didn't wear club colours, so it was easier to infiltrate rival groups and to enter pubs.
British football support has had a strong fashion-led subculture element since the rise of the Teddy Boys in the mid 1950s, and the origins of the casual culture can be seen in the mod subculture of the early 1960s. Groups of youths who supported football clubs began to bring their fashions onto the football terraces, and certain clubs began to be known for their mod following (e.g. Chelsea F.C. and West Ham United). This continued with the mod spinoff subculture, the skinheads, in the late 1960s.
With the late 1970s mod revival, the casual subculture began to grow and change after Liverpool F.C. fans introduced the rest of England to European fashions that they acquired while following Liverpool at their European Cup quarter final against the French side St Etienne. Liverpool fans, who travelled all around Europe in the late 1970s supporting their team, began arriving in England wearing expensive Italian and French designer clothes, sometimes looted from stores during violent outbreaks that were commonplace when they travelled abroad. At the time, many police forces were still on the lookout for skinhead fans wearing Dr. Martens boots, and didn't pay attention to hooligans in expensive designer clothing.
Clothing labels associated with casuals in the 1980s include: Fila, Stone Island, Fiorucci, Pepe, Benetton, Sergio Tacchini, Ralph Lauren, Lyle & Scott, Adidas, CP Company, Ben Sherman, Fred Perry, Lacoste, Kappa, Pringle, Burberry and Slazenger. Fashion trends frequently changed, and the casual subculture reached its peak in the late 1980s. With the arrival of the acid house, rave and Madchester scenes, the violence in the casual subculture faded to some extent.
1990s and 2000s
In the mid-1990s, the casual subculture experienced a massive revival, but emphasis on style had changed slightly. Many football fans adopted the casual look as a kind of uniform, identifying them as different from the ordinary club supporters. Brands such as Stone Island, Aquascutum, Burberry and CP Company were seen at nearly every club, as well as classic favourites such as Lacoste and Paul & Shark. In the late 1990s, many football supporters began to move away from the brands that were considered the casual uniform, because of the police attention that the casual styles attracted; several designer labels also withdrew designs from sale after they became common casual uniforms.
Although some casuals have continued to wear Stone Island clothing in the 2000s, many have detached the compass badge so as to be less obvious. However, with the two buttons still attached, those in the know are still able to recognise other casuals. Some police forces have tried unsuccessfully to link Stone Island's compass logo with the neo-Nazi version of the Celtic cross. Because of this, new clothing labels began to gain popularity amongst casuals. As with any designer clothing a high amount of cheap counterfeit goods can also been seen. Prada, Façonnable, Hugo Boss, Fake London Genius, One True Saxon, Maharishi, Mandarina Duck, 6876, and Dupe have begun gaining widespread popularity. Casual fashion has experienced an increase in popularity in the 2000s, with British music acts such as The Streets and The Mitchell Brothers sporting casual outfits in their music videos. Casual culture has been highlighted by films and television programmes such as ID, The Firm, The Football Factory, Green Street and It's A Casual Life.
Casuals' music tastes are eclectic and generally reflect the cultural landscape of the time. The most commonly listened to music genres have included punk rock, mod revival, Oi!, ska, post-punk, acid house, techno, dub reggae, madchester, Britpop and indie rock. There was a strong crossover with rave culture in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with many ravers wearing football casual brands. Madchester bands sometimes wore casual clothing on stage and in publicity photographs, as did Britpop acts such as Blur in their video for "Parklife". In the 2000s, many football casuals listen to indie rock. People who influenced the fashions of the casual subculture include: Adi Dassler, John McEnroe, Sir Edmund Hillary and Arnold Palmer. Non-sporting icons include Ronnie Corbett and David Bowie.Films that have helped shape casual culture include Quadrophenia , A Clockwork Orange and Get Carter.