There’s a World Cup starting in a few days. Of course you knew that. It’s a tournament where sporting sartorial legends are forged.
It is impossible for me to let that past without writing several thousand words about the magnificent showcase of new football shirts.
There are 32 teams this time around, meaning there are 64 new shirts to prattle on about. I am going to focus on shirts, they’re the interesting bit after all – but if there are some nice hoopy socks to mention I’ll be sure to big them up. It should duly noted that a lot of the interest in national full kits has been drained out by those new FIFA guidelines. So yeah, mostly shirts.
The easiest way to do this is look at the shirts group-by-group, breaking each post into a manageable 4 teams.
So without any more arseing around here are the Group A teams, and it starts off with a couple of nations that have a very distinctive history of design behind them.
I suppose when you’re designing the most famous national football shirts, a team playing in front of their rabid home support, when they’re overwhelming favourites … well you can’t dick about with that yellow and green too much.
So not unsurprisingly Nike haven’t done anything mad here. A big yellow shirt, some subtle green piping and a vaguely interesting collar. It’s very definitely a Brazil shirt.
Nice, but too cliched to wear to 5-a-side.
Nike probably had a bit more licence to do some actual design with the away shirt. And they have sort of done something interestng. They’ve put loads of dots on it and gone a bit halftone with some hoops. You don’t see hoops on many Brazil shirts even if they are really subtle.
It’s nice enough, but I can’t help thinking it’s more like something Rafa Nadal would wear at the US Open. This sort of tennis inspired design seems to be a recurring theme for loads of shirts 2014/15, I’m not sure I approve.
The red and white chequered design of the Croatians is almost impossible not to like. It nearly always looks great, and is so distinctive compared to anything else. Again Nike have served up a very solid shirt that doesn’t ruffle any feathers, and keeps everyone fairly happy. The shirt above is the one you buy in the shops, when they play in Brazil they’ll actually have a big square in the middle (nicely using the grid) to display the squad number.
I feel I should also point out that it’s hard to get a sense of the quality of the fabric (which is important, trust me) from the standard, floppy shirt shot. That’s why you see lots of these close ups of shirts being pulled tight across the chest of buff dummies to give you a sense of the cloth – it does actually work.
Not sure my moobs would appreciate that though.
I do admire the shoehorning of the cheques into the away top every time. They are a bit more subtle here than they have been in the past, and it brightens up what is, essentially, a blue t-shirt. Decent enough.
I’d forgotten what an art-deco masterpiece the Croatian badge was.
Look at us! We have lightning on our chests! Yaaarrrrggghhhhh!
That’s Mexican Power that is! (really, that’s what it’s called … )
It’s powering our badge! Have you seen our badge!
And we’ve got pinstripes (tennis influence).
Yeah it’s a bit mad the Mexico home kit. I like a bit of mad, but this misses the mark for me somehow. It’s trying a bit hard to do something it shouldn’t, and doing too much of it.
The away kit however … well just look at that magnificent orange-red bastard. The Power pattern bit is still there, but it actually works. Even if it is a bit Charlie Brown.
The monochrome black contrast of everything else on the shirt is spot on, very 70s Holland. Even the lightning pattern in the weave works well.
Yeah I like this one a lot.
Puma have a very strong contingent of African nations on their roster. They’ve been taking their African design cues very seriously for years now, and they aren’t changing that ethos for the Cameroonians in Brazil.
So here we have a very busy, unmistakably African, shirt. There’s a lot of ridiculous detail, which is quite admirable. They’ve got two badges, which is a bit greedy if you ask me. Loads of Puma branding, loads of text in the weave. Lots of lions.
Lots of stuff really.
I almost like it because of that.
Why bother designing a different shirt for the away top, when you can just flood fill the home one yellow?
I actually prefer the yellow.
So that’s the first batch of 8 shirts. And a fairly solid bunch they are too.
Not too many risks taken overall, which is not too surprising. I’m not sure about this encroaching tennis chic trend though.
You have to say the Mexicans away shirt is the clear pick of the bunch.