Browse all

The strange encounter between football and cycling

We spoke to Attaquer's creative director about their collaboration with Kappa

The strange encounter between football and cycling  We spoke to Attaquer's creative director about their collaboration with Kappa

It is hard to imagine two sports more different than football and cycling: one is dedicated to the road, fatigue and distance, the other to grass, creativity and teamwork. Recently, however, the two sports have slowly converged and are talking directly to each other for perhaps the first time in many years. This has led to a series of collaborations that unite, or rather contaminate, two different but not too different aesthetics. First, Cinelli, the historic Milanese brand founded in 1947 by former racer Gino Cinelli, and Inter Milan designed a cycling collection consisting of various pieces, including a jersey, shorts, socks, a cycling cap and a custom-made Nemo Tig Gravel bike. This year, however, another team from Lombardy has designed a cycling outfit with its own corporate colours and logos. It's Atalanta, which has teamed up with another historic cycling apparel brand like Santini to create a collection that includes everything you need to ride your bike and support the Dea at the same time.

And finally, in the last days, it was an Italian brand with a very long history in sports and especially in football like Kappa that realised a collaboration with the young and creative Australian company Attaquer, which managed in a short time to create a strong community around itself, both motivated to pedal and recognisable through the second skin worn on the saddle. And it is this aggressive, disruptive and unconventional style that convinced Kappa to return to the cycling's world - almost two decades after the company had outfitted some of the strongest Italian teams of the time, such as Saeco and Lampre. The aesthetic of the 1990s, with its colourful jerseys and sponsor patches on every available inch, has disappeared with the protagonists.

Cycling, especially when it leaves professional ground to join the widespread enthusiast community, has opted for a new, more minimalist, elegant and streetwear-oriented form, consisting of monochrome outfits in cool tones and essential graphics. From road bikes to gravel bikes, the new generation of cyclists prefers an essential style that highlights the sleek and fast lines of the latest two-wheelers. This change has been driven mainly by Northern European brands, where cycling has become very popular in the last decade, without forgetting the English-speaking world, from the USA to Australia, as Attaquer's story shows. "Cycling is experiencing a great aesthetic renaissance, we are just witnessing this change and Attaquer is proud to be at the forefront of this movement," says Stevan Musulin, Attaquer's creative director, who answered a few questions about the collection designed with Kappa.

"When we were gathering ideas for the collaboration, we asked ourselves this very question: where do football and cycling intersect? The answer lies in the sport of 'radball', which is also known as 'cycleball'. It's a little-known sport that not many people have heard of, and even fewer have seen being played, but it's an incredibly impressive sport. Basically, it's football played on a bicycle." In fact, especially outside of Europe, cycling has created a subcultural space for itself, much like skateboarding or hiking, where how you experience the sport is as important as how you do it. Thus, clothing has become more and more important from brand to brand until it has become a real reference code for the different communities that recognise and touch each other from afar.

"The story and the images of the campaign are really different from anything the cycling world has seen before. Yes, it's a bit strange, but the connection between the brands and the fusion of the two sports is authentic and there's a healthy dose of fun to it. We think the community will love it as much as we brought it to life,' says Musulin, who is aware of the novelty of this collection. At the same time, this strange and fascinating encounter can also become profitable for both sports. While football has become the most influential sport in the world, at least in terms of aesthetics, cycling has lost its popularity of a few decades ago, but it has managed to establish itself by imposing its own stylistic code that maintains a strong internal coherence.

However, compared to football jerseys, which now come in all shapes and sizes, cycling jerseys have never really made it into the lifestyle world. They are too tied to the performance dimension and too technical to be used in everyday life, although they are very similar to the Kappa Combat jerseys worn by defenders in the early 2000s. Maybe cyclists really are too weird in the end to push their curious lycra attire beyond Sunday rides, as football has managed to do in recent years. Or maybe, in the wake of communities pedalling on full gas and powering the whole movement, or instances of green mobility and sustainability, sooner or later we'll all be wearing cycling jerseys like football jerseys.