Creative Soccer Culture

Hometown FC Project Captures Shirts In their Own Cities

Taking football shirts back where they belong, French photographer Theo Ox presents the first instalment of his Hometown FC project, which takes classic football shirts back to the towns and cities that they represented, with Danish side FC Copenhagen being first up.

Theo Ox is a rising french photographer from Bordeaux, and with close ties to football and urban culture, he chooses to shoot faces at different places in the world to show his vision and fugitive spirit through film and digital photography. And since late 2019 – prior to the current global situation, which has somewhat put a pin in his work for now – he has commenced work on the Hometown FC project, starting with FC Copenhagen. 

We recently spoke with Theo on the project, getting his perspective on the project and how it came about.

When did you first pick up a camera - what got you into photography?

Actually, I started taking pictures with an old iPod back in summer 2014. Then, I got my very first camera in 2016. I just wanted to create wonderful memories of places and people I meet, that’s what got me into photography.

hometown 10-min.jpg
hometown 2-min.jpg
For me a football shirt is more than just a shirt you wear on a field – it shows your identity, where you’re from, your colours. It is a symbol"

Can you tell us about this project? When did it start and what did you want to showcase?

This project started in 2018 when I first thought of blending my passion for photography and football together. I just had some ideas about some models and cool football kits but did not have any concept yet. Then fast forward to October 2019 when with my homie Matteo West, we decided to book a trip to Copenhagen to run away from our routine in France and to trigger more inspiration. That trip was the perfect opportunity to work on the project, so I worked on it and contacted Classic Football Shirts - big shoutout to them, they sent me jerseys and were a pleasure to work with.

Shooting pictures in the city represented by the jersey, that’s the concept. The aim is to showcase vintage kits in different city spots, to create unique visuals, from iconic sites to more underrated ones.

Tell us about your connection to the football shirt as an item...

Well, for me a football shirt is more than just a shirt you wear on a field. It shows your identity, where you’re from, your colours, it is a symbol! It is a lifestyle item that you can wear with anything (even if you don’t support the team in question or barely know football), some kits are just too sick with so much details, patterns and colours.

The FC Copenhagen shirts have a lot of character – why did you start with that club?

Like I said before, this trip was just the perfect opportunity for me to elaborate the idea I had about models and vintage football kits. It was the perfect time to finally test it. I started with this club because it is the only club I knew in Copenhagen (there are actually different clubs in the Copenhagen area which I did not know until we talked about it with one of the local models whose family supported a rival club of FC Copenhagen...). It was as simple as that: “we’re going to Copenhagen? alright so it’ll be FC Copenhagen then”

hometown 7-min.jpg
hometown 9-min.jpg
hometown 8-min.jpg
hometown 6-min.jpg

What's your football shirt collection like and what makes an iconic kit for you?

I don’t have a huge shirt collection but I definitely have some. To me what makes an iconic shirt is the little details, the design, what period it represents and what you’ve been through with it. For instance, my father used to play at my hometown club Les Girondins de Bordeaux, as a training centre player back in the 80’s. He kept a lot of jerseys he played with at the time which I have now, and to me these are just raw iconic shirts.

Are there some shirts that hold particularly strong memories with you?

Yes, definitely. There is one in particular, the France 2018 home kit by Nike. I mean, we won the World Cup with this one! I have it and wore it the day of the final. It was warm and sunny, people going crazy in the streets, I watched the game at Bordeaux’s stadium on a big screen with my friends and what felt like the entire city next to us. I think this is the dream of any football fan to see their country win a World Cup. But only few can experience that unreal joy and moment, I’ll never forget that day and that shirt.

What about brands – who does it best when it comes to football shirts and what would you like to see more of?

I have been a Nike guy since forever. Remember the “Take it to the next level” ad? And the one for the World Cup 2010? Man these inspired me a lot as a kid. So I would say Nike, they have the best designs, the best athletes, the best communication and spirit to me. But I am an open minded guy too, what Adidas did with Arsenal this year was awesome. And I am saying this as an Arsenal fan, even though I’d love the results more, we have the best kits in the league, no doubt! Also, New Balance is very interesting when it comes to football, they bring something fresh. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for next season. I would love to see more collaborations between streetwear/luxury brands and football clubs, when these worlds collide it can only be something crazy.

Was this a meeting of passions for you where football meets photography?

Yes, this was the whole point of the project: blending my two favourite things in the world, to create great visuals. My universe has close ties to football, photography and urban culture. I think this is what this project represents.

hometown 5-min.jpg
hometown 4-min.jpg
To me what makes an iconic shirt is the little details, the design, what period it represents and what you’ve been through with it"

What trends have you seen from a creative and photography perspective where football is concerned?

I’ve seen some. For instance Vadym Sklyaruk who’s an editor on youtube and makes crazy football movies. I also saw that guy who’s painting over football kits to create a unique design, it’s awesome. In photography, I would take the example of Hector Bellerin, that dude is playing for Arsenal and is shooting campaigns for the club, he’s the best! He is also an awesome model, I’d love to work with him. One more would be designers who produce kits concepts on instagram, some of these need to exist for real!

The Coronavirus has had us trapped indoors, how has that affected you as a photographer?

I’m not gonna lie on this: it sucks. As a photographer it means that I can’t really produce content… So it is affecting me a lot but you know, this time is harsh for everyone. We all need to take this unfortunate break to think about ourselves first, build new projects, fuel our mind with interesting things and workout. Big thank you to all the doctors and medical staff who are risking their lives every day to save us from this virus, they are the real heroes.

How hungry has it made you to get back out there when the chance comes?

I’m 21 years old, and have been taking pictures for 6 years now but my career has started recently. I’ve always been hungry even when photography was just a hobby. But with this situation it makes me a thousand times aware that what we had was something priceless. I can’t wait for the end of the quarantine. I’m so hungry for what’s coming next.

hometown 3-min.jpg
hometown 11-min.jpg

What clubs would you like to do this project with next?

Well, Arsenal would be a dream of course. But for now, the next part will be in my hometown, so the club will be les Girondins de Bordeaux. This one will be big, as it is the club I grew up with and will forever support. I want to make something unique for my city, I am working on it, it’s coming soon.

Photography by @theo.ox

Models: @matteo_west @jessielorentzen @anna_damborg

Daniel Jones

The Creative Soccer Culture Brief

Sign up to our newsletter and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the world of Creative Soccer Culture.