Art of the Terraces is a major first-of-its kind exhibition opening at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery in two weeks time (5th November), and running until 12th March next year. The exhibition explores the culture of football ‘casuals’ – fans who originally combined hooliganism with expensive designer brands, while exerting a powerful influence on a generation of young people from the late 1970s onwards.
Art of the Terraces showcases the fashion, music and art that defined the football culture of the casuals, as well as the numerous encounters between rival groups of fans over the years. Perhaps the movement’s most important legacy is in the fashion domain, with the current worldwide mass popularity of sportswear worn as leisurewear originating in the trend set on UK football terraces over 40 years ago.
Liverpool is closely linked to the casuals movement, with many tracing the subculture’s roots to Liverpool F.C. fans returning from European fixtures like the 1977 European Cup quarter final with the latest French and Italian designer sportswear brands. The trend for continental European fashions caught on among rival fans, particularly because expensive-looking clothing and footwear helped casuals escape the attention of the police, who at the time paid more attention to skinhead fans. Ironically, by the late 1990s, the police were increasingly on the lookout for fashion brands seen as part of the casual ‘uniform’.
The Walker Gallery’s Art of the Terraces exhibition explores the work of the contemporary artists and designers who have been influenced by the casuals movement over the last 40 years, celebrating a cultural scene that was outside the mainstream, but still managed to define an era and generation: