The days of covering-up starch-stiffened shirts with sportswear are back.
As long as uniform exists, ways to make it unique will too. Knotting short ties, rolling up skirts, hiding jagged piercings. They were some of the most important lessons we learnt. It seems, then, that Diadora and Lyle & Scott have done their homework. The pair have collaborated on a new campaign titled ‘Oh What Fun!’ that rewinds to the ‘90s and then fast-forwards into the future, VHS player style.
Every stitch of sportswear is covered. Shell tracksuits, sweatshirts, tees and three-quarter zip-ups are complemented by blocky trainers that turn Dadness into madness. Dark blues and reds are cleanly cut in two by shades of school-shirt white, ready to be splattered by footballs like muddy Jackson Pollock canvases. Every piece is emblemmed with a special hybrid logo, combining both brands’ crests.
It’s all about capturing the euphoria of the walk home from school. Compared to the sludgy drudge of wintery walks there, going back home meant freedom. It also gave us a chance to put on our coats, throw on scrunched-up sweaters and swap Clarks for Air Maxes. It’s this refinding of identity that this Diadora x Lyle & Scott collab celebrates, and we’re all for that.
After all, it wasn’t the sewn-in name labels that identified us. It was the Superdry hoodie bought with Saturday job cash or the North Face jacket nicked from an older brother. While school uniforms may try to create a community feel, it was the coolest tunes, garms, films and games that ruled the playground.
Back to the present. In terms of streetwear right now, there’s no school like the old-skool. From Gucci fanny packs to Raf Simons R&S Records tees, rave is back from the grave and revitalised. Neo-neon detailings, throwback track jackets and baggy, acid-house fits have danced their way back from the last decade. To paraphrase the axiom of rave: Where you from, what’s your name and what you (got) on?
Visuals are taken care of by the legendary photographer Gavin Watson. The London picturesmith originally started photographing the Northern Soul Scene. He then swapped don’t-mess-with-me skinheads for messheads skinning up when rave came about. But his style remained the same. Affronting, arresting monochrome documents of fiercely tight subcultures.
He makes a perfect fit. Every image teems with teen energy, the mix of colours and black-and-white images linking the 90s to now. B-boys may have become softbois, Gen X became Gen Y. But one lesson remains the same. Never be uniform.
Collection shot by Gavin Watson will be live on the 19th of September.