The earliest influence on anything in my life was football and it still resonates in everything that I design and do. I am not one of these people that discusses the tactical strategies of Arsène Wenger, no, I am more of the kind of chap that has remembered that Pony used to make some of the best football shirts ever produced and that Arsenal once played in a green home shirt in a Champions League home shirt that has never been available for sale.
When I was a boy and started actually liking football Newcastle United were the glamour team. A squad consisting of Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand, David Ginola and Peter Beardsley to name but a few played exciting attacking football in a shirt that has proved to be one of, if not one of world football’s greatest shirts.
The composition of the shirt was and still is fantastic and was in no part aided by the beautifully coloured Newcastle Brown Ale logo. The white stripes being made out of a polycotton mix and the black stripes being a breathable mesh all played a role in the shirt. However, the greatest part of the shirt was the Grandad collar. Harking back to an era of working class miners, this collar symbolised everything that was good and true about Newcastle and what changed the shirt from being a football shirt into a classic piece of design. The biggest selling football shirt in the UK between 1996 and 1998 could now be seen in pubs as well as restaurants and out shopping, which was a real leap forward from wearing the shirt to the games. Don’t even get me started on the away shirt!
OK well just one picture. After that football shirt design just got a little bit too technical and actually concentrated upon how the shirt performed rather than how it looked… can you imagine. Those Nike & adidas shirts with the dual layer material that were worn in the 2002 World Cup, were for me the end of shirt design until last year. Almost 15 years after I fell in love with the Newcastle shirt adidas have released two new shirts using exactly the same collar construction.
Hamburger SV Away 2011 – 2012.
Orlando Pirates Home and Away 2011 – 2012. See I should be saying how in this Post-Modern world there are no original ideas and how lazy adidas are for redesigning classic shirts and giving them to foreign teams so that we don’t notice. However, it is just so good to see a beautifully designed football shirt back in world I can just about forgive them. Just as long as they send me one in an XL.