Down in the heart of the Lower East Side, just a stone’s throw from the Chinatown five-a-side fields, an underground intelligentsia is conspiring to fuse football with fashion. John Langford talks to Diego Moscoso about this exciting project Nowhere FC.
Nowhere F.C. began life in 2010 as a counterculture soccer club, a place where like-minded individuals came together to play and share ideas. During this year’s World Cup, two of the collective’s members, designer Diego Moscoso (Marc Jacobs, Supreme) and Simonez Wolf (Chef Sez) collaborated with apparel tech brand Avery Dennison to produce a line of World Cup-themed bespoke garments.
The by appointment only pop-up shop located at 100 Forsyth Street allows fans to customize their jerseys with heat transfer patches featuring original team crests for all 32 nations competing at the World Cup, as well as iconic moments from football history such as Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal, a kooky collection of seemingly random post-ironic emojis and, of course, your name and number.
First Touch caught up with designer and founder Diego Moscoso at Nowhere’s pop-up store to talk shop, the state of soccer in America and favorite football jerseys of all time.
FT: Can you tell our readers a little bit about the pop-up shop?
Diego: This is a World Cup exhibit. We’ve designed alternate crests for all 32 countries at the World Cup based off the idea of female heroes, goddesses and cultural icons. We’ve made a shit load of other badges too and we’re customizing jerseys for the Adidas League. In addition to that we have our own Nowhere F.C. line and we’re working with the 1 Love foundation customizing exclusive Bob Marley apparel. People can also bring in their own clothes, jackets and tees or whatever, and we’ll customize them.
FT: Tell us a little about your personal backgrounds. Where did you guys meet?
Diego: Simonez and I have known each other through nightlife and fashion for about six or seven years. We used to hang out at a lot of the same places. He used to be a doorman at a famous club called The Beatrice. Then he became a stylist at Fader magazine back when I was working at Supreme and we worked together and found we had a lot of mutual friends.
FT: What’s the story behind the name Nowhere?
Diego: I think that’s pretty self-explanatory. We’re everything. We don’t have a national identity. This is New York. The city that’s as close as you can come to everywhere else in the world.
FT: Would you agree that fashion has become a more integral part of soccer in recent years?
Diego: I would say the fashion industry has. Fashion comes from style and style is something that comes from soccer naturally. In the context of soccer, I’d say style is about identity and distinctly tied to where you come from. In the ’80s and ’90s fashion was a big part of casual fan culture and used as a tool to identify which gang or club you belonged to. So the two have always been connected, but these days the fashion industry can more easily commercialize it.
FT: Do you feel as though the line between sportswear and fashion has become blurred in recent years?
Diego: Totally. I think the line between everything is blurred because of the Internet. I think things that were once traditionally considered ‘sports clothing’ have now become acceptable in casual or non-sports settings. But I also think that a lot of athletic wear and uniforms these days are being influenced by high-end designers. You know, like how Peter Saville designed the England strip a few years ago.
FT: There seems to have been a lot of brand/designer collaborations in recent years, like Yohji Yamamto and Stella McCartney with Adidas and Philip Treacy for Umbro.
Diego: Yeah. It’s impossible to separate football from the rest of life. Football is so huge that it touches everything: fashion, food, bars, everything.
FT: So would you define the Nowhere collection as fashion or sportswear or both?
Diego: I consider football a religion and I consider us a gang.
FT: How involved are you guys with the soccer scene in NYC?
Diego: We have a philosophy that can be summed up in one sentence: ‘From the low-level to the pro-level.’ That means we’re fans of the professional game and we talk about it like normal fans would, but also we’re very active on the street level, playing regularly in the city. I think that’s what’s so great about soccer: it’s so much bigger than the EPL, the Champions League or FIFA. It’s like, if FIFA ceased to exist tomorrow, football would be fine. It would still be played all over the world all the time. It will never stop. I see so much more in soccer than just the pro game.
FT: Speaking of the pro game, do you follow MLS?
Diego: I have mixed feelings about Major League Soccer. I’m rooting for them, but I think the guys running it are cliches. They’re not thinking outside the box enough. The strongest thing the MLS has going for it is the fans. The fans here are so passionate. Even though right now they’re imitating what they see in Europe and South America, it’s an important first step.
FT: How would you describe the state of soccer in the U.S. following this year’s World Cup?
Diego: Nobody can deny the effect. Even people that don’t like soccer can’t deny it. The World Cup is like the gateway drug for most Americans. You know, it’s like you gotta smoke the cigarette before you get to the heroin.
FT: I agree, but that being said, we only experience the World Cup n New York, and this city is in its own bubble, one full of soccer fans from around the world. I’m not so sure World Cup fever was infecting every city in the United States this summer.
Diego: Yeah, New York isn’t America. It’s New York. Going to a different American city would be more of an accurate study to see if things are really changing or not. But usually things that work in New York eventually penetrate to the rest of the country. It just takes a couple more years.
FT: What did you think to the USA’s performance in Brazil?
Diego: I thought they did great. I think the fact that we’ve got a whole bunch of Germans carrying our American flag is awesome. That’s what America’s all about.
FT: Which club team do you support?
Diego: The only one I’m really interested in is Arsenal, but I’m frustrated right now.
FT: Why? Because they sell all their best players?
Diego: Yeah. I can’t figure out if it’s a club or just an ATM machine. A team like Arsenal can be one of the most successful businesses in sport and just be in fourth place forever if they want, never winning a trophy. You can’t argue with that from a business standpoint, but from a romantic standpoint it sucks.
Every season Arsenal fails to win the league they say, ‘Yeah we didn’t win the Premier League but we made a profit,’ to which I say, ‘Okay, then send us all a check.’ I don’t give a fuck if you’re making money or not. They’ve got me hooked though, and I’ll wait it out for one more year.
FT: Do you ever get a chance to go over and watch them play?
Diego: I went to the Emirates, but I didn’t get to a game. My experience in England was interesting. I went there with a bunch of cash, no planning, just a wad of money in true American style. That’s how things work in America, if you want something you just show up with cash and you can get anything you want within ten minutes. In England it doesn’t work that way. First I tried to go to a West Ham game with my boy who’s been a Hammers fan all his life, but we couldn’t get a ticket from anywhere.
There was no StubHub, there was no Craigslist, no secondary market from which to acquire tickets. I discovered that no amount of money could get you into a game, which blew my mind. So then I went to nine different bars in London to try and watch the game on a Saturday afternoon and none of them were showing it. There was no football on at all, just rugby. That also blew my mind.
FT: So what happened when you went to the Emirates? You didn’t get in there either?
Diego: No! There was a 45-minute wait to use a smashed-up ATM machine and I just realized that they obviously don’t like money in England. They value control over money. It was a really frustrating experience. By the time I got to the front of the ATM line it was halftime and the game had sold out.
So I sat outside the Emirates and listened to Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie score seven goals against Blackburn with a wad of cash in my hand. I understand why people in England want to fight so much, that made me want to fight too. I don’t condone violence in any way, but after that experience I can see how things can escalate pretty quickly.
FT: Finally, as a connoisseur of fine football garments, what’s your favorite jersey of all time?
Diego: Oh shit! There are so many good ones, man. I really like the old Peru kits from back in the day, the ’50s and ’60s ones, just real simple white with a red slash across.’ I’m also a big fan of all the green Germany kits.