Three football clubs alone sold over 8.7 million football shirts in 2021, so you can start to imagine just how many shirts are produced every year around the world.
While many people choose to collect football shirts, many more shirts end up redundant and unworn when the new kit comes out. This is partly the reason why clubs such as Brentford FC are using their home kits for two seasons in a row.
In fact, keeping the same kit for two seasons was a common phenomenon prior to the Premier League era. But now the buzz surrounding a kit launch and the sales afterwards creates millions of new shirts every year. Inevitably, this leads to waste.
But this is where ConvertYourShirt.com comes in. Turning football shirts into dog coats, as well as bucket hats and snoods for humans, Peter Birney has found a popular way of upcycling old football kits.
Upcycling Football Shirts
How Old Football Kit Became a Present for Pooch
It all began as a dream for Peter.
He said: "In 1999 I had a dream about my dog wearing a Newcastle United shirt. The next day I set about making the dream a reality. Loved by people, their dogs, and the media, the business has been a great success."
"Having originally made football themed dog coats from scratch out of nylon and fleece, for the last three years I've been converting people's sports shirts and clothes and upcycling them into dog coats. They're lined with fleece, have velcro fasteners, and inbetween the sports shirt and fleece there is a hidden layer of waterproof fabric to keep the dog dry. I also add names, squad numbers, and holes for a harness to get through if necessary. They've been extremely popular, sales have soared, and they look great! 2021 saw the launch of 3 brand new products - sports shirt display cabinets, bucket hats, and snoods."
With over 530 sales on Etsy, ConvertYourShirt has gone from strength to strength, and has even created new products to cater for two-legged, as well as four-legged animals!
Peter said: "I created the snoods as a result of the pandemic, the hats I just thought would look good, and the display cabinets are an improvement on other football shirt picture frames as they're usually flat whereas these are displayed on mannequins. I'm hoping in the future to display clothes from different eras to show the fashion for that particular year, as I think this would also make for good wall art."
ConvertYourShirt caters for all kinds of dogs, and there is a brilliant gallery of the happy customers wearing their new coats.
It is a job well done and a job worth doing, with Peter acting on his dream to create a successful business upcycling football shirts.
Peter said: "I get a lot of pleasure making the products for people as 99% are absolutely thrilled, and therefore there's a lot of job satisfaction there. Also I'm helping the sports clubs reduce their carbon footprint by reusing old shirts which is satisfying. The products take about a couple of hours to make, although the display cabinets take a lot longer."
ConvertYourShirt and the FA Cup
Peter got to take his upcycled fashion even further when the FA Cup got in touch.
The end result was to produce some exclusive bucket hats and bum bags, upcycled from FA Cup ribbons & Boreham Wood and Chesterfield kits.
Peter said: "I really think the link between football, fashion and sustainable fashion is going to be massive because there's so many football shirts in the world that get wasted. I think so many can be saved and reused."
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