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  • by Phil Delves May 04, 2024 3 min read

    Here at FSC we spend much of our time sharing how to tell the difference between a fake football shirt and the real deal (we just published an article talking about how to spot a fake 1998 Fiorentina shirt here). As much as I would always encourage anyone to not buy a fake shirt though, I have to admit my fascination with the fake industry.

    Absolutely anything is on the table, from designs that tap into pop culture to creations that bring forth horrendous colourways which you would (probably) never see on a real kit.

    2024 Newcastle United adidas shirt prediction

    The fake industry is truly a wild west, and here are some personal 'highlights' I've found during my recent travels.

    2024 Newcaslte Adidas fake shirt

    There is a lot of excitement surrounding Newcastle's new deal with adidas, but it seems the fakers got a little bit too carried away with this multicoloured affair. I actually think they were onto something with the sleeves here, but with all the dials turned up to 11 it's simply too much to take in.

    Fashioned inspired football shirts

    Versace football shirt

    The fake market loves a 'fashion' inspired shirt, and this Italy x Versace creation is one of many that attempt to tap into the alluring aura of industry. There's nothing classy about this one though; the baby pink makes for a hilarious combination with the attempted intricacy of the Medusa head and accompanying details.

    Napoli fake football shirt

    Staying in Italy, the Napoli fake above somehow manages to stoop lower than the terrible Maradona 'tribute' shirts that Napoli actually created and wore in 2021. It's particularly amusing to me that the fake maintains the jarring red colour of the "Lete" sponsor. Many fakes maintain the original look of a sponsor, often above any other details, presumably as a means to connect the fake with the original even when there is no manufacturer's mark (and often no crest).

    We don't have to spend much time on this PSG fake, but I simply had to pick it out.  There is actually a lot of creativity that goes into many fakes (at least when they're not just ripped off from a concept...), but there are also many more utterly lazy looks like this which make no sense at all.

    Art inspired football shirts

    Van Gogh football shirt

    One common sub-genre in the fake market is the art-inspired category. Think of any famous work of art and there is guaranteed to be at least one fake shirt that channels the aesthetic of the creation. Typically the work of art will be married to the city or country most closely associated with either the subject of the art of the person behind the art, such as the Ajax x van Gogh 'Starry Night' fake above or the Japan fake featuring The Great Wave off Kanagawa. I'll let you be the judge of either's effectiveness…

    Of all the teams that have been riffed on by the fake industry, Japan is by far the most prevalent. In many ways I could have focused solely on Japan for this Collectors Club; there are that many completely unhinged designs.

    Japan inspired football shirts

    Dragon Ballz football shirt

    Many of you will have seen the Dragon Ball Z inspired kit above. I have to admit the colourway and use of the blackout Japan federation crest is a punchy aesthetic, and if I was a fan of the anime in any way this would be the most difficult to pass on as someone who is against fakes. This is just the tip of the iceberg though. If you want dragons, there are plenty of dragons. The black and pink look above was one of the tamer I found, believe it or not.

    Lots of fake Japan shirts tap into the enduring appeal of Tokyo, and like the DBZ shirt previously I have to confess my appreciation for the red and off-white look below. If you're going to create a fake, you might as well throw convention out the window and do something different. Samurai and Ninjas are, predictably, another prominent theme for fakes, though I think the lone Samurai look below could have done with a little refinement.

    With an open playbook and a complete lack of care for convention, the fake industry is a weird and wonderful arena. From the curiously faithful sponsors to the industry's obvious penchant for fine art, you're a better person than I if you're able to resist rubbernecking the carnage.

    Phil Delves
    Phil Delves

    As Head of Content, Phil is the creative playmaker of the team, covering every angle of football shirt news in our blogs and weekly Newsletter. Whether it's telling your fakes from your authentics, or deep dives into the newest football shirts designs, Phil will have all your football shirt content needs covered.

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