As we launch our collaboration with A Store Like 94 we thought you might like to get to know the man behind the bootleg movement.

We caught up with Joshua Steeples to talk about the rise of creativity in the football community, the art of bootleg items and how it all began for A Store Like 94.



CK: A Store Like 94 is founded on bootleg football shirts – how did you get into it?

JS: I had been collecting and selling genuine shirts for around ten years, but I also collect nineties toys. Once I discovered the flourishing underground bootleg toy scene that really kicked off three years ago. It made me think maybe I could incorporate something similar into the footballing world. So I focused my attention to at that time my small selection of montage shirts for inspiration and asked my contacts to start supplying me with bootlegs instead of the genuine shirts. This took awhile as they mostly thought I was mad as these shirts usually get thrown away during warehouse grading. 

CK: How have you seen people's reaction grow to the bootleg scene?

JS: The bootleg scene has been growing steadily over the last couple of years. But I definitely think with the break from fans attending stadiums and not being able to get their usual football fix it has increased interest online in the more creative and football culture based content. Football bootlegs are time capsules of nostalgia so I’m sure the love for them will always grow like it does with the genuine shirts. Let's face it 90s football fashion is best!



CK: Do you have any particular memories of discovering specific bootleg items? 

JS: I have lots to be honest, I'm quite a romantic about the hunting and finding of vintage items so always remember a time and place when I find something to add to my collection. A real game changer for me was finding a Daniel Fonseca shirt in a flea market in Portugal and realising how beautiful a knock off design could be. Also I recently received one of my holy grails as a gift from a contact that I had made friends with on instagram. That's just another thing I love about the growing football community on social media, you get to talk from people around the globe with similar interests. 

CK: Who in your opinion has been celebrated most in the bootleg world?

JS: There are two clear winners for this - Roberto Baggio and R9 Ronaldo. Just when you think you have seen them all, another one turns up. This is another major reason behind what makes bootleg shirts great. It keeps you hunting for more. 

CK: If you could work with any brand on a collection, who might it be? 

JS: I'm really excited to be doing this collection with you guys to be honest, it's great to see your passion for the bootleg and football creative scene and I can't wait to see where this idea takes us. Apart from yourselves it's been brilliant to see Patta's take on some Ajax classics so they would be up there and also maybe working with a legendary player directly would be a dream. Le God hope you are reading. 



CK: We've seen brands adopt the community creative approach and letting figures within that community lead on some of their collections. Do you think this is a good thing for creatives or are the brands looking to take over and monopolise on their audience?

JS: This is a question that I'm sure really splits opinions. Although I think it does have positivities using celebrities not directly connected with football to be involved in certain projects. I think there could be a better dot to dot connection with who gets involved on certain launches. Using the recent Adidas collection led by Pharrell as an example, it just made no sense to me as he has minimal connection to the game. It's good to see football fashion getting the attention it deserves but I just think the brands should work harder at thinking outside the box for who could work on certain projects. But I guess money talks. 



CK: Tell us a bit about how the bootleg shirts idea came about with Cult Kits?

JS: It's always been the dream for me from day one to start creating my own bootlegs and I think maybe because I was so excited by the idea I was also a bit scared of it. But after we did an interview this time last year we have just kept in contact and the Cult boys have been the driving force behind making those dreams a reality. Now the sky's the limit.



CK: Why Totti and Maldini?

JS: I mean there are so many legends of the game that missed out on the bootleg wall of fame, so we thought it was only right to start at the very top with two players who will never be forgotten and both gods for their individual clubs. 


You can pre order one of the Maldini and Totti – Bootleg shirts here. However, don't think too hard about it, as the order closing date is Monday 2nd November. This is a limited run you won't want to miss out on!





Back to blog

Leave a comment