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With “Blokecore,” Soccer Gets the Fashion Treatment

Dua Lipa blokette

Am I an aesthetic? Are you an aesthetic? Is that Manchester United jersey-wearing dad an aesthetic? Whether you like it or not, the answer is yes. And it’s called “blokecore.”

We can thank TikTok for this sporty iteration of the microtrends with anti-fashion roots that dominate the platform (see “balletcore” and “indie sleaze”). These “core” trends often seem like little more than niche corners of the internet neatly packaged by creators having some fun in 60-second increments. Or, in their most forgettable form, simply a single good outfit repeated ad nauseum until the algorithms that run our lives decide to stop surfacing it in feeds. But, that’s just on the surface—there’s almost always more to a new aesthetic than meets the eye.

After all, none of us really know how trend cycles work anymore, and that’s part of the fun. When your For You page serves up creepily specific content, why wouldn’t you get weird with your fashion monikers? Case in point: Blokecore. It might look like just another niche trend. And frankly, it might sound like one, too (i.e. esoteric and a bit silly). But once you know about it, you’ll start to see how ubiquitous it really is.

An ode to big fits, half-zips, primary colors, and retro sportswear brands, blokecore is a celebration of the fashion codes associated with soccer subcultures (or football, to the rest of the world). And before you ask if blokecore is just a bunch of girls in jerseys, it’s not (although there is a bit of that). What started as nostalgia- fueled men’s fashion movement, is now more about remixing soccer accouterments in unexpectedly stylish ways. Think: an Italia zip-up styled with tights and heels or a newsboy hat paired with fresh soccer trainers and a dress.

The trend has proven to have legs well beyond the local pitch and pub, traversing countries and industries from a Jersey-clad Rihanna posing with her baby bump to Emma Chamberlain’s Adidas obsession. Of course, the World Cup dominating all things sports and style in the past few weeks—along with the requisite soccer-inspired fashion collabs and campaigns that come along with it—puts this not-so-niche aesthetic firmly in the zeitgeist.

And the soccer fans keep coming: Hailey Bieber starred in a new Fila campaign this month, and Bella Hadid posed in a head-to-toe Adidas look just a few weeks before that. On the street style front, the TikTok girlies have fully yassified the trend into “blokette,” adding a feminine “coquette” touch to the style by pairing jerseys and trainers with hair bows and lace tights. Fashion folk have clearly embraced the sport and all its iconography.

There’s also the Samba Effect. After appearing on every It Girl and downtown influencer this summer, the Adidas classic, originally designed in the 1950s for European soccer players who needed more traction on the field, and its viral fame show no sign of waning. The brand continues to sell out in every color, reselling for their original price or more (I’ve been told by a sneakerhead friend that the early 2000s all-leather iteration is especially sought after). Add a paparazzi shot of Bella Hadid in her blokecore best (wearing a very Bloke-y sweater and a pair of Sambas in New York City), and the look became top-of-mind in internet fashion circles.

Bella Hadid in Blokecore

Even HBO’s White Lotus, the show delivering the best fan theory rabbit holes, fashion fails, and tv discourse right now, features Leo Woodall as an Essex bloke who you just know has more than one football Jersey hanging in his closet back home. Even the way he carries his sunglasses (with his mouth) is very “meet me for a pint after the match but make it fashion.”

This whole movement has been happening for a minute—it’s not dissimilar from the equally strange Weird Girl and Adam Sandler aesthetics we saw happening last summer—but, to mix my sports metaphors, it’s reaching a fever pitch right now. And it’s not difficult to see why. It hits a lot of fashion marks: there’s definitely some y2k nostalgia at play (please see almost every Missy Elliot appearance from the early aughts), which seems to be driving most, if not all, fashion trends at the moment.

It’s also, quite frankly, a classic sportswear look. Many of the football clubs providing the inspiration for this trend have a long and storied history, strong branding, and a color scheme meant to telegraph across stadiums. Just ask Madonna—she donned a blokecore tracksuit recently (courtesy of Gucci), and 20 years ago, looking fab in both eras.

Perhaps most of all, a bit of excitement and color in the world of athleisure is long overdue. Designers have been playing with the same references and silhouettes for a few years now—how much can you really re-invent sweatpants in 2022? Maybe in blokecore, with all its earnest fan references, retro fonts, and childish colors, we’ve found a way to make what’s old new again (and vice versa).

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