By midlandsmovies, Jan 23 2016 12:03PM
Midlands Spotlight – Casuals
Casuals was the first production from legendary writer and former football hooligan Cass Pennant and was released independently in 2010. Distributed on DVD during its first release it has subsequently found a new life this year with the documentary being picked up by Metrodome who distribute film and digital content worldwide.
Pennant brings forth this extraordinary and insightful film that attempts to strip away the myths and tell the truth about a little known football subculture. But what is a “casual” I hear you ask? Well, the casual phenomenon was originally a football subgroup that had its own fashion, style and customs and one that helped revive the men’s fashion industry leaving a lasting legacy still felt to this day.
The documentary explores the trends from the people who were involved from its early days where brands & retailers such as 80s Casual Classics all formed part of the casuals’ uniform. This all happened during a time of change and upheaval but also when football and fashion mattered more than the corporate hospitality and sanitized stadiums seen nowadays.
This phenomenon has seen teenagers in cities as diverse as Barcelona, Berlin, Milan and Moscow copying fashions and a culture that developed on the streets and terraces of British cities. The documentary asks how did this specific football casual subculture come about and what did it stand for?
Using archived footage and interviews with those that were there, the doc describes how mod fashions mixed with sportswear and brands like Fila, Fred Perry, Adidas and Stone Island to show how clothing became a statement for those involved.
The film also has strong links to the Midlands region with interviews with Leicester “casuals” including Bev Thompson, who inspired Pennant’s most recently produced film ‘Beverley’. As well as being influential to the making of that film – which was shot, made and set in Leicester city – she was very much engaged with the casual lifestyle in the early 80s too. She also tells of how this gave her a sense of identity as a second-generation black woman.
Another Leicester-local is Riaz Khan who was the son of traditional Pakistani parents and who found his own identity when he adopted the 'casual' culture. He and fellow young Asians were the heralds of a hybrid youth culture as he took on board the soul-boy look of the 80s. Confounding old stereotypes and fighting racism, the melting pot of cultures saw new football-focused groups emerge from the terraces.
Directed by Mick Kelly the amazing story shows how youths set the style first with high streets catching up much later and way before the brands became vogue with famous celebrities. With over 50 interviews, the personal stories reminisce over the styles, the differences and the similarities of the elusive labels that became must-have clothing.
It also demonstrates how these British obsessions with the foreign menswear of the time have subsequently switched around with the rest of the garment-wearing globe now looking to the UK as a fashion trendsetter. To its own benefit, “Casuals” focuses on folk rather than football making the documentary a great success that chronicles the communities that made up a unique time in UK’s underground history.
Cass is also hoping the film can find a brand new audience as the rerelease includes exclusive new platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google, Sony, X-Box and is due to be a Netflix movie in Spring 2016 as well.
Available to own Dec 21st 2015 and on VOD from Dec 28th 2015.
See the film’s trailer here: