Systemarosa Is for the Fashionable Football Player

Systemarosa Is for the Fashionable Football Player

By Andrew NguyenMay 22, 2024

Naomi Accardi and Sam Herzog simply love football.

For the duo, it's not a trend, but rather a genuine part of their lives. And since Accardi writes about the intersection of the game and culture and Herzog comes from a deep fashion background, the two friends naturally combined it all with systemarosa — "an interdisciplinary platform bridging the gap between football and fashion by leveraging vintage research, culture, and community."

What that means exactly can be explained in three parts, according to Herzog. The most public facing element is systemarosa's web shop, where it offers vintage jerseys sourced from the '70s and '80s alongside Italian vintage sportswear from '90s and 2000s Miu Miu and Prada, as well as collaboration capsule collections — the first of which took vintage template jerseys and upcycled them into a knitwear capsule. There's also an archive where stylists can pull from rare jerseys and pieces from collections that have merged football and fashion in the past. Lastly, Accardi and Herzog use their impressive resumes to do creative consulting for any kinds of projects that bring football and fashion together.

"Our goal is to shake up the narrative surrounding football and build an ecosystem where people can learn about the game, its design codes, the culture and the fashion that make it such a special sport and community," the two tell PAPER.

Today, systemarosa launched a bag, that will most likely be spotted on all the downtown It girls this summer, in an exclusive campaign. See it all, below, as Accardi and Herzog talk to PAPER about their love for the game, why the brand defies trends, and how fashion and football are more related than we think.

What is it that you love about football so much?

Naomi Accardi: I essentially had no choice but to like football because of my family. My dad was a professional football player in Italy, so I grew up around this sport. Also, Italian culture and football are very intertwined, like brothers and sisters. But what I really like about the sport is that it's the most universal sport ever and essentially transcends borders, languages, whatever. You can go anywhere in the world and meet someone that is also a football fan and you immediately have something in common.

Sam Herzog: I'm just absolutely addicted to the game. Just to be at play in anything as an adult is such a joy and privilege and is something that I don't think we prioritize. I love how you connect with someone on the field, and you learn how they play and how you play together and have chemistry with people in the same way you have chemistry in life. You could meet someone that day and know more about who they are after playing with them for an hour than if you've been friends with them for years.

On a really cheesy level, there is something scoring a goal and people cheering for me screaming my name. I don't know that you get that kind of positive reinforcement from anything else in your life after you're 18 — and when you're watching, cheering for people, as well. Allowing yourself to have that raw emotion come out as a group is really nice.

What made you want to carve a space of your own with the brand?

Naomi: There is so much that one can pull from to reference in your style or aesthetic, but everything that has been coming out so far in the past decade or so is very mediocre and cliche. It’s inauthentic both from the fashion side and from the football side. They want to capitalize off of it. Creative-wise, the images are always similar in every corporation, every campaign, every release — it's superficial. It was important to create something that appealed to me personally, as someone who has a background in the arts, design and fashion, but also who is a fan of the game. I wanted to see something more beautiful.

Sam: What we're interested in is like, how do we create space for or maybe starting to play again? How do we create a welcoming and open space for people who are genuinely interested in the game and becoming fans without alienating people that are already here? That's been something that we haven't seen people do very well.

How do you make something like football geared towards fashion?

Naomi: A lot of what we do takes cues from Italian football, which was one of the most elegant leagues in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. When the World Cup was in Italy in 1990, they had a full on fashion show for the opening ceremony and each Italian designer was assigned to dress the different nations. And Saint Laurent had a fashion show during the World Cup in France in 1998. There is a lot of inspiration to pull from and adapt it to a modern visual language. On the branding side, there is a lot of opportunity to explore the intersection between vintage design and the storytelling that is relevant to today's audiences.

Sam: If you have worked in fashion and if you are truly enmeshed in football as a fan or player, you naturally see things that are a part of your world. But so much of what we're seeing are people that see football as a trend but don't really know the game. So, for example, when I'm thinking about footwear to style in our shoots, I'm always gonna go for a clog or a sandal — the things I throw on after a game. And I might style it with scrunched socks on the bottom. I don't even have to think twice; it's natural to pair those things together. I'm not doing it because of any other reason than thinking about coming off the pitch and taking my cleats off. Those kinds of things have just been in my brain since I was playing at three. It's like knowing a language, and because we know both of these languages, fashion and football, it feels organic. We also research old jerseys, old players, old match day programs. The design was incredible.

Tell me all about this bag and the campaign!

Naomi: Enrico is the designer behind Veto Verso, and this was his graduation collection for IUAV University of Venice, which is one of the best fashion schools in Italy. He reached out to us last year because he saw something in us, and we saw something in him, so we decided to come together to launch this bag. I think that it's the first one that has referenced a football. Yes, it looks like a ball, but it does it in a very elegant way. You can take it everywhere you go, and that's what the campaign looks like but localized to New York City.

Sam: We do creative consulting for any kinds of projects that bring football and fashion together. It's a whole world that we're building, and part of that world will be showcased on our web shop, bringing attention to and supporting makers who are doing really incredible things already at this intersection. We met this young Italian designer who was making these gorgeous bags that felt so football-coded and beautiful, without sacrificing the design and the gorgeous aesthetic of a handbag. We really wanted to work with him to bring the product to life and to our audience, so we’re launching the bags and creating storytelling around the bag. It's an elevated, beautiful piece and such a visual representation of what we would say our brand identity is: football coded without sacrificing any elegance, design or function.

Do you plan to do more collaborations? Are you going to eventually design your own accessories and clothes?

Sam: Naomi and I have so many ideas. The only thing limiting us is the fact that it's only the two of us running the company among other jobs. We really want to be a place of discovery by highlighting people that are in the space already by working with them to make something co-branded or just showcasing their work. There's a lot of stuff in the mix in terms of us designing, collaborating and creating storytelling around existing products.

Photography: Stefano Ortega
Photography assistants: Eu Jin Lee and Mariano Cayo