I wish I was in Leeds, but instead I ended up at Jonathan and Olivia on Ossington.

The progressive fashion store that carries top brand names like Alexander Wang and Isabel Marant is now featuring a photographic retrospective on 80s casuals from Leeds entitled, “Wish You Were Here”.

The exhibition has traveled from the UK to Paris to New York and now Toronto thanks to Nic Jones of Surface to Air. Each image represents the story behind the lad at the game, the boy next door and the bloke at the pub.

The youth movement of casuals emerged in the late 1970s when young football fans began dressing in more “casual” sports clothes with high-end designer names. Not only did they dress this way to remain irrelevant to rival clubs, but they looted from fancy Italian and French stores such as Lacoste, Umbro and Fila. They followed the boundless Leeds Club across Europe in one of English football’s prime historical moments. Inevitably, these were the beginnings of spectacularly violent times as hooliganism became increasingly part of casual culture.

Maybe this is your first time hearing about casuals, but there are tons of resources on the subculture including this book, which sits comfortably amongst the wall of Adidas trainers at J+O. The back story is actually more fascinating and important than the photos, akin to England’s signature past of punks, mods and skinheads.

But what do I know, really? Guess you just had to be there.

~ Erin Pehlivan