NOWHERE FC & AS ROMA INTRODUCES RETRO STREET COOL

Nowhere FC and AS Roma are back at it again. In what is now their second collaboration together, the two outfits return this summer for a collection that mixes the best of heritage design with streetwear flair. On par with some of the best offerings I have seen all year, the collection showcases why Nowhere FC might just be the standard that all others follow.

Roma clearly see the potential in the New York-based creative collaborative. Of course, the club comes in lacking little in terms of design heritage. For as long as I can remember, Roma have boasted some of the most recognizable iconography and some of the best kits in world soccer. Long before Nike ever came along, Roma captured my attention with their stunning Diadora and Kappa kits of past decades whose colorways and graphics have obviously informed this latest offering.

The entire collection is a mix of scarves, bandanas, tees, tanks, and jerseys. It is really your typical offering from Nowhere FC in terms of not only product, but design as well as back for another installment are their signature dyed jerseys. The allure of this collection for me, however, is not so much in Nowhere’s ability to bring something to the table, but rather in the outfit’s decision to exercise both restraint and foresight to rework the great design already there.

One of the most recurring motifs of the entire offering is the wolf head logo used by Roma in past years. The logo made a comeback in Roma’s Nike away kit only a few seasons ago, however, its heyday was again those glory years which should never be thought of as long gone. Its prevalence in this collection in fact brings up a discussion of the current state of retro/throwback product offerings as well as how tied to singular identities current clubs should be.

Nike’s work with the NBA this year provides an example that soccer clubs should certainly be looking at. Sure, we are still confused by the terms such as association, icon, or statement that Nike used to describe their jerseys, however, the important thing here is the consistent integration of a throwback element into design repertoire of each team. There is clearly no dearth of opportunities for soccer teams to do the same thing as most teams have up to three kits to play with.

Roma has more than once toyed with this throwback theme in recent time. Just last year, the club hooked up with COPA Football, the Mitchell & Ness of soccer if you will, for a retro selection of jerseys and jackets from the team’s storied history. The cues Nowhere FC has taken from these faithful reproductions are more than evident, however, what sets Nowhere apart is their gift for reinterpreting these heritage designs with a modern sensibility. As a result, the collaborative has proven the versatility of this vintage iconography which works both in its pure throwback self as well as in throwback inspired streetwear.

With this we fall back again to a talk about branding and the need for Roma to explore alternative identities that are still authentic to the club. The wolf iconography and ASR script logo showcased by Nowhere are more than attractive looks that shouldn’t be relegated to mere lifestyle offerings. These lifestyle offerings for now though are the closest thing to perfection that Roma has put out so you can be sure I want to scoop up whatever Nowhere FC makes available.

The outfit has set up a pop up shop for all their wares at the Procell Gallery in New York, but I hope the KTTP community can make their voices heard and convince Nowhere to make most if not all of their selection available to purchase online.

Images via Soccerbible.

 

KITS FOR DAYS: OUR PICKS & PASSES ON RECENT KIT DROPS

With most of our attention in the next few weeks shifting to the World Cup, some of the biggest clubs are adamant that we don’t forget about them. This past week provided us with a bevy of kit releases so it is only natural that I feel the need to share my thoughts on some of the hits and misses, which I might either pick up or pass up in the hopes of one day being able to say “I got kits for days.”

MANCHESTER UNITED

I’ve started the recap off with one of the strongest showings of the week courtesy of Manchester United. The color choice from adidas is one of the best they’ve put out since taking over from Nike. The shades of blue are the perfect touch of modern for a jersey that is ironically historically inspired by United’s 1968 European Cup victory. The biggest win for this jersey specifically, however, is how more palatable it has made the usually off-putting Chevrolet sponsor logo.


MANCHESTER CITY

From a strong showing, we move on to a release that leaves us wanting a little more. In typical fashion, Manchester City is afraid to rock its boat when it comes to its home kit. Its jersey is essentially another simple design with only one feature working for it. That is, of course, the button collar previously seen on the France home jersey which adds just a nice touch of class to an otherwise less than unique design.


ROMA

Roma has been as conservative as Manchester City with its home look. This year, however, seems to be the exception as Roma present a chainmail print jersey inspired by Roman gladiators. This is a look I can definitely vibe with considering it makes me think of one of my favorite movies. That being said, this alone is not enough to sell me on the design. Funnily enough, I wish Roma had won some competition this year such as the Coppa Italia or the league, as an additional badge or some sort of additional sleeve detail would make this shirt slightly more interesting.


