Before it became purchase to buy replica shirts and official merchandise in the 1980s, fans used to make their own ways of displaying support for the Swans. As far back as the 1920s, this involved making ‘favours’ (rosettes or ribbons) or even wearing leeks.
We’ve had one home-made rosette from the 1960s donated to the project. It’s a little faded but it was very carefully made, perhaps with some help from Mum for the embroidery? Mothers, grandmothers and aunties were also employed into knitting many a black and white scarf.
Even after official merchandise became available, fans liked to make their own and the development of cheap printing for t-shirts allowed the imagination to be set free. Many t-shirts took on the style of concert tour shirts, listing the away games that the Jack Army was visiting in their annual tour of English football grounds.
These t-shirts were all part of the close links that developed in the 1980s between fashion and following football. Labels mattered, being cool mattered, wearing the right gear mattered. Sometimes this was a little tongue in cheek but sometimes it was deadly serious.
Here’s a great ad for T-shirts from the Love, Peace and Swansea City fanzine, issue 6 May 1993.