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The Rise of the Brazil Jersey: When Football Turns Fashion

From TikTok to Instagram, the Brazil jersey in football has become a cult favourite amongst influencers and fashion-freaks. But why has the internet placed this green and yellow gem at the core of its micro-trend cycle? 

This particular shirt was historically intrinsic to Jair Bolsonaro’s government, a staple of his extreme right-wing followers. Bolsonaro was in power from 2019 to 2022; he is barred from office until 2030 due to his abuse of power during his presidency. It is interesting, therefore, that the Brazil jersey should take on such popularity amongst a primarily liberal, fashion-mined generation. How has the shirt’s message shifted so astronomically in the last year? 

The shirt’s meaning dramatically changed when the current president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, publicly stated, “We can’t be ashamed of wearing our green and yellow shirt, it doesn’t belong to one particular candidate. It doesn’t belong to one particular party. Green and yellow are the colours of 213 million citizens who love this country”. Does Brazilian patriotism extend beyond South America, or is the popularity of the Brazil shirt simply down to influencer culture? 

This apparent political movement through fashion is not only focused on the Brazil football jersey, framed within the latest trend of sports jerseys as cult pieces, but it also includes other types of silhouettes, such as dresses, popularised by influencers such as Bb Trickz, as well as flag-themed bikinis or crop tops, seen on celebrities like Bijan Ross, perhaps to celebrate love, liberty and to pay tribute to the new Brazil. 

From Hailey Bieber to SZA, Kali Uchis, Tina Kunkey, and more, influencers have shown the virality and globalisation of Brazilian football jerseys via social media.

While working at a West London vintage store, I spotted many people from the ‘Depop generation’ wearing them on the streets of London. I spoke to Bryn Stagg, manager at House of Vintage in East London, about why they believe the shirt is particularly prevalent in the capital. They told me, 

“This isn’t just about patriotism, this shirt has come back into fashion due to celebrity culture. It’s trending items that can someone dictate what others wear, take Kendall Jenner wearing Adidas vegan Sambas and how everybody then wanted those; it’s people following their idols. The reason we have seen this jersey around London, particularly in West London, is because surrounding vintage stores and clothing outlets feed into micro-trends and forecasting.” 

Bryn Stagg on the rise of football fashion

Vintage stores feeding into micro-trends are a significant factor in deciding what becomes and stays popular — mainly because many businesses anticipate fashion fads via their Gen Z employees, who inform their company directors of niche micro-trends they have seen online, such as the Brazil jersey, which influences stock.

However, football shirts (especially vintage ones) are notoriously difficult to source, with much of the supply dominated by American baseball and basketball jerseys. Therefore, online retailers like Depop and Vinted play an essential part in consumers getting their hands on this polychromatic symbol of fashionability. Independent sellers and wholesalers are more than happy to meet demand. 

On Depop, Brazilian football memorabilia ranges from £20 for unbranded, Adidas-style t-shirts to £30-40 for the 1998, 2002, and 2004 official Brazil Jerseys, which appear to be the most popular. The latest 2023 Jersey is £80 via Nike, with retailers like ASOS selling it for the same price.

However, the vintage versions are more coveted and more affordable, so it is understandable why consumers are choosing Brazilian jerseys from the 90s and 2000s, which furthermore suits the current macro-trend of Y2K fashion. 

The Brazilian shirt was famous in the summer despite Brazil’s uncertain performance in football this year, with the women’s team being knocked out of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in August, following a goalless draw with Jamaica. The men’s team has also had a difficult season, still reeling from their early knockout in the 2022 Men’s World Cup.

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There was also uncertainty surrounding their Head Coach, with Sao Paulo appointed in June — but only on a 12-month contract. These challenges have been reflected in their subpar play this year, with a significant decline in international success; a new low for the struggling team was their 4-2 defeat to Senegal in June. Therefore, the rise in popularity of the football shirt is not simply due to international praise for the team, nor does Brazil have the iconic football status it once did.  

Therefore, we can only conclude that the football shirt has transcended the sport and has become a fashion statement in its own right. This apparent insincerity isn’t a disservice to the beautiful game. The Brazilian shirt’s popularity has undoubtedly encouraged more people to become interested in the sport and in collecting football memorabilia. 

So, what’s next for football memorabilia trends? With the current popularity of 90s fashion, I predict that vintage England football shirts will be in, a nostalgic throwback to the glory days of Beckham and Rooney. I also believe more women will be wearing vintage football shirts, perhaps inspired by the continuing success of the Lionesses and the USA women’s team.

Female influencers started the Brazil jersey trend, and I think the classic whites and blues of the England and US shirts are sure to inspire fashionable looks from influencers and fans alike.

What’s your favourite ever jersey from the country of Brazil?