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Sports Banger, Your Space or Mine (2021)
Sports Banger, Your Space or Mine (2021)Courtesy of the artist and BUILDHOLLYWOOD

Sports Banger takes a generation’s political frustrations to UK billboards

The anti-establishment, bootlegging clothing brand is back with provocative statements and arresting images

Sports Banger is the renegade clothing brand bringing a DIY attitude to fashion, music, and art. Known for the brazen bootlegging of global brands and a philanthropic spirit, Sports Banger brought us the Nike-NHS mash-up t-shirts in 2020. A rapidly-iconic design, it unapologetically reappropriated Nike’s iconic swoosh logo and stuck two fingers up to the Tory government, while raising money for health workers and low-income families during the pandemic. 

The latest project sees Sports Banger bringing the familiarly acerbic and astute statements and striking imagery to the streets. In collaboration with BUILDHOLLYWOOD and as part of the Your Space or Mine Project, Sports Banger is currently occupying billboards across cities in the UK, so keep an eye out for the incendiary slogans and studded jockstraps. 

“I’ve had quite a few billboards before but I nicked them all and made the adverts my own for the cost of £10 at the printers and a bit of paste,” founder Jonny Banger tells BUILDHOLLYWOOD. “I see bootlegging as people reclaiming the logos that have been shoved in their faces. I have the same attitude to billboards.”

Last year, the London-based brand gleefully took another swipe at Boris Johnson’s inept parliament by inviting the nation’s children to deface the official letter sent by the prime minister to UK households. In response, Sports Banger received a wealth of hilarious, moving, and oddly profound artworks calling to “throw Boris Johnson in the bin” and declaring the PM “a poo-man”. With the help of artist Jeremy Deller, Sports Banger co-curated an exhibition featuring the young artists’ expressions of hope and frustration. The Covid Letters: A Vital Update appeared on display at London’s Foundling Museum.

“It was amazing all the kids seeing their own work hanging,” recalls Banger of the exhibition’s opening night. “I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like it in a gallery or museum. Strangers were talking to each other like the smoking area at a rave and the place was full of hope, good energy, and laughs.”

Having emerged from the rave scene, Banger got his start hosting raves and DJing on Rinse FM. His beginnings in music are a fundamental aspect of the ethos of Sports Banger, whose acid rave-style fashion show got them noticed as one of LFW’s most talked-about spectacles in 2019. Sports Banger got going all the way back in 2013 though with a ‘Free Tulisa’ t-shirt, made just for Jonny “when she was being dragged through the mud by the tabloid press”. Since then, the cult following for the sloganed clothing has grown, with further collabs with Slazenger and Tommy Hilfiger.

Sports Banger’s new HQ, Maison de Bang Bang, is the culmination of vast creative output as a fashion brand, artists’ studio, publishing house, and record label. “It’s a dream studio,” Banger says. “We built the sound system and it sounds insane, one of the best I’ve heard – and that’s pretty hard to get right. We’ve accidentally built a nightclub.”

With its politically charged from-below attitude and anti-establishment stance, Sports Banger is loyal to its community and roots. “We started at the bottom, still at the bottom,” Banger declares. “Join us!”

Take a look through the gallery above for a glimpse of Sports Banger’s arresting, provocative new artworks. 

Sports Banger appeared on billboards across the UK as part of the Your Space Or Mine project by the #BUILDHOLLYWOOD’s family of JACK, JACK ARTS and DIABOLICAL