“It's 1979 and, in Birkenhead, smack and Maggie Thatcher are still less of an issue than Lois jeans and Adidas Forest Hills trainers.”
From opening scene, when lead character Carty bends down to lace his adidas trainers, the camera lingers on their shiny white brilliance and pans up his Lois blue jeans and anorak- it’s crystal clear that these boys, while hooligans and thugs, were obsessed with style.
In 1998 Kevin Sampson wrote a book about casuals called Awaydays. Arguably the best thing written on the casual scene, told in it's own acurate and witty style, it's paints a perfect picture of a time and scene many can seldom tell or understand.
Set during the height of Liverpool’s post-punk renaissance, pulsating to a soundtrack of Joy Division, The Cure, Magazine, Echo & The Bunnymen and Ultravox, it's a time when the city’s youth blazed a trail across pop culture, defining a look and a sound that was made by the Mersey. Liverpool football club were enjoying unparalleled success at home and abroad, and their unique achievements were mirrored by their travelling army - working class boys who pieced together a whole new look, inspired by their travels far and wide. In time, that look - wedge haircut, Fred Perry or Lacoste t-shirt, Lois jeans and Adidas training shoes - would be aped, annexed and reduced to the absurdity of being known as Casual (never was a fashion cult more dedicated to the obsessive minutiae of styling detail more misleadingly named by the London media), but throughout 1978 and most 1979 this was the Liverpool Look.
In Awaydays, it’s how The Pack dress that counts, and part of lead protagonist Carty’s mission in trying to gain acceptance is keeping up with their ever-changing modes. Ensuring Awaydays’ wardrobe styling was spot-on, Executive Producer Kevin Sampson called upon former casual Gary Aspden at Adidas U.K to help out with the supply of training shoes that had long since passed into the realms of folklore. Forest Hills, Nastase, Malmo… whatever the challenge, Aspden seemed able to find a supplier, be it a long forgotten warehouse in Buenos Aires or a quirky little specialist in Amsterdam. His own (Aspden’s) collection was hauled down from his mother’s attic in Darwen, dusted off and lent to the film crew on pain of death. No spillages; no stains; no rips and tears - look after them like your life depends upon them. Come what may, The Pack look spectacular in this film - the styling is spot on to a degree that other gangland films never come close to.
Opening May 22nd in cinema's, Awaydays is a must see for anyone wanting to know were the British obsession with sportswear and designer labels came from.
That’s why jotta and has teamed up with the filmmakers to present a brief to fashion students and designers with a curiosity and/or fanaticism for fashion and visual communication.
To create a promotional campaign to go for the film Awaydays that pinpoints the fashion cult of the football casual. Research the era, the labels and what they were trying to communicate- and reinterpret the campaign for the film.
Format: enter your work through jotta by uploading the material to your portfolio. It can be in any medium- illustration, photography, film, new media.
Deadline: Friday June 5th
What you could get: The chance to work on Kevin Sampson's next film, here it is, straight from the horses mouth-
"Our next film will be POWDER, based on my novel about a young indie band who break through on a global scale, only to self-destruct. The prize is an opportunity to work alongside the movie's wardrobe department for one week and design one iconic item of clothing that becomes synonymous with the enigmatic lead singer Keva McCluskey. It could be a t-shirt, a wrist band, a pair of tatty corduroy shoes... the interpretation and the execution is in the eyes of the competitors!"
Plus coverage across jotta.com - featured on our homepage, you'll get a featured article and gallery in the magazine.
Works will be judged by the film's director Pat Holden, the author of the original cult novel and executive producer on the film, Kevin Sampson, label founder and designer of 6876, Kenneth MacKenzie,and London College of Fashion, Fashion Illustration course director Tony Glenville.
here to enter the competition
Read more about the little known football fueled Fashion movement here