Creative Soccer Culture

Why The 424 x Arsenal Collab Shows The Streetwear & Football Relationship Is Here To Stay

One of the hottest collaborations to come out of the intersection of football and street culture dropped this week when adidas and 424 unveiled their joint Arsenal collection. The thirst for such flavour was instantly evident, and it shows that – done well and for the right reasons – outside influence is integral to football breaking new ground.

The 424 x Arsenal collection treads fresh ground, combining the streetwear aesthetics of the LA-based brand with the rich heritage of the north London club, enabled by the forward thinking of adidas. But this was more than just a publicity exercise; this was a marker, a further step in what is a new era of football culture, and the first time that it has made its way into the stately English home of football. This is where football was born, so to see a whole-hearted acceptance of this new entity that exists completely outside of the world of football, heralding a changing landscape, was empowering. It deserved to be showcased accordingly, so we partnered with 424 to present this groundbreaking collection in its home setting in LA, co-creating a shoot that helped fully embrace the story behind the design.

The execution of the shoot was centred on light paintings representing the lines seen on the collection. 424 founder Guillermo Andrade was inspired by the architecture and pronounced lines of the Emirates Stadium, so this was highlighted by manifesting that same energy via Andrade drawing abstract lines around the models wearing his Arsenal collection. The shoot reflected the collection’s deeper connection to the club, but it was also tangible new territory for all involved, venturing where only PSG and Juventus had gone before.

PSG and Jordan’s unprecedented collaboration opened a door that will likely never be closed again, ushering in a new era of football culture. That baton was picked up by adidas and Juventus, who partnered with Palace for the first collection to take influence from outside of the traditional sporting arena. But was the popularity of both of these moves simply products of a society that was excited to see something new, reserved at that time for only the premium trend setters of the European game? The ultimate test would come from further explorations into worlds outside of the traditional football setting, expanding the culture. And what the popularity of the 424 x Arsenal collaboration told us is that it’s a resounding no – this is more than just excitement for novelty's sake. This is excitement for a new direction for football culture. 

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This is more than just excitement for novelty's sake. This is excitement for a new direction for football culture."

Football and the culture surrounding it is restrictive in its nature – there are only so many ways you can design a home shirt for example. External influence presents a whole new avenue of creativity, to the point where it could be argued that it’s integral to the game breaking new ground. Football will always have fans, that’s not a debate, but it’s also not where the exciting new ground exists. It’s more with the people who have only ever had a passing interest in the game, or indeed, no interest at all. The crossover with streetwear labels such as 424 opens a door for new people to interact with the game, allowing it to grow and evolve beyond the boundaries that have kept these same people away in the past. Here lies a whole new untapped resource of creativity just bursting to be let loose on the game, refreshing it and taking it in entirely new directions. Suddenly football fashion has found a new groove. 

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But it’s not just streetwear influencing football. This is a symbiotic relationship that goes both ways, with streetwear having appropriated football garments for years. Jersey culture itself is in a full-blown renaissance, but only now are we beginning to see the tables turn. Bringing the stadium to the street is one thing, but bringing the street to the stadium is quite the other.

A simple way to invigorate the whole scene is to work from the top down. Looking at how Basketball – a sport that is currently ahead of football in its cross pollination of cultures – has evolved gives football a road map of sorts. Adidas bringing in Jerry Lorenzo to guide the direction of its basketball franchise showed a clear indication that the brand is aware of the shifting dynamics within the sport and how its influence reaches across categories, creatives, and communities alike. With football rapidly catching up with Basketball in terms of its influence, the Three Stripes would do well to consider Guillermo Andrade for a similar role, particularly given his success with this latest collection.

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The crossover with streetwear instantly makes a club cooler, whether by design or just through the sheer willingness of the establishment to flex."

Whether you are an Arsenal fan or not, the 424 capsule had people across the board swooning in admiration. The crossover with streetwear instantly makes a club cooler, whether by design or just through the sheer willingness of the establishment to flex. At times, football can appear stuck in its ways, unwilling to adapt and evolve, with archaic leadership and a wholly business-like approach restricting progress. But here lies a clear avenue to a more contemporary space that is littered with opportunity.

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On a more localised level, and looking specifically at the architects of the 424 x Arsenal  collaboration, it presents a way for adidas to see their performance side transition more smoothly into the lifestyle and streetwear scene, an arena previously reserved only for the Trefoil logo and the Originals branch. Perhaps that divide is less necessary these days, leading to a more unified brand approach where any product can exist comfortably in any space. Take the UltraBoost as an example; here is a sneaker that was originally designed for running but that was quickly embraced by lifestyle for its sheer levels of comfort. Now see a redefined love for the silhouette based on its inclusion in the 424 x Arsenal collection. With this in mind then, why do these types of collaborations have to be limited to off-pitch, warm-ups and third or fourth shirts?

Rumour has it that Jordan are set to be handed the PSG home shirt for next season in what would be yet another unprecedented move, and it’s this jump that feels like the final barrier for true acceptance – the willingness for a club to break from tradition, to forge new ground. Again, adidas have been on the forefront of on-pitch moves, with the likes of the Human Race getting a run out in actual game scenarios, and Reuben Dangoor being let loose on one of the brand’s prized possessions in the Predator. But the demand for more is there – this doesn’t need to be restricted to special and limited edition releases.

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Here lies a whole new untapped resource of creativity just bursting to be let loose on the game, refreshing it and taking it in entirely new directions."

We’re still a way off seeing the likes of Burnley hooking up with BAPE, but the resounding success of the 424 x Arsenal collection has made it clear that the relationship between streetwear and football is here to stay. Football has always been a part of street culture, but now street culture is ingraining itself in football. The only question left is where will its influence take us? 

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Shop the adidas x 424 Arsenal collection at

Photography by Très Cool.

Daniel Jones

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