The German word Heimat is often considered to be untranslatable into other languages. Although it can be roughly understood to simply mean "home," this only captures a small portion of the word's actual weight. Heimat is more than just the place you get your mail or come home to at the end of the day, it is also a deep emotional feeling and spiritual energy in the context of this word. It is the place where you feel rooted, centered, and most understood.

Cologne-based conscious fashion brand ARMEDANGELS knows that the city's beloved football team, 1. FC Köln, is an integral part of their feeling of Heimat. More than just a football team, 1. FC Köln encapsulates the city's proud spirit of community, acceptance, and diversity.

We got the chance to catch up with one of the team's most iconic players, Lukas Podolski, who features in a cast of other proud Kölners, for the campaign launching the collaborative collection.

What do you love most about Cologne? How has the city's unique character influenced your career both on and off the field?

It's not just one thing—that wouldn't be enough for a city like Cologne. It's the mood and atmosphere found everywhere in the city and in the stadium. The stadium’s location, the anthem, the passion of the people—both for the club and for the City itself—it’s all very special. 

Carnival as well, and the people of Cologne’s openness is simply unique. The city and its people have always influenced me. 1. FC Köln is my club. The billy goat, the colors… growing up, everyone in my neighborhood were 1. FC fans and it was always my dream to play there.

What is your favorite place for Kölsch in Cologne?

In Brauhaus zum Prinzen. It's in a great location in the old town where you can sit on the terrace in summer for a beautiful place to eat and drink. And if the weather is bad, you can watch a good football game indoors.

When it comes to your style, are there specific fashion elements or pieces that reflect your personal taste? How do they align with the collection's aesthetics?

My style is casual and simple, without big logos. I don’t wear suits, and prefer a sporty casual vibe. Dressing well is important to me, and I've been lucky to live in fashion capitals like Milan and Tokyo, which have all influenced my style. 

This collection is super cool and matches my taste. The pieces have a good fit, the material feels nice, and it's great that two Cologne-based brands came together—I hope there’s another collection in the future!

What is the secret to a successful outfit that is both comfortable and fashionable?

Style should come naturally and shouldn’t be imposed. Everyone has their own taste and wants to look great. It's about being yourself and feeling comfortable. It's important to dress as you want, but without chasing trends or having fear of missing out on the latest fashion.

Which footballer inspired you as a kid?

Ronaldo Nazário was my role model. His speed, his shots, the quality, and the style in which he played fascinated me. Back then, we chased our idols on the playground and tried to copy the tricks we saw on TV to try them out ourselves. 

The ARMEDANGELS x 1. FC Köln collection is a fusion of fashion and sport. What are the elements of the collection that stand out to you most?

I really like the labels on the side, 1. FC Köln x ARMEDANGELS, and the word Heimspiel, German for “home game” on the chest. That connects us in the stadium and with the team’s anthem. Not to mention the sleek cuts and the high-quality of the pieces. 

Do you believe that this collaboration fosters a sense of belonging among fans, both fashion and football enthusiasts alike?

Yes, definitely. The jersey polo with the word "Heimspiel" in the colors of the club and the city connects in an incredibly natural way. It's a given that football can be merged with love for the city and fashion, and fans will be excited. Now all we need is a travel collection, so fans can look good when they’re supporting the team at away games!

Shop the full collection here.

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