20th July 2020
Football Shirts - Fashion or Support?
Design in Football is relevant more now than ever. The world's game is transcending into different industries and subcultures. How? Through the use of fashion.
Clubs are no longer just targeting their supporters, they are reaching out to a much wider audience. Shirts have been seen in music videos, on fashion runways and on high influence celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Drake.
There was a period in time where the huge suppliers such as Nike and Adidas were guilty of using template kit designs. Rolling out the same design across multiple clubs just changing the crest and colour. A new shirt can range from £50-£70 and people are no longer settling for an uninspiring update from last seasons' kit. They want to be wowed.
The retro football shirt market has exploded in recent years. It has always been there but with the re-emergence of vintage pieces in fashion has increased the desire for shirts from 20+ years ago. Of course some classic shirts have an emotive meaning for some people but perhaps another reason why they are so attractive to people is because the design guidelines during this time were less restricted compared to now.
It begs the question how do kit designers approach each new season from now on. Is this vintage trend going to continue? How close do we rip off the 90s? Have we gone a bit too crazy? Are we designing for fans or fashion? The job of a kit designer is hard. To keep each release fresh and new is an ongoing challenge.
As an ode to my love of football shirts I have chosen seven kits both old and new that I absolutely adore.
Roma Third Shirt 19/20
Free range was given on every third kit of the elite teams sponsored by Nike this season. Fitting with the retro trend, Nike decided to revisit Roma's historic past. This kit is a reimagined version of the 1992 Roma cup winning shirt with a vintage collar design. As with Nike’s other European powerhouses, the Nike Futura logo also makes a welcome return, strengthening those retro 90s vibes.
Liverpool Away Kit 93/94
The black three stripes are iconic on this kit. The positioning of the badge and adidas logo is a controversial one however I am a massive fan of the crest of a club being centre. One thing that often gets overlooked in shirts is the sponsor. It can either throw the design of a shirt completely off or fit with it nicely. The green Carlsberg logo compliments the sleeves of this shirt massively.
Brazil Away Kit 2002
You have a lot of football memories when you are growing up. One of which was sitting in a school hall when I was around 8 years old and watching Ronaldinho lob David Seaman. You won't forget that moment and you won't forget the kit. Every time I see this kit I mainly think of 8 year olds in tears but also how good that Brazil team was.
Germany Away 2018
The away kits of the 2018 World Cup were the real showstoppers. The Germany away kit is a modern interpretation of the 1990 World Cup away shirt. Taking the graphic pattern from the home shirt with the use of a unique green labelled 'EQT Green makes this shirt one of the standouts of the tournament for me.
"Let’s be honest though, if you’re English, you don’t buy a Germany shirt to evoke memories of painful defeats – you buy it because it’s boss, with a unique style you simply don’t get from any other nation."
Borussia Dortmund Home 94/95
Nothing short of amazing. The Nike designers during the 90s must have thrown every rule book out of the window. I can imagine the luminous yellow was a controversial opinion during the time and might be still is but I believe it has aged so well. The Nike Futura logo sits on a unique collar design and the graphic pattern on the sleeves is bold and daring.
PSV Home & Away 95/96
The last season of Ronaldo's PSV reign and the first Nike PSV kit produced, a match made in heaven. It's hard for a club to get both the home and away shirt so right. The checkered collar is a lovely detail. These kits are a perfect set.
France Away Kit 11/12
Taking strong visual cues from the 'marinière' which is a strong piece of French history and is now seen as a timeless style icon. A style embedded in French culture meant it was only right to introduce some form of elegance into the national side's look.
Written by Gaz Burns, Designer.