“It got upwards of 45 Celsius. Juninho was getting ready to do his scene and the cameras were melting.”
Allow us to take you back. The year is 1998. World Cup year. Brazil are the holders, having defeated Baggio’s Italian boys on penalties at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena in ’94. France ’98 is just days away and one of the most iconic adverts of all time is about to hit our screens, changing the football advertising landscape for the best part of three decades.
The 90s, for the Brazilian national team, was an era of magnificence and flair. The dancers of world football boasted a lineup that included the likes of Romario, Emerson, Denilson, Juninho, Leonardo, Roberto Carlos and of course, an already crowned 2x Player of the Year, 21 year old Ronaldo. In a word.. drip
Around the same time, Nike had set their sights on pioneering the way football was filtered into worldwide advertisement. Having lost out on official World Cup sponsorship to Adidas, Nike needed to up the ante. They decided that the best thing to do would be to take the Brazilian superstars, drop them in an airport and film what happened. Essentially, they wanted to document the mix of the most entertaining footballers in the world with with what is typically, a very boring place. Turned out to be a decent plan. The players turned on the magic for the cameras and Airport 98 was born.
As Pierre-Laurent Baudey of Nike said, “I think it's iconic even now because it was the first occasion of a brand making such a splash around a soccer tournament. Now it’s expected and anticipated that Nike will come out with an epic. Back then, we were taking football into a new space. We were starting in football,” he says now. “We wanted to be the No.1 sports brand and to do it we had to be the No.1 football brand, because we knew it would be hard to do it without football. Signing the Brazil team was the beginning of our journey.”
In the same way that Nike reinvented themselves in order to pioneer the way for football advertisement, we at Art of Football have been leading the charge to introduce up-cycling to the UK football fashion scene. For this project, we wanted to elevate our work to the next level. Inspired by the beaches of Rio and the samba sounds of ‘Mas Que Nada’, we are delighted to present to you the ‘AOF Air Rework Range’. We have customised a range of Nike garments, sourced in vintage apparel shops, using our ‘Direct to Garment’ printers, with vinyl designs inspired by the iconic footage. We have also created an exclusive number of bucket hats and bum bags, cut and sewn by hand from recognisable, authentic Brazilian shirts.