Football Fans United - Felicia Pennant

Oct 27, 2022

Daily Life

Football Fans United - Felicia Pennant

Daily Life

Oct 27, 2022

Where have you brought us today and what does this place mean to you?

I brought the team to the Prince of Peckham, in Peckham, because it’s such an important place for me. It’s a black-owned pub and If you know about London you know that black-owned pubs are extremely rare. Clem (the owner) is brilliant, he’s Nigerian and I’m half Nigerian, he’s been incredibly supportive of Season Zine over the years. We’ve held different events in the pub, from quizzes to workshops. We’ve also watched big games such as Chelsea’s Champions League victory there and for last year’s Euros final, I decided to go there as I wanted to be in that safe black space for when the inevitable racism kicked off. It’s incredibly inspiring to see Clem’s work, and I always hope some of his magic dust rubs off on me. The food’s great too, for world cup qualifiers we did a meet-up for Nigeria v Ghana with jollof rice. It’s always good fun as black creators are always given their spotlight and space to show talent and thrive in a safe way.

With this second chapter in our collaboration with Ajax, we wanted to celebrate and emphasise the multiculturalism of Amsterdam, and leading in that area is London, a global metropolis known worldwide as a “melting pot” of various cultures. How do you feel your city has benefitted from multiculturalism and how important is it?

On a really basic level, I probably wouldn‘t exist!  My parents met in London;  my mum is Nigerian and my dad’s Jamaican. There have been waves of immigration, from Windrush to the postcolonial diaspora and when you think of London and how it’s benefited from that, you can appreciate how diverse it is. You can find pockets where people have built communities and created businesses around their culture - Little Nigeria, Little Jamaica and so on. I think the fact that you know where to go when you’re looking for something close to your culture is especially important if you’re part of the diaspora. These locations can be like a second home for you and a way to tap into these cultures which is particularly valuable if you don’t have a tangible or physical link to your roots or if your parents are from different places. You also see this multiculturalism in football as many football clubs have rich and nuanced communities around these diverse cultures. Exposure to such a range of vibrant music, fashion, food and art, all makes London a leading global metropolis. 

What does unity mean to you?

Well in a literal sense, it means being united or joined, coming together. It is interesting that the word “United” is often ascribed to football clubs. Basically, unity can be understood as coming together and lifting each other up behind a positive cause.

How do you say unity in your "native" tongue?

I’m born and bred in London so it’s “Unity”! The Yoruba word for unity is not one I’ve come across just yet!

What was your initial reaction/thoughts when you first heard about Daily Paper and Ajax teaming up to deliver a performance and lifestyle collection this season?

I thought it was brilliant. I think it’s really exciting when you see clubs team up with creative collectives and platforms in their community where it’s authentic and you’re given that kind of creative freedom and license to reinterpret kits from your perspective. Following on from the 3 Little Birds kit from last year, it made sense cause there’s a genuine link for the collaboration. Both kits look really great and I was really happy to see Daily Paper rise in a different context to reach a different audience in a different medium. This is probably the most overtly football related thing Daily Paper has done and the fact that it’s official is incredibly inspiring to see. That is history and nobody can take that away. I’m intrigued to see if something like that would ever happen in the Premier League.

As founder and editor of SEASON Zine, football and fashion is an area you know all so well. Why do these two worlds mix so well, especially in the last decade or so? And where do you see this marriage between the two sectors heading in the future?

The marriage between football and fashion has been going on since the 1960s; Since George Best and Mike Summerbee had a shop in Manchester where they would make clothes and also the abolition of the maximum wage for football. It also came from the cultural exchange that took place when fans wore the clobber they brought back from away days. Fans, Players, and brands all come together to set the precedent. Football fashion always makes itself known more in big tournaments 

I did Fashion History and Theory and you could see that in the last decade, the rise of capitalism and visibility has contributed to the growth in “football fashion”. This whole intersection has been around for a long time though and it is always developing. Essentially, fans in different cultural spaces are deciding to use fashion as a vehicle to express different perspectives. Another thing to consider is the rise of streetwear in the last 10 years. The worlds mix so well because of the intersections of football and fashion. The focus is predominantly on men though and there’s so much to explore. In high fashion there are lots of people who support football so there’s scope for more exploration there. On one hand at the core of the marriage is creative desires and on the other hand it’s the desire to make money. Ultimately it’s an expression of who you are. Being into football now has different connotations to what it used to be so it’s more acceptable to be wearing a football kit now than back in the days where hooliganism was rife. Another thing to consider is how football managed to be mainstream culture and subculture simultaneously.

In the future,  I hope we move away from over saturation of jerseys and if we’re talking about climate change it’s not sustainable to continue in this manner. Designs are great but how do we reconcile that with our responsibility to take care of the environment. I also hope it widens and becomes a little bit less gendered. When the lens becomes the female gaze, it will be a good indication of where people truly stand. Its fascinating to see how the digital world plays into all this too. You can make kits in FIFA volta now, with Hector Bellerin directing this initiative and it will be interesting seeing these developments take place in the metaverse as well. The future is always bright and exciting cause there’s new people bringing new ideas to the table and showcasing things in different ways.