Australia possesses an intriguing footballing environment with the coexistence of European and domestic fanbases, cultivating a unique ambience amongst the fraternity of Australia’s sporting culture.
Starved of communal interaction due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, football photographer Aleksandar Jason and football kit seller Paul Blake have joined forces with an abundance of footballing personalities across Australia to create their second pop up store, selling vintage football kits, prints and more.
The “PFC Vintage x Talking Shirt Pop Up 2.0” event occurs on Friday the 17th of December in Melbourne and the two masterminds behind the event spoke to Kick360 about their experience with the first pop up held in May, and how that has manifested into a much larger spectacle.
As it has been described by the two, it proves to be an event fuelled by culture, passion and community.
“I was expecting the first pop-up to be between three-five people (coming in) per hour, I think we had 30 or 40 people waiting for us to open and that’s what catapulted this,” said Paul Blake, owner of PFC Vintage.
“We knew we love football and we had this obsession, we obviously knew some people were out there but we didn’t think we would be that heavily backed.
“I was so shocked on that first pop up to see that kind of response… it was just constantly busy, it was definitely pretty humbling.”
Aleksandar Jason, sports photographer and photographer for Melbourne City, described the importance of cultivating a communal atmosphere and the ability of events of this magnitude to unite the footballing community down under.
“We just started this thing during lockdown and we had this idea of pop up, I think when it comes to football culture and ‘sokkah twitter’ we are pretty bonded against everyone else in the world but when it comes to football the pop up was a way for everyone to catch up and not hide behind their twitter names.”
“The way we held this event proved to Paul and I that we could be some sort of hub where people connect, where people who have never met each other could become friends.”
Ultra Football, a contemporary football fan’s dream store which is designed to immerse customers in a passionate environment have allocated space in their upcoming store in Melbourne available to vendors to sell items riddled with culture and passion such as prints, art pieces, vintage shirts and more.
“Ultra are seeking to change the wave and add a new flavour to football… I think Ultra is the home of football and coming to Melbourne has given us both an ally in which we can build our business and our network… this network is going to benefit football in Australia,” Aleks said.
“Developing trust from a brand perspective is extremely challenging… there is so much angst around the whole industry about buying fake kits. Having Ultra involved is a huge opportunity for all of us as this catapults us from being a regular seller in Australia to being a credible source,” Blake said.
The event is designed to encapsulate the social fabric around football where the uniqueness of the community within Australia seeks to take centre stage at one of the landmark hubs in Melbourne in the near future.
“We’re hopefully going to have some tunes going, create a vibe. The space is going to be the big change up, especially for the footballing community knowing that is going to be Ultra’s home in Melbourne and knowing what plans are put in place. It’s going to be one of the best football hubs in Australia,” said Blake.
“There will be coffee, football jerseys and Gattuso tackles. We’re going to have a good atmosphere, we hope people come down, just meet new people and hopefully leave with just more than a kit,” Aleks said.
The event will be held at Ultra Football, 200 Gipps St, Abbotsford next Friday from 4pm-9pm, with deeper messaging and a captivating environment set to await visitors.
“These pop up events as much as they are fun for us I also want it to be seen as an opportunity for others to come down and see that there is more to life then just following someone else’s path and if there is a passion then follow it.”
Full details regarding the event can be found here.
Image Supplied: Aleksandar Jason