Creator Series introduces the individuals who are using their inspiration and talent to push football culture forward.
Jason Lee, AKA FOKOHAELA, has dropped some of the most iconic and recognisable kit designs on the scene recently, so good we'll forgive his brand being named after the German name for a mullet.
What is impressing you in fashion/football collabs right now?
As a sneakerhead, I’ve followed footwear collaborations more so than any other. The last Travis Scott x Nike Air Force 1 collaboration is a great example of expressing the aesthetics of both brands while pushing the boundaries in the product and delivering a lot of style. Of the past, I’ve always loved the atmos x Nike collabs for the same reasons.
How important do you think creativity is in football culture?
Some football fans are only interested in the performances on pitch, some think every shirt looks the same, and some collect every programme. One thing’s for certain, social media has made culture readily accessible to everyone, and the community makes it easier to get involved and create culture, whether it be merch or tifos or skills training videos, etc.
But, as connected as we are now, we still haven’t reached peak football shirt design of the 90s, when creativity was boundless and when shirt regulations weren’t as stringent and when social media didn’t exist.
What sports brands do you think are doing the best work in football?
There isn’t one “best” but there’s a lot going on at the moment, and in general, ironically, I think a lot of the most avant garde ideas are coming out of the States. A big reason for that is that Americans aren’t steeped with a long history of football, so they’re much more open to forego the past and create the future.
What work are you most proud of?
For political reasons, the FC St. Pauli kits for the two seasons I designed them. It’s a left-leaning club based on ideas of inclusion, and I’m very much aligned with that. And although France flopped miserably at the 2010 World Cup, designing their kits was a special moment as growing up and watching past World Cups, their kits always left an indelible mark on me, and was motivation for me to work at adidas Football.
And the two shirts I designed for Le Ballon FC for their popup shop during the 2016 Euros in France because they were the first “concept” shirts I designed after having left working at bigger brands and was the impetus for launching my own brand. It also doesn’t hurt that a women’s team, the Cacahuètes Sluts have worn the Jorge Campos inspired shirt as their kit.
How would you describe the Fokohaela aesthetic?
Storytelling visualised. The story wraps 360 degrees around the shirt so that there’s an element on the front, back, and sleeves that ties back to it.
Generally, Fokohaela isn’t a minimal aesthetic, although if we do minimal, it would be done maximally.
What’s going to happen to Arsenal after Wenger leaves?
There could be a period of initial instability with the new manager getting his bearings, but the management board has already taken steps to make the transition easier by installing new recruiting scouts and a de facto director of football. And for a club of Arsenal’s stature, can it get worse than it already is?
No10 or ball-winning centre mid?
Ha. I’ve always played left wing for my speed, but as a winger, if you lose the ball up the pitch, the consequences aren’t as game-changing, so there’s less pressure.
Why Willy Wonka?
For the same reason the brand is called “Fokohaela”. It’s a spin off the German word “Vokuhila”…….”vorne kurz hinten lang.” Translated “front short back long.” A mullet.
The mullet represents sport, fashion, and irony. And that bit of irony ties back to the Willy Wonka aspect of creating something fantastical from the irony and not taking ourselves or football too seriously.