LOVERS BOYS’ FC x LEAF APPAREL // MORE THAN A COMMUNITY COLLAB
With a brand identity firmly rooted in the spirit of community and collaboration, the two brands came together to work on a common interest- the betterment of the community. We look at the incredibly journey of Lover Boys Football x Leaf Apparel thus far, as they look to share their journey with us, a little over a year into their existence.
Since its inception a little over a year ago, the brand has been notorious for its collab with Leaf Apparel, materializing tasteful kit designs that sample OG football kits, while presenting kits with a refreshing spin on modern aesthetics. The signature Leaf apparel logo adorns the LBFC jerseys perfectly, placed across the chest as seen on the soccer team kit. We caught up with Lover Boys’ Football Club captain to talk about the brand on and off the pitch, their journey, their challenges and victories on starting this football organization during a pandemic.
Can we talk about the forthcoming “Episode 2” of the LBFC x Leaf Apparel collab? What can we expect from this drop?
With the second drop which is our third project, we’re looking to build on some of the ideas we introduced in the first capsule while actively developing our visual language.
If I can break down the next drop in the context of the projects we’ve released thus far I’d say the first project, which existed very much as a photo story, was about introducing our message to the world and actualising an idea that myself, Jeremie and Elie had been discussing for ages. The garments were very much samples designed to look good in images.
The second project was very much about getting the technical aspects of the garments right, while honouring the aesthetic and ideas we had introduced in the first project. Even though the first project garnered great attention and there was interest in the items presented, we felt that because ultimately sportswear is about performance we would only make items available once we were happy that they stacked up against what was available on the market.
Now that we are happy with where the garments are at in terms of performance, even though we are always exploring and refining, for the third project and second drop, we’re keeping it simple and releasing some items that are perhaps a little easier to wear, built both on the items that people have been asking for and on the kit that one of our teams currently plays in! We’re going into summer and we’re emerging from potentially the deepest two years in our memory so really for this capsule, we simply want the joy of seeing people wear our kit – beyond this next drop we’ll slowly wade back into more conceptual waters.
How would the relationship between Leaf Apparel x Lover Boys FC best be described? How does relationship that influence the process of creating a collection/product?
Personally, in clothing, there is nothing I dislike more than a collaboration that has no reason for existing. The great thing about football kits is that there is always a relationship between a team, a kit provider, and primary and secondary sponsors so in terms of collaboration there are built in answers to the why.
I’d initially pitched the idea to adi as I’d done some work for them that was in line with our direction – they were kind of giving me the run around and eventually pretty much ghosted as our first fives season was about to start – I’d promised my team kit and when i mentioned this to Salik he came through without hesitation – literally the next day we were shopping for materials!
First and foremost, we are close friends and that answers the “why collaborate” question before anything else. When we say Cape Town is small and our communities are even smaller, we mean it. We’ve all been friends for ages so collaborations like this perhaps seem far more obvious to us than they do to people on the outside.
The great thing about working with Leaf and with Salik is the access we have to his expertise and to the sampling studio – this means we can play, make things tangible, refine and then synthesise and decide what we’d actually like to show the world from a number of ideas. I know this probably seems like an ordinary process but I’d say it’s relatively rare for a tiny brand like ours to have this access, especially in our context in South Africa, is a privilege.
I understand the brand started during a pandemic, as a community collab helping the less privileged. What does Lover Boys Football currently exists as?
If I had to sum it up I’d say it’s a studio or an idea under which we as a team can explore and execute ideas related to sport, whether those ideas enter the world in the form of fashion stories, documentary work, clothing collections, outreach projects or actually playing footie. Ultimately it’s a way for us to actively engage with something we share a love for, how we engage will continuously shift – at this point so long as we have one or two project running at all times, we are perfectly content.
To give some sort of insight into what we do, currently we are heading into production for the next Leaf x Lover Boys drop, we have recently wrapped an editorial for an amazing publication, we are developing a third kit with a local club, and our Old Dogs are about half way through a challenging Fives season. In the mix of all these things is precisely where we want to be!
Is Lovers Boys Football a team or brand or both? What was its intended purpose?
We’d say it’s both and more! Because we’re in the middle of club footie season a lot of the guys we play with socially are tied up in club commitments so currently as far as teams go we have an Old Dogs team, which is our over 25s fives team. Our purpose there is really to build on some of the great experiences that some of us had the privilege of experiencing in growing up in sport focussed schools while extending those experiences to our friends who perhaps did not have them.
Building on that our purpose is ultimately to amplify the positive elements and messages of sport while exploring all of the ways we connect to it. And by sport I mean all sport – we fully intend to go beyond just footie in the near future.
I think in recent times we’ve seen the global football community take a stand against injustices in the world and we want to be a part of that energy in any way we can. We also really love the message brands like Nike are sending about footie and sport being for everyone who wants to jam – these are the ideas we’d like to amplify and to be a part of!
Lastly we’d like to thank you guys for the continuous inspiration and for being the pace makers in our context – we love seeing you move from strength to strength and we fully acknowledge that without you there would be no us!