CHELSEA

Chelsea’s jersey is another design that I consider a step in the right direction despite the fact that it does not completely win me over. While I like Nike’s modern touch on a classic soccer look through its unique take on the jersey’s red and white horizontal stripes, I still keep thinking the best accent color for a Chelsea jersey should always be gold. Those who remember Chelsea’s 2005 Umbro design or even its 2008 adidas home jersey will know exactly what I am talking about.


PSG

PSG is a team I have come to hold high expectations. Their new home jersey, however, is not as innovative as I would have hoped as PSG has merely integrated the sleeve detail of Nike’s Vapor template into the central band of its signature and traditional look. Do not get me wrong though, as I still consider this a solid look. Recent years have taught me to hold on to my money until I have seen all PSG has to offer as either the team’s away or more likely third jersey will be sure to blow me away.


BAYERN MUNICH

It is only right that I finish off this recap with one of the best reveals of this week. This honor goes to Bayern Munich who presented a design that continues with the retro aesthetic we have already seen from adidas. In this design, what needs to be stressed is the fact that Bayern has not recycled some old design, but instead presents a print that is uniquely theirs through an abstract take on the diamonds of the Bavarian flag and the M’s of Bayern’s well known “Mia San Mia” phrase. Just short of perfect, this jersey lacks simply a navy collar which might have provided a better balance for the navy sleeve cuffs.


Yes, I am critical even of the best designs. You probably are too so make sure to comment below and share your own thoughts on the jerseys presented this past week that you’ll be looking to add to your own collection.

OP-ED: CONCEPT KITS ARE THE FUTURE

Concept kits are wonderful things; an aspect of soccer culture where an artist can express their dreams of designing some of the biggest clubs’ kits. But what if these weren’t just dreams? What if brands realized the sheer talent some of these people have for designing kits?

adidas and Nike, obviously, run the kit game with iconic shirts from past years and some delightful new releases. However, in recent years, we have seen the increasingly annoying use of templates. A lazy approach to designing kits. Simply copy and paste the shirt, changing the colors to suit teams (see Nike’s 2016 releases). What if, for once, brands looked to a concept artist or two to create – or even just aid the creation – of kits? A certain increase in originality will be noticed, but also kits that have unique aesthetics and a feel about them that links them to fans and clubs alike.

Through the Twittersphere we have all been exposed to a beautiful concept kit here and there. The good ones always cause a stir amongst the community, with many fans frantically sharing and expressing their views which are mainly positive.

A designer by the name of Emilio Sansolini is a perfect representative for this design community. Such talent is within this collection of artists that brands are missing a huge opportunity not reaching out to them. A few examples below of the stupendous work that Sansolini creates. Various kits that, as fans, we’d all love to see the players wear, especially following Nike’s disastrous collar idea this year. All of them feature a unique design, providing a slick aesthetic and overall… being beautiful.

But he isn’t the only one. I stumbled across Lukas Danyi when browsing the concept equivalent to heaven on Pinterest. A designer providing incredible art surrounding some of the biggest clubs on the globe. A guy who states in his Twitter bio “I hope to get a job as a football kit designer.” Well, Lukas, you deserve it. You understand kits and what makes them beautiful things.

Despite the recognition these guys – and many more fantastic artists – are gathering being mainly from fans on social media, steps have been made in the right direction. AS Roma, the Champions League semi-final club, have recognized various artists, including the two aforementioned. Via their Twitter, they’ve shone a huge light onto some magnificent kit designs. A big step in the right direction for getting designers higher in the food chain regarding kit design. If more clubs/brands/people in a position like reach out to those that deserve it due to their sheer creative brilliance, then we could see more interesting kits. And this is something we need. Especially with this emergence of the ‘template.’ Viva la revolution!

Many more designers are out there. To name a few: Jack Hazzard, Angelo Trofa, and Carlo Libri.

These people are the future. A wave of designers have crashed upon the culture’s shores and aren’t going away anytime soon. I ask, no, I urge all designers to carry on creating and keep dreaming about your kits being worn by superstars. It’ll happen…it has to. You are the culture, you are the future and I salute you.