Creative Soccer Culture

Umbro Pro-Training Lookbook by Martyn Ewoma

Adding plenty of heart and soul into a series of images that capture a few pieces from the Umbro Pro-Training range, photographer Martyn Ewoma has mixed football with fashion for this inspired photo journal.

Football is at the heart of this journal but where did the inspiration come from to put this collection together? Equally, what does the game and style mean to you?

"Football's the first real extra-curricular interest I've had, more than a solid decade before getting in to photography and I'm always looking to combine my other interests to inform my work and make it more personal to me. So in that sense combining football and fashion was the most natural thing to do. The game itself is very inclusive and accessible. On the one hand you've got Champions League quality football that 99% of us can never aspire to but at the same time if you get 20 lads on the park you can have an equally competitive game." 

"I think in day to day life a lot can be learned from football playing styles as well. A strange but poignant example would be Wales at this Euros, doing photography you work as part of a team with models, stylists etc and it's re-affirming to see that if everyone does their jobs properly you can compete with bigger names." 

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What was it about using Umbro as the brand in focus? Their relationship with football and lifestyle is pretty unique...

"Yeah I think Umbro pro-training's football and lifestyle relationship is very authentic. When I think about fashion brands I like, what they tend to have in common is an unwavering brand identity. With that in mind I wanted to work with a sportswear brand that follows the same ethos. Umbro pro training definitely mix things up with their designs and move along with the times but they're never willing to compromise the fundamentals of what they're all about. A good example of this is Umbro's collaboration with Palace a couple of years ago. A lot of street wear brands collaborate with sportswear brands to implement sportswear technology but that was one of the most sought collaborations I've ever seen. I have no doubt it's because it thought of it as a street wear brand combining with what's thought of as the primary football shirt maker in terms of English footballing culture. Rather than just whacking logos together for money." 

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The surroundings used, what can you tell us about them and what you wanted to convey with this collection of images?

"Well, the park I shot this is is very picturesque and pretty. Frederick Law Olmsted (the architect who had a big hand in designing central park in NY) actually visited it and cited it as a big inspiration. If I was to have one criticism of footballing culture it would be that it can be overtly masculine and aggressive. I wanted a scene that showed that football as a sport isn't diminished by looking at it through a more elegant looking glass." 

As a photographer, how would you describe your style and where you would like to take your craft?

"I feel like this is where I should have have an inspiring mission statement about how deep and important their work is but honestly I just think of things that I think would look cool then try and create them with my camera haha. In terms of craft I do have more solid ideas for the future though. I want my work to become more politicised definitely. And the whole reason I got in to photography was out of a rejection for the more conventional paths life had to offer. So I want to make sure my work doesn't converge to what already exists in the fashion industry already since that'd sort of defeat my purpose for doing it. in essence I just want to keep making things I personally think are cool and hopefully get paid well for it!"

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Boutique and independent thinking personified with a tailored aesthetic, this is a beautifully bold side of football. You can see more work by Martyn here.

Want a slice of Pro-Training perfection? Dive in here.


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