Creative Soccer Culture

Who are TFFC? Meet The Latest Creative Collective From South Korea

South Korea has emerged as a hub for creativity as the world of football culture has evolved in recent years, and the latest collective to emerge are TFFC, who plan on bringing their approach into more of a mainstream audience in their homeland, starting with the launch of their new kit.

Despite Nike selecting South Korea as its latest canvas for creativity in 2020, bolstered by the emergence of several independent creative collectives announcing themselves to the world through their own unique identities and approaches, football culture is still considered as an alt choice in the region. For TFFC, or The First Football Club to give them their full monicker, that’s an issue that needs addressing. 

Bursting with a love of the game and how its influence stretches across disciplines, they are looking to change that stagnant view; to shift perception of football culture in South Korea into a more mainstream market. The region, after all, is a rich cultural hub that’s ripe for exposure. 

Connected by their love of football and all things Nike, the group is comprised of a diverse collection of characters with backgrounds in design, art, entertainment and sport. Their arrival on the scene has already seen them produce lookbooks for the South Korean national team kit, capturing the shape of the scene from the last year through the pandemic, as well as for clubs including newly promoted K-League side, Jeju United.

Using the launch of their latest kit, which has been captured in yet another stunning lookbook from the group, we spoke with one of TFFC's founding members, Hyuntae Ahn, aka Harry Photo, to get the lowdown on what this latest collective of creatives from Korea is all about, how their new kit came to be, and their aspirations for the future. 

Tell us about TFFC – where did it all start?

Team First Football Club (TFFC) was founded in 2012 in South Korea. We are a amateur club created mainly by models in Korea. The men's team has been running the club for 10 years, and last year we founded the women's team.

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Who is in the team? What makes it unique?

Until a few years ago, the club members were all made up of models. Over time, in order to develop into a better club, many members with diverse jobs in culture, art and sports were recruited. Currently, members with various jobs such as models, actors, entertainers, singers, DJs, photographers, stylists, art directors, designers, and tattooists are gathered. The biggest feature of our club is that all members wear Nike products voluntarily. Starting with Jersey, Socks and all the members are wearing Nike football boots.

You wanted to capture your team in an elite way, can you tell us about the shoot?

Every year our lookbook's big feature is the combination of fashion models and elite football performances. It is characterised by fashion models wearing knee socks and football boots in harmony with an unbalanced background. The home jersey of the 2021 season filmed a lookbook against the backdrop of a traditional Korean village in a Vaporknit jersey with blue color which is our main color. In particular, Vaporknit jerseys were not easily available in Korea, so we bought them through ProDirectSoccer in the UK. And we purchased socks from Hertha Berlin’s online store. The 2021 away jersey was filmed at a botanical garden in Seoul, matching the color of green. The Nike strike jersey was also not available in Korea, so it was purchased from ProDirectSoccer, and we had to buy the Werder Bremen Away socks from the club's online store.

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What about the jersey design? You've got a team full of creatives – did everyone get involved?

The jersey design, in which our club’s art director and designer participated, has a concept that can highlight the quality and characteristics of subsidiary materials rather than the overall design. In the case of away jerseys, our main sponsor logo was made with prism, and we tried to produce the same quality as a professional club by making the crest with thick silicon. In particular, we didn’t have to attach cheap subsidiary materials to Authentic jersey such as Vaporknit, so we tried to complete a good quality texture with thick silicon materials.

Can you tell us about football culture where you are? How would you describe it?

There is a lot to be desired compared to overseas. In Korea, football culture is still a non-mainstream culture, but several local brands and amateur football clubs mix football with various cultures to carry out fun activities such as online contents, events and exhibitions. It is hoped that these small movements in the local area will bring together to create a good football culture.

Are there more independent teams like yourselves, creating their own kits and moving the culture forward?

There is. As you probably know, it seems that Nivelcrack FC is the team that makes their own kits and shows a lot of great football culture to the world. I know that Nivelcrack FC also has a variety of members who can create a great football culture.

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How would you like football culture to evolve out there?

We want people to recognize that football is a wonderful culture. Since the members of our club themselves are people with unique jobs expressing themselves, we are making a lot of efforts to make football look more and more like a cool culture.

What would you like to do with TFFC? How big would you like to make it?

Our club wants to do various activities related to football culture through our own human resource. This year, apart from the lookbooks of various clubs that have been filmed so far, we will put together a collection of lookbooks related to football culture and display them. In the long run, if the Coronavirus issue is over, we would like to visit overseas and interact with amateur football clubs there.

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Production: Team First Football Club (@team_1st_)

Director: Lee Hoyeon (@lihogood)

Photographer: Ahn Hyuntae (@harryphoto_kr)


Oh Jaehyun (@5jhyun)

Lee Jihan (@peopleway_)

Liv & Manu of 'the 2Top' (@the_2top)

Kim Donghyun (@ehdguse)

Daniel Jones

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