I’m Kevin Chan from Unwanted FC And These Are My Mornings.
What makes you get up in the morning?
I must admit that the alarm clock gets me up haha… but the opportunity to learn and experience new things definitely helps.
How do the mornings play out with your schedule?
Monday to Fridays are pretty routine for me, I wake up, stretch out my tired legs from playing too much football, and get ready for my commute into the city for my day job in Digital Marketing. On the train ride in, I like to either read autobiographies or listen to podcasts to soak in inspiration.
My weekends are a little bit different, I’ll get up and straight away knockout what I’ve been itching to do all week for my passion project – Unwanted FC. From shooting product in the studio to planning out new concepts over video calls with my business partner (and brother) Keith who is located in Germany, there’s always something to do.
What type of advice would you give to the person who is inspired to emulate what you do?
I’d tell them to trust themselves first. Convince yourself that you will make it work. Put together your strategy in such a way that’s shareable to others to review your concept, whether it’s a brand deck, video or mood board.
When you care so much about something, short term and long term goals will come to mind organically, but never forget to tick them off and celebrate the wins, as the journey will be a long bumpy road!
“The idea of bringing Football, Fashion and Sustainability together had always fascinated my brother and I“.
What was/is the motivation that has put you on the path that you’re on?
The idea of bringing Football, Fashion and Sustainability together had always fascinated my brother and I. However, these 3 topics are very rarely listed in the same sentence…
I must admit that multiple experiences led to the birth of Unwanted FC.
Back at university, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Brand were huge topics, and my brother and I did a few marketing assignments that were based around this idea, not exactly 1 for 1 concepts but it gave us a starting point to what could eventually evolve into Unwanted FC.
We then went on to intern for adidas football out of their global HQ, where sustainability was a big talking point. However, the nature of the industry see’s a whole lot of product going to waste… think of samples that don’t make the cut. What happens to them? How about all the gear that’s ended up at the outlet that’s 50% off? Was it necessary to produce those 1,000’s of units?
It’s a huge eye opener when you’re in the mix of production. Although adidas is definitely one of the better global sportswear and fashion brands when compared to the wider market, the nature of their business naturally contributes to larger supply chain issues, which requires a huge effort to re-design.
For us, we built the Unwanted brand on the right fundamentals from the very beginning, and it’s only going to elevate from here on.
What has been one of your most memorable experiences with Unwanted FC, thus far?
I hold many memories close to the heart. One great moment which I still remember clearly was the first time we sold into a bricks & mortar store, none other than Pitch Seoul in South Korea. This was a beautiful relationship we managed to bring to life, as Keith and I met the team when we visited Seoul in 2019. We often joked about selling into a store like this, so when the opportunity came knocking it was pretty surreal.
Was there a language barrier? Yes. Did we overcome that with the love of the game? Yes indeed.
We couldn’t have asked for a better store to represent our product. The guys at Pitch Seoul also champion vintage kits, giving our brand more exposure in a fashion forward city. From then on, we’ve had multiple activations with Seoul boutique and plan to continue bringing energy to their brand and to their customers through our upcycled designs.
Another memorable experience I will never forget was the moment Hector Bellerin followed us on the gram’! You bet I slid straight into his DM’s. He’s a super down to earth guy, and I would love to work with him one day.
Are you a coffee drinker and if so, what is your drink of choice?
Absolutely! Oat Lattes are my go-to, but I also love an iced long black. The coffee tastes better down under in Oz 😉
What does the future look like for you?
The world is ever changing, but my vision to build Unwanted FC shall remain the same. I’d love to turn this brand into my full time job, and I believe I’ll know when I’ve properly upskilled in certain areas which will allow that jump.
In short, the ultimate goal is to have Unwanted FC operating on a larger scale, collaborating with global brands and educating more consumers about better consumption habits.
What is something that you have to accomplish?
As mentioned above, I have great ambitions for the brand. What has to happen is that I must give the brand the effort it deserves in the coming years for it to live to it’s full potential!
What brands do you think are doing a good job around promoting Zero Waste?
Many big brands have started considering better production methods, such as Nike’s Move to Zero campaign, and adidas’s collaborations with Parley for the Oceans. However, these campaigns are only a small chunk of their business models. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great start for these companies to be correcting their wrongs from the past. It just needs to continue spreading into the rest of the business.
The brands that do it best would actually be the ones that have environmental and social impact as part of their whole identity – it’s why they exist. Think about brands like Patagonia and Veja who use their environmental impact and green practices as their biggest unique selling point. It ticks all the boxes, and they’re showing the world that it works.
Is there a “star” item in your upcycling services (the most requested)?
The tote bag design has been our staple from the very beginning, in fact it was the first pattern we crafted! This pattern essentially pays homage to the original jersey design. We wanted to show off the fact that “this used to be a football shirt, but it’s now reworked into a functional carry bag.”
Another product line that has lots of demand is the boot bag. This one speaks for itself. We are really proud of our functional designs, but this one just aligns with our customer so well. Check it out in the photos below, carry your boots to and from the pitch in style!
What do you think is the number one task that fans need to attend to for sustainability of the planet?
Think about your own consumption patterns. How often are you buying ‘NEW’, and who from? How transparent are the brands with their supply chain?
Most importantly, don’t forget that buying quality products will last you longer, so don’t be afraid to spend a little bit extra as you’ll win in the long run!
On a side note, for garments sitting in the wardrobe and not being worn… donate it, upcycle it or even sell it on platforms like depop or eBay! You’ll avoid contributing to landfill, whilst promoting second hand consumption and maybe even making a bit of money for yourself.
What has been the best jersey which you have designed into a new product?
We honestly cherish each and every product we rework, we wouldn’t be cutting them up if we weren’t confident that it would hold more value afterwards.
In saying that, this one instance fits our business model so well. A gunners fan bought a gold Arsenal jersey from the highbury store back in 2001 when he was visiting London as a kid, it was the last kit left in an XL. To this day he can only fit a size Small.
So he turned to us to upcycle it into a tote bag that he could wear on a daily basis.
The kit was way too nostalgic and sentimental to sell or trade off. He wanted to keep it, and consume it. We gave him the solution through our upcycling service.
Responses were edited for clarity and length.