England unvieled their new home kit at the weekend before the friendly against Slovakia and it’s fair to say that it seems to have split opinion across the football world.
Some suggest the retro design is a breath of fresh air while others seem to be saying that £50 for a plain polo shirt just isn’t on.
However, just about everyone agrees on one thing – the new kit is certainly different from the norm. But what, we wondered, was Umbro’s thinking behind the re-design?
Who better to ask than Umbro themselves in an exclusive Footy Boots Question and Answer session.
FB: What was the biggest driving force behind the radical change in the shirts design?
U: It was Umbro’s view that there was a requirement to make radical change to the development of a new England kit. Both Tim Parkinson, Head of Umbro’s Global Brand and David Blanch, Senior Designer for Umbro took note that historically Umbro had always labelled its products ‘Tailored by Umbro in England‘.
Taking that on board David had previously met both Aitor Throup and Charlie Allen at the London College of Fashion, where Umbro ran a course, and had always wished to work with them. The time being right, they embarked on turning the manufacture of a football kit on its head. Their other criteria was to ‘meet the needs of the modern player’.
FB: Did you intentionally create something that was very different to current day shirts?
U: Yes, very much so. We challenged the merits of a design and thought process that we had used in the past. It was really just saying: if we rethink it, this can be a significant point in time, a watershed for the Umbro brand and the FA and this can help change people’s view of both.
FB: How does a collar on the shirt assist the players?
U: In this case its about comfort and style. When producing shirts of this nature we decided that by using the techniques that are used for regular shirt production (a two part production), with two pieces of material a more rigid, smart and technically good looking collar is acheived.
FB: What was the main feedback from the England team when they saw it?
U: The feedback was terrific. For example John Terry was very impressed with the science and fit, David James found the kit very giving and comfortable and Joe Cole was most impressed by being measured up for a bespoke kit! All the players were measured individually by Charlie Allen a high quality Saville Row tailor, used to providing suites for around £5000 a pop.
FB: Which player was most impressed?
U: None in particular, it seems that they all enjoyed the experience.
FB: Did Fabio Capello change any design plans in the shirt when he was consulted?
U: Capello was involved in this project right from the off. He worked with the team through the various stages of incarnation. His views were heard and taken on board. He likes to be involved in all England business.
FB: The shirt looks like it is styled so that it can be worn as a leisure item (with jeans), was that part of your thinking?
U: Fashion was certainly a consideration, but so was a superior quality, tasteful looking product that will be worn comfortably with incredible pride.
FB: Will future shirt releases for England follow this pattern?
U: The future will be benchmarked from this.
FB: How do you see shirts looking in 10/20 years from now?
U: There will be more sports science together with traditional tailoring.
FB: What’s the significance of reducing the impact of the star that denoted a World Cup win?
U: It has just been styled and blended into the background of the shirt. This was a design thing.
FB: Has Nike had any influence in the development of this shirt?
The new England shirt is available priced at £50, order yours now.