Friday, February 8, 2008

Football Fashion Week 2008

You might not have noticed, but 2008 is an even-numbered year, and you know what that means, right? Your national team is getting new uniforms! And the past week being the first FIFA international date of the year, we got to see what national teams will be wearing from now through 2009. Let's take it manufacturer by manufacturer.

Puma: Thanks to its African strategy, you've already seen Puma's 2008 designs at the African Cup of Nations. The look is pretty plain - you've seen one, you've seen them all, just different colors filling the template. The only one of note, Italy (top), has gone with a lighter shade of blue than the previous, World Cup winning model. Not terribly exciting or off-template, but I'm glad they did away with the gold numbering - one of the shittier uniform trends of the past few years, I think.

Umbro: The recent Nike acquisition does this thing with England, where the white home jerseys are released in odd years while the alternate red jerseys are released in even years. They figure the home whites would be big sellers no matter when, but they can capitalize on the build-up to a major tournament like the Euro or World Cup to sell the less popular red jerseys. Which is fine, except of course, England's missing out on Euro 08. That doesn't stop Umbro from releasing the new red shirts, which England wore for Fab Cap's England managerial debut.

I have a feeling opinions will be split over the shoulder stripes but I for one like it. It's reminiscent of the old Admiral kits (sans exposed thunder thighs). Extra points for doing away with gold numbers.

adidas: Can't say I was a huge fan of adidas's 2006 look, since they tended to be a little too busy visually, so it's nice to see they've gone with a simpler, but still modern design.
Take Japan, for example. The 2006 unis on the left had stripes in all directions on a purple-blue base. The 2008 design stripped it down completely, going with a calmer shade of blue, and a slight touch of yellow for accent. I approve.

Germany's 2006 uniform wasn't all that bad, and I'm not sure if the new design is an improvement. I do like the emphasis on black, and how the front number fits inside the chest design - there's something Bauhaus-ish about it.

Though the most notable change for adidas in this cycle isn't the design template, but the uniform colors. It used to be that you didn't fuck with national team colors too much, even the away colors, where you'd see more varieties at the club level. But France, which usually wears all-white when not wearing blue, has come out with a red away kit.

For the same reason the Giants look silly in their red alternates, it doesn't look right for Les Bleus to wear rouge.

What does work better is Spain's new gold away kit, a departure from their usual all-white alternate. Looks downright regal, I say.

Nike: Last, and possibly least, the evil empire. Their 2006 range was actually pretty well designed, going for classic looks than the post-modern adidas range. They stayed with the plain look, so while there's not much to like, there isn't much to get excited about either.

As you can see with Brazil, there isn't a huge change, though I'll miss the Madras collars on the 2006 design. USA went through a more dramatic change, and I think it's a step down.
The vertical stripes gave the USMNT a unique look without getting too tacky. The new design is just too.... blah. Finally, Netherlands made a major change in their away kit, ditching the quasi-retro white with diagonal stripes, and going with a quasi-retro light blue with horizontal stripes.
It's not a bad look at all, and probably the most streetwear-worthy of all the new releases.


Precious Roy said...

Make it work.

/Tim Gunn
//Shoots self

The NY Kid said...

I actually love the new German kits - for some reason they just feel very retro to me.

As for the rest, Les Bleus go rouge (that's red to you Americans), which is a significant (and silly) change, while Spain improves their look with the gold. Spain then beats France 1-0, and we start off the year with a loss. Coincidence? I think not.

Oh, and fuck the World Cup-winning Italy right in the pants.

Ian said...

My current physique - thanks Guinness!- leaves me somewhat unable to wear the Italy shirts, but I think they are sharp.