Spot the difference? Here is Nike’s new England away kit
On Monday afternoon, England revealed their new away kit. It was launched with a special photo shoot starring Marcus Rashford, complete with quotes explaining what the shirt meant to him and the associated out-of-this-world cost.
But what it did not have was a new design. The new strip is exactly the same as the last edition, two-toned with a slight variation on the sleeves, except blue instead of red. Rashford could easily have posed in the old kit and had the snaps photoshopped.
And now it seems that most people have picked up on what kit makers Nike are doing.
It’s hard not to. Templating has always been an issue in kit making – Nike were repeating kits while swapping out colours at the start of the millennium – and it would be ridiculous to ask shirt makers to come up with a fresh design every time.
But Nike’s lack of alteration with their last set of designs has been picked up on, especially at international level. Countries with proud histories have been squished together into one homogenous blob.
The United States may have begun as a colony of England, carried over the language and a number of traditions, but there was no joy to be found when they revealed their new kit last year. It is exactly the same as the outfit for the Three Lions, just with the badge replaced with the stars and stripes.
As Donald Trump would almost certainly tweet: ‘BAD!’
At Euro 2016 there was a feeling of embarrassment as every team turned up wearing the same dress. England’s kit was worn by eventual winners Portugal – although their outfit was a deep burgundy rather than white – and fellow finalists France, who preferred a blue variation.
Poland, Turkey, and Croatia all had the same design too, though they had a different collar shape. Croatia also got valid bonus points for their stylish tablecloth design.
It was reminiscent of Euro 2004, when someone at the Nike art department got their hands on the circle tool on Photoshop and went mad with it.
The same was the case at the 2002 World Cup, when someone developed a bizarre fascination with triangles.
Manchester City are actually the only Premier League side wearing Nike kits this season, suggesting the rest of the league has either cottoned on or they’re trying to sneak this under English football’s radar.
That is not to say that other kit makers are not carrying out as egregious a design tactic. Adidas have subverted their own design and moved the famous three stripes from the sleeves to the hips on most shirts they have put together this season.
Presumably next year’s kit idea will involve the stripes across the middle of the chest, before no stripes at all the year after. Then adidas classic will be revealed, with the stripes returned to their rightful place on the shoulders.
At least adidas kits tend to look nice and generally have a variation on the overall theme. Chelsea’s retro patterned home shirt is not repeated anywhere else in the range and looks like the garb of what they are – eventual champions.
No other brand is as repetitive as Nike, who will almost certainly unveil another fresh design in around May of this year before handing it out to every single club and national team they sponsor. I hope you have your £80 ready.
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