Wonderland.

CLOTHSURGEON × SPORTS DIRECT

The London-based luxury menswear brand teams up with Sports Direct for an epic capsule in lieu of their Just A Game?! campaign.

clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! team
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! team

Haven’t copped any sporty clobber for the summer? Not to worry, east London-based luxury customs co. clothsurgeon has just dropped a highly anticipated capsule collaboration with UK athletic giant, Sports Direct, and it’s pretty sick.

Celebrating the camaraderie and straight-up impeccable vibes that sweep the nation whenever the footy is on, be it the World Cup or the upcoming 2021 Euros, clothsurgeon’s Creative Director Rav Matharu has dug deep into the sporting giant’s tumultuous archive to bring us a mix impeccably tailored and utterly nostalgic tracksuits. Essentially, Matharu is putting the ateliers of Savile Row straight on to the pitch, inspired by his own sporty beginnings playing for Leeds United.

The four-piece collection is for Sports Direct’s Just A Game?! initiative – encouraging accessibility in all areas of the sport through the sales of Matharu’s reconstructed kits. From full tracksuits, utility jackets and bucket hats, each upcycled panel lends a nod to the Euros’ competing teams, and, to be honest, look absolutely sick when pieced together. And in lieu of the 90 minute-game, Matharu has even matched his price point to the length of each game, with some bits going for half as much. What’s not to love?

clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! chair
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! side
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! chair
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! side

“With a year of football tournaments on halt, as we approach the Euros, I have so many emotions about the game; excitement, anticipation and hope. To pull together a collection on what football ultimately means to me for Sports Direct has been a really cathartic experience,” says Matharu of the collaboration, “I can’t wait to see people dressed in the apparel as they watch some of the big games.”

Ahead of the collection dropping exclusively on SportsDirect.com next Friday (June 11th), we decided to catch up with Matharu ourselves, talking all things inspiration and his favourite footy moments. Check out the interview below…

clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! flag
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! megaphone
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! flag
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! megaphone

Hey Rav! Will you start out by telling us about the origins of clothsurgeon?
The name came about during uni. I initially went to Central Saint Martins, but dropped out after 2 weeks due to the expenses of living in London. So I moved back to Leeds and worked in retail for 3 years, and decided that I needed to follow a second passion, and went on to study at Leeds College of Art and Design. The name came about in my second year because I’d just be constantly cutting patterns with a scalpel and my tutor would say, “oh you’re like a surgeon.” So I set up a blog and a website.

Where did this fusion of sportswear and Savile Row style tailoring come from?
Football boots were the first obsession. Then it was the apparel, kicks and tracksuits that you’d wear to away games. During my years in retail I kind of became a massive consumer of product, so I’d just buy nice clothes and I’d spend all my wages on that. I think I kind of wanted to keep that same emotional feeling for people buying my products, so I went to learn how to make products like Savile Row. It was just the place that I was initially drawn to because of their craftsmanship; it’s incredible, the way they go about making their products and the time they spend, so I thought that would be the area to study: the construction of a garment. I kind of just applied that to sportswear, and even now we offer this unique service and we like to call ourselves the streetwear Savile Row.

Describe the kind of person that wears clothsurgeon?
We don’t really have a specific customer. It’s quite exclusive in the sense that its a service where you can come in and say, ‘I wanna create a pair of sweats where one side is black and the other side is orange’ or ‘I want to make a tracksuit from Lora Piana cashmere’. We’d like to think it’s a timeless product – and fashion is obviously moving so much quicker – but classic and well-made pieces will last forever.

With the partnership with Sports Direct, what really excited you about the campaign? Why did you feel like it was such a natural fit with clothsurgeon?
It’s my transition from sports into design and fashion and it just made sense to create a capsule collection and highlight my career and where it began in terms of fashion. I was super excited. Sports Direct was the brand that you went to when you wanted buy a pair of boots and they start your journey within the game.

What was your first memory of Sports Direct and where did this connection with the brand come from?
When I was younger, we’d go to smaller retailers but my nieces and nephews would always talk about buying a pair of boots from Sports Direct. When I graduated from Leeds, the first job I applied for was a designer at Sports Direct. I didn’t get a job unfortunately and it was kind of based in the middle of nowhere. But there is this connection which is really nice.

clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! jacket
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! jeans
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! jacket
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! jeans

It’s a Euros capsule collection – what would you say is your favourite memory of the Euros, and how does it feel to be designing a capsule collection in celebration of that?
Amazing, I started playing football at the age of seven and it was around the ‘99 World Cup and I was kind of obsessed with it. It’s amazing what football does to the country when an international tournament is going on. The whole atmosphere, it’s just incredible. The culture around it, I know we’re a drinking culture but going to the pub and mixing with people that you’ve never met from different worlds; football brings everyone together, it’s a great thing.

I loved what you were saying earlier about those elements within clothsurgeon that are sustainable because you’re trying to make things that are long-lasting, which is fitting with your collection because you’re upcycling things from Sports Direct’s archive….
That’s correct, yes. We don’t call ourselves a sustainable brand but we do very sustainable things. We reconstruct old products and reinvent them to make things completely new because there are enough clothes in the world to last us like another thousand years. It’s about taking something that already exists, and Sports Direct has this incredible archive of kicks… so it made perfect sense, especially because of my journey in fashion. It was incredible to dig into their archive and repurpose those that have them as a segment of the garment to kind of just encapsulate my career within the game, how it felt when I left and then how to get myself back up to pursue another career.

Why was it important for you to pay homage to the past to create something new?
Football built me up as a person, it made me very disciplined, it made me work as an individual as a team player. Football players are always under a lot of pressure in terms of performing and if they don’t perform they might not make it to the next game or get another contract. It’s definitely that tagline of ‘broken but better’; the past being the old kicks, and then putting them in something new and beautiful just made great sense. I love Japanese culture and Wabi-sabi is something that we referenced – the art of repairing something once broken. With my career in football I want to move it forward and tell that story. You know, there are possibilities after the game and we can go on to do good things.

The Just A Game?! campaign expands upon Sports Direct’s long-term commitment to making football a more accessible sport for all – if anyone could take something from this collaboration what would you hope it would be?
That’s definitely the big message. We want the kids to love the collection, but also not to feel defeated when you get knocked down, that’s kind of a lesson learned. Mistakes happen and you can build from them and become better. I’m a firm believer in if it’s meant to happen, it’s meant to happen. If you work hard by yourself to fulfill your goals – you’ll get to where you’re meant to be.

It’s an authentic story, I used to play football, we’re not pretending. Sports Direct just reignited that passion for football in me!

clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! sitting
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! pitch
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! sitting
clothsurgeon Sports Direct Just A Game?! pitch
CLOTHSURGEON × SPORTS DIRECT

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