The casual subculture is a subsection of football culture that is typified by football hooliganism and the wearing of expensive designer clothing (known as “clobber”). The subculture originated in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s when many hooligans started wearing designer clothing labels and expensive sportswear in order to avoid the attention of police, and to intimidate rivals. They did not wear club colours, so it was allegedly easier to infiltrate rival groups and to enter pubs. Some Casuals have worn clothing items similar to those worn by Mods. Casuals have been portrayed in films and television programmes such as ID, The Firm and The Football Factory.
British football support has had a strong, fashion led subculture element since the rise of the Teddy Boys in the mid-1950s. This continued with the mods of the early 1960s, the skinheads of the late 1960s (and later) and the mod revivalists of the late 1970s.
1970s to 1980s
The clothing and fashion aspect of the casual subculture began in the late 70’s after fans from Liverpool Football Club introduced the rest of England to European fashions that they somehow acquired (stole) while following their teams at European games. These fans returned to England with expensive Italian and French designer sportswear. They brought back many unique clothing brands that had not been seen before in the country. Soon, other fans were clamouring for these rare items such as Lacoste and Sergio Tacchini polo shirts. At the time, many police forces were still on the lookout for skinhead fans wearing Doc Martens boots and paid little attention to fans in expensive designer clothing. Fashion trends frequently changed, and the casual subculture reached its peak in the late 1980s. With their continual desperation not to be out-done and the arrival of the acid house, rave and Madchester music scenes, the violence of the casual subculture faded.
1990s and 2000s
In the mid-1990s, the casual subculture experienced a revival, but emphasis on style had changed slightly. Many football fans adopted the casual look as a kind of uniform, identifying them as different from the ordinary club supporters. In the late 1990s, many football supporters began to move away from the brands that were considered the casual uniform, because of the police attention that these brands attracted. Several designer labels also withdrew certain designs from the market after they became associated with casuals.
Although some casuals have continued to wear Stone Island clothing in the 2000s, many have detached the compass badge so as to be less obvious. However, with the two buttons still attached, those in the know are still able to recognise the clothing items. Many casuals have adopted a more subtle and underground look, avoiding more mainstream clothing brands, for independent clothing labels.