Kevin Chan, is the Co-founder of Unwanted FC. A brand that he created with his brother in late 2018 out of Australia. Together they came up with an idea and concept that would give unwanted football jerseys a second life. They have taken the huge demand and desire for retro and vintage football fashion and married it quite superbly with sustainability.
They are a brand inspired by and celebrating kits of the past, and creating up-cycled concepts, including Tote Bag’s, Boot Bag’s, Side Bag’s, Laptop Sleeve’s and more. All made by hand and reworked from beloved football shirts that were on the verge of being relegated to the trash can.
One of the most unique innovations that Unwanted FC offer, is their up-cycling service, which returns in January 2023. If you don’t see something in your preferred team or style, then simply send them your once loved jersey and their experts will transform and tailor it to your preference and return it once more to your loving arms.
Through shopping the collection at Unwanted FC, you’re not only showing your support in circularity and zero waste production, but you’re also helping them with their mission to make the world game a whole lot greener.
Kevin Chan, has clear and palpable passion not just for football, but promoting and educating people in the importance of creating a circular economy. ‘Since we founded Unwanted FC, I’ve been able to head up digital and product strategies (from launching the online store to briefing new up-cycling concepts to our tailors). As the circular economy continues to grow, up-cycling opportunities are proving to be endless, and it excites me to see where we can take the brand next’
The Atlantic Dispatch caught up with Chan, just as the World Cup in Qatar was getting ready to kick off. For somebody with a deep love of football, but also as a person with a clear code of ethics, this World Cup has not been an occasion to celebrate:
‘Every 4 years, I usually look forward to this global tournament that puts the world game in the spotlight. Football is my life, but to know about the corruption behind Qatars host selection, as well as the human rights issues which have cost thousands of lives, means I simply will not enjoy the tournament to my fullest.’
Something definitely worth celebrating though is a business showcasing the joy and happiness that football culture and fashion can bring. They are a brand with a selection of products that can’t help but make you feel nostalgic. Seeing classic shirts from a bygone era being transformed into something new and given a second life and new meaning makes Unwanted FC a better team than any we have seen at the World Cup.
Where did the idea for Unwanted FC come from? What’s was the inspiration behind it?
‘The inspiration came from many first hand experiences. Co-founder (also my brother) Keith and I had been lifelong collectors of football kits, and after experiences in working in retail and the sports manufacturing industry, we were exposed to the dark side of these products we once adored.
The lifecycle of production gave us insight into how much waste is created in this unsustainable cycle. Upon graduating university with our marketing degrees, we were able to launch Unwanted FC with significant meaning through its core values of ‘giving unwanted football kits a second life.’
The longevity of this brand has proven successful, and we hope to continue building community whilst educating more consumers about the importance of a circular economy – we think that there are so many fans out there that resonate with our brand. Ultimately, we are inspired by bringing Football and Sustainability closer together.’
How important is it for brands and businesses to be more sustainable?
‘It’s got to be done before it’s too late. Climate change is already upon us, and no longer can brands turn a blind eye to unethical practices that costs the earth.
As the next generation of consumers become more educated, they’re conscious about where their money goes. You can see the rise in interest on topics such as sustainability and ethical consumption. This means that brands that can best adopt sustainable practices into their business strategy, will win in the long run.’
What has been the reaction to unwanted FC?
‘The reaction has been fantastic. We feel like we are building community through educational content and product. Anyone can easily get involved by sending in an old shirt to be reworked.
“Year after year, we continue to innovate and find new ways to story-tell, and the perception has been great both locally and globally.“Kevin Chan Co-Founder of Unwanted FC
As a small business owner, there are dark and challenging times for sure. But many moments of hope have sparkled inspiration into the brand when it was most needed. In 2020, professional footballer and social & environmental advocate Héctor Bellerín started following us, which turned into small projects for him during his time at Arsenal, and then Real Betis. He eventually shared some work we did for him and his team mates at Betis, which gave us incredible exposure. This has definitely been a highlight during our time with the brand.’
Why do you think there is such a demand for vintage football kits and products these days?
‘As mentioned, the up and coming generation of consumers are becoming a lot more savvy. They want to express themselves through their clothing.
Covid era also gave us all a lot of down time to reflect, and I read an interesting fact from WGSN (global trends and forecasting agency) that many people were seeking nostalgia during this time through product, fashion and/or content.
Beyond vintage kits, just think about the resurgence of vintage Harley Davidson merchandise and film cameras. ‘
With thanks to founder Kevin Chan for generously giving is time
For more information on Unwanted FC please visit here
They can also be found on instagram @unwanted.fc