Support a football team that doesn’t exist, and you’ll never be let down on match day. Wave your scarf in the air for FC Real Bristol.
Some sports never go out of style
FC Real Bristol’s been around since 1999 – the year after France stormed to a World Cup win on home turf. Damn, that was a while ago. If we were talking about a real club, all the original players’d be retired by now.
The brand’s under the SOPH umbrella. It’s not SOPH’s only weird clothing line – there’s one called ‘uniform experiment’. They took the word ‘Bristol’ and turned it into a fleshed-out sports concept.
Make it a mix’n’match day
So yeah, this isn’t a real team. It’s an independent fashion label, building a concept as the clothes supplier to an imaginary club. The same way Nike produces exclusive stuff for sports players.
But it raises interesting questions about soccer style. What would the non-existent goalie wear when he goes to the supermarket? F.C.R.B sliders? An all-in-one with stripy socks?
You don’t have to imagine it. Every collection’s ‘modelled’ by the Bristol players. The team kit’s always based on camo pattern, with the design changing each summer season. The S/S 2018 version comes in black, navy, and multicoloured. No other team in the world’s got a uniform like this.
Looks worn by the players can be bought and tried on for real. Training gear, jackets, t-shirts, caps, all the sportswear you’d expect. Some stuff’s labelled as ‘supporter’ wear for the crowd as well.
The selection shows that football fashion’s about layering. Sure, you’ll start off cold (if you’re not wearing track pants), but a warm up’s exactly that. Zip up an FCRB hoody while you wait on the sidelines, then jog onto the pitch in practice shorts and a reversible mesh tee.
Useful whether you’re home or away
The team doesn’t exist, but SOPH hasn’t held back on real-world quality. FC Real Bristol merch looks the part. The logo and branding’s solid. You can tell someone had way too much fun with the promo pics.
And it goes beyond footballer fashion style, into accessories and lifestyle goods. Everything from a passport holder to a full-size portable drinks cooler. We spotted this club-branded pitchside chair and bench from the 2016 collections – butt warmers for players who don’t make the starting 11.
Aiming for the top of the J-fashion table
SOPH wants FC Real Bristol to make as big an impact on culture as a real top-tier league team. They’ve even worked on building a home stadium.
The architect on the project’s designed several SOPH stores across Japan. It ended up as a full-scale exhibition back in 2004, showing what the grounds and stadium stands would look like.
And the focus was more on conservation than competition. Everything about the design saved on energy and natural resources – an approach you don’t often associate with big-spend football. The stadium uses as much biodegradable plastic as possible. The ‘pitch’ area’s covered in grass seeds instead of fake turf.
This was a huge deal at the time. An exhibition match played when the display opened – on the pages of the Captain Tsubasa football manga. Tsubasa and friends took on Hyuga’s all-star fantasy team, at the fantasy finished stadium.
FC Real Bristol also dropped some special goods, like limited edition T-shirts (including a Captain Tsubasa collab tee). The aim was to use proceeds from those sales to fund the stadium. We didn’t wanna point this out, but it’s been 14 years… and it doesn’t look like they’ve finished it yet. At least that grass would’ve grown by now.