Season Zine is the publication leading the conversation around a series of modern day economic, political and social discussions regarding the relationship between fashion and football. The publication focuses on exposing the unseen members of the football world; not only women but also the LGBTQIA community, the BAME community, the new generations and old. It’s about understanding the lived experience of each and every person that is involved in the football narrative, for Season shows how football (which is ingrained in our national psyche and culture) can act as a tool for connection between various groups of people in society and touch on topics ranging from issues of national emergency such as the climate crisis (see Issue 7) to issues of local importance. Season Zine seeks to elevate and champion underrepresented groups that are a complete part of the overall picture.

Felicia Pennant, Editor and Chief of Season, has an incredibly rich and diverse understanding of the fashion industry. In creating this magazine Pennant seamlessly blends a deep love for fashion with a personal engagement in football, and its underrepresented female fan base. In doing so Season Zine represents the ‘fashion-football connection’. 

In the Sports Bar in Clapham I meet with Felicia to get to understand how Season Zine came about, and to elucidate its true message. I seek to uncover how Pennent’s experience as an avid Chelsea Fan, alongside her deep understanding of the fashion industry, spurred her to set up Season in an attempt to highlight the importance a relationship which is present between women, football and the fashion world.

How did Season Zine all begin?

The idea behind season is to counter the modern male, pale and frankly, stale football culture. And so, I sought to create a Woman’s football zine that champions women first. This is for fans, women that play, but also, importantly, women that do not. For the majority of women that are in football do not play and we do not want to limit or isolate those women. 

Is the magazine just for women?

No. The reason the magazine has a neutral name is that I didn’t not want to isolate men. There are lots of great, supportive men involved behind the scenes who support womens football – but there just isn’t the representation for women. (See ‘He for She’ Issue Five). Currently, it is not a fair battle of the sexes in football, it is just men. We want to empower women to come and do things and give them to room to play. 

Why football, why now?

Football can be used as a lens to talk about different issues in society. Period poverty for instance. There is a great campaign in Scotland for provide sanitary products for all clubs, highlighting a major issue in society in general. This is an example of a wider conversation that can be made accessible through the lens of football. And more than that, we highlight issues of sustainability, climate change, extinction rebellion, Israel, Veganism, beauty, Qatar and Nigerian football kit! Are people in Nigeria benefitting that their countries shirt is a comical item? Football lets people think about things slightly differently. Season looks at how all these things can be linked to football. Yes football is a sport, but its so much more than that. It is linked to nationalism, and links people to where they come from. You may not call yourself a football fan but if you are proud of England, you’re into football. I’m interested to see if Brexit has an effect. But yes, as you can see, through football we are given a lens, and a gateway because we have a unifying principle in that we are all experiencing the same thing. It is just a different way of thinking about it. 

Can you tell us the story of how you yourself got into football?

I was Twelve and watching Euros 2004. Greece were a massive underdog in the finals, with Portugal being the far and beyond favorites to win. I loved the Soap Opera of it all. It is a constant drama. Chelsea is my nearest team and I wanted that drama all the time. I am one of three daughters to my Dad, and I went to him and said, “Dad I want to follow football”. It became our thing. And then… we just kept winning. In football there are so many highs, so many heart breaks. I’m really emotionally attached. And it’s crazy to me that what I am moaning about in football can mean nothing to someone else. That annoyance when we don’t do well. That joy when the ban gets lifted. I mean I love going to the club shop and just looking at our trophies. 

Who is your biggest idol in terms of Chelsea?

Its hard to say just one, but I met Frank recently and I love him. I didn’t want to sound super uncool, how do you tell someone how much you love them without coming off weird? But come on its Lampard – What a legend! I was gutted when he went to City, and so sad when he scored against us. My Dad was like “he should of missed it on purpose”. But I guess they can’t do that, right? Chelsea became an identity. I am thatfriend, I need to watch it! I mean, I even had blue in my hair when they won the champions league. I just had a feeling. 

And Women’s football? How did you come to it through your engagement with the Chelsea Men’s team?

That I came onto later. I support Chelsea, and my team win. They do well. With the men’s team, I was like “I am not going to get a Jersey till they win”. And there were so many years of almost, of being out played, of ‘John Terry Slips’, and then we won! 

