Inspired by the city and the people the designer grew up with, this collection is an investigation into the behaviour and rituals of some of England’s most notorious hooligans, the Border City Firm from Carlisle. The collection touches on the notion of hometown glory/pride, the psychology behind collective tribalism and the series of emotions that an individual feels before, during and after 90 minutes on a Saturday, and what it takes to be a ‘tough man’ and gain the respect of others – is the act of hooliganism really a hard man’s game or is it simply a congregation of overgrown children indulging in exaggerated playground violence?
Inspiration for silhouette, detail and colour is taken from the unconventional pre-match rituals of the BCF boys - smashing up pubs, organising fights and being a general nuisance to anyone who got in their way, functional clothing used to keep the individual safe during a fight, to make them easily identifiable to the right people and to represent their firm and the ways support would be shown for each other, for the team and for the hooligan message. Oversized, baggy fits are developed through research of these individuals and what they wore on a day to day basis, including a certain level of study into Carlisle in the 80s and 90s to inform this further. Functional details are developed through thorough research of protective garments and professional football kits and equipment, manipulated to be integrated into garments making them suitable for the identified market. Childish and immature aspects of the colour palette juxtapose the uber-masculine side of the BCF and forces the audience and wearer to question the stereotypes associated with violent firms such as the BCF. Linton Tweeds from Carlisle, traditionally used for womenswear, have been transformed through fabric development to become appropriate for menswear and take on a new technical feel whilst being used alongside sportswear/outerwear fabrics such as Ventile.