Whether or not you ‘Enjoy a Coke’ there’s one thing we all agree on, and that’s how much we all enjoy seeing Coca Cola on football shirts.
Starved for so long of the soft-drink giant in our game, Les Benjamins, an Istanbul-based brand that has developed an international reputation for their luxury streetwear, have given us a dose of much needed sponsorship nostalgia. Led by creative director Bunyamin Aydin, their latest drop is a football-inspired range of shirts, socks, shorts, pullovers and caps, all featuring the Coca Cola logo.
The apparel specifically takes inspiration from the 80s and 90s era of football culture, with purposely loose fits, a flowing silk look and extremely understated collars. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t new and forward thinking aspects of this drop. The line is unisex, providing an inclusive element to the collection, and Les Benjamins’ signature carpet pattern, which appears across all of their collaborations – including a 2018 piece with Besiktas.
But the collection’s centre-piece and the root of their collaboration is the appearance – and return to football shirts – of Coca Cola. The logo with its immediately recognisable font matches perfectly with both the design of the shirts and balances the new, forward thinking streetwear brand with one of the world’s classic brands.
R9 and beyond
For many fans, these shirts will also be a reminder of shirts sponsored by the soft drink in the past. Having sponsored the Brazilian National League in the 1980s, fans of Brazilian football may best remember Coca Cola sponsored shirts, although the design of the sponsor logo was slightly more overstated than on the Les Benjamins shirts.
By the early 90s though, clubs and designers had figured out how to fit Coca Cola more seamlessly onto their shirts, with no more striking a look than on Cruzeiro’s top, which was also worn by a young Ronaldo Fenomeno.
Elsewhere, the red branding of Coke fit perfectly with the striking colour scheme of Club América. Meanwhile, Coca Cola have been sadly absent on European teams’ shirts, with international and pre-match shirts being sponsored instead. A young Cristiano followed his Brazilian name-sake, as Coke sponsored Sporting’s training gear, while the international teams of Austria and the Czech Republic have also featured the soft drink on their training shirts.
But the award for the strangest Coke sponsor on a shirt? Well that has to go to the Australian national team, who appear to have worn shirts featuring a Coca Cola sponsorship several times in the 1990s. A big collectors favourite if you can find one of these!
Update on the Coca-Cola sponsored kits— Classic Football Shirts (@classicshirts) April 21, 2020
Just seen this amazing Australia shirt worn vs Saudi Arabia on 17th August 1995
Need one of these!! pic.twitter.com/fx2JAgzGPs
There’s no sign of a return for Coca Cola sponsored shirts at the moment, but until then at least we still have this amazing collection from Les Benjamins. Check out the full Coca Cola collection here.
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