Anyway, I wrote my thesis on ‘Suits, shoots, and metro sexuality’ to explore ideas of masculinity in football and how footballers are portrayed in fashion shoots. In assessing that I spent some time at GQ and gained access to Conde Nast archives. I was looking at people such as Héctor Bellerín and a couple of footballers who have great style. Players have been more experimental, check out Dominique calmer – The Everton players are on it!  So, fashion had this great place in football, fashion capitalises on the fame of football. But there were no women in it – beyond being a WAG. I mean there was one great shoot of Tim Moore and Bobby Moore. But beyond that, there just was not a trail for women. If you googled women in football, you just come up with “sexiest World Cup album”. This is such a minority view of women in football. Oh, and there really was not anyone of colour. I felt really unrepresented. And as a woman who is into football, why am I being underrepresented?

Is this why you started Season, to represent women like you, real women who are into football and its surrounding culture?

So, in 2016 I started Season, I don’t want ‘Sexiest fans’ to be the only image when you google women’s football. Through Season I have met so many women that were into football. These women are creative, and doing great things. We have a different way of doing things at Season. I had seen ‘Girl Fanzine’ by Jackie, who was photographing women going to games. But this is still only a certain type of women. Not everyone can afford to go to games and access is difficult. It is so expensive, and so I knew that so much more could be done.

Why is Season Zine different from similar publications?

I love the creative editorial approach. This was something that you can see in Green Soccer Journal. James (Roper) had a Burberry background. It was the same cross-section. Season is a zine because its fan made “by fans for fans”, but my background is magazines. I know we live in the internet age, but with print, something stays forever.  With season, you can touch it. It is a physical thing. And I have worked at so many magazines, so I knew what I wanted to achieve. I am qualified journalist who loves fashion. And I have worked at every element of fashion; behind the seasons, at fashion week, fashion selling, marketing, PR… you name it. I am always trying to be diverse, and I think that is so important in having a broad view. And all that experience pools into Season. This is a fashion-football connection. 

So how are we defining this, as someone who studies fashion? Is football-fashion in terms of trend setting, or do we mean design?

Niome (Accardi) who works for different sportswear brands would say that “football fashion doesn’t just mean kits”. Before it was definitely lead by men, but football is a way for people to connect. There are footballers modelling sportswear of course, for example for JW Anderson or Woox couture, but Fashion references football a lot too – look at the catwalks, the Jerseys, the typography, the community aspect. At least one show a month will reference football in some way. Trends are being influenced by players. However, before it was definitely lead by men. But look at Megan Rapinoe or Leah Cathrine Williamson, female football needs to utilise this! It is about showing what there already is to be seen, so that we can talk about the fact that there is so much more than can be done.

Are England leading the story?

No. What are the English players doing? They have won so many world titles, I mean if England had not won the world cup we would be having different conversations right now. But I think its plateaued, and I think that we need to reenergise. I want to showcase people that stand for something. Players in England are not clear about what they stand for, but take a look at say, Megan Lapino. She tells you, “I am gay”, “Fuck trump”, “I have purple hair”, “I love it”. It needs to be clear. If more players could do this we would have a different market and different space here. Take a look at American culture. The sports culture looks at what the winners have to say. It is not that they have a more open culture but there is more investment in America. In womens football in Britain we need to push for renewed investment and individuality.

What is your major current conversation?

Sustainability. Climate change is real so how can we make womens football sustainable? What about plastic, veganism and Extinction Rebellion and ? There are so many football jerseys every season and so much fashion waste. There are many different avenues to explore and delve into. We ourselves are a bi-annual issue and we want to look at soothing that is timely and going to last. We want to look at how football can be used as a tool to help with inequalities. (See issue 7)

What about the future? What do the next five years look like for Season?

I have one aim: keep it going. It is not easy to self publish, and beyond the physical stuff we want to keep telling stories, fashion-football-stories. We want to continue to celebrate and empower women in football by asking the key important, and uncomfortable, questions. Although women are more visible it can still be narrow, what about the women in their 40s / 50s / 60s? What about me? I am Thirty in 2021! Everything is geared for the future but lets include all groups in that future. So yes, we want to keep telling the stories, to hold people to account, and to have an individual and an international outlet. We have a network beyond our team now, and so Season is a platform to showcase this conversation. It is an authentic record of the moment in time that we are in.