A Call to Action

When Nike released the new strip to be worn by the USWNT for the upcoming Women’s World Cup, I snapped. The first thing I did was go to social media and vent.

Let me start with a fact. The US flag is dark red, white and navy blue. I don’t know the exact color name or Pantone color numbers. I am not a fashionista, I am not a graphic designer. I’m a human F*$%ing being.

I state the flag colors because that should be the color palette that US Soccer kits are drawn from. Nike has been dicking around the last couple of years, with the last several kits being anywhere to plain jane (2014 Home, ie golf shirt) to meh but grew on me (2014 World Cup away, ie Bomb Pop) to amazing (2013 Centennial). The most recent offerings however have been absolutely shocking and have brought me to the breaking point.

USA-SS-AWAY-STADIUM-JSY-640872_480_A

Where do I start with the current away kit? The fact that we are still using an outdated crest with stars of no particular importance? The fact that the shirt uses royal blue which is significant because. . . it was used in the 80’s? The fact that icing belongs on cake not on top of performance designed equipment for world class athletes?

uswnt wwc shirt

As for the kit for 2015 Women’s World Cup. The strip, which is mostly white with black accents and a monochromatic badge, is not awful (ignoring the base of the US flag colors), but when the players look like they have just got done doing a Color Run where only the bottom sprayers worked, then you have a kit that is confusing, non-American and just not good.

uswnt wwc

In my patriotic and stylistic fervor, I created an account on change.org and started a petition to send to US Soccer pleading for them to break their contract with Nike over this and other recent clothing based travesties. Now while a few people actually “signed” the petition, I didn’t even make it to the needed 100 signatures and by the afternoon I was over it.

Maybe I was hangry (I saw the Women’s World Cup strip right before lunch when my blood sugar was at a dangerously low level); maybe I had a moment of righteous anger; maybe I should just keep my thoughts to myself; maybe it doesn’t even matter.

But the exercise turned out to be pretty interesting. Three things were considered during conversations with several people. One, as Kendi Howells Douglas pointed out, on a human level, Nike is screwing the workers. Someone is being paid cents to manufacture a shirt that is sold for north of $75. Two, the Nike divergence from the flag is a relatively recent phenomenon, and they even created a wonderful charcoal kit not so long ago, which goes against my US Flag screed. Three, the USSF had to approve these unis. Maybe Sunil shouldn’t get rid of Nike as much as get rid of the idiot who looked at mock up after mock up and finally said yes. And if he looks in the mirror and sees himself, then maybe his time has come.

In the end the Swoosh will keep rolling out kits of varying quality and Americans will keep buying them. I threw something up because something had to be done. I had to get this off my weak, pale chest. I just wanted a statement, however small to be made, and I appreciate any support in this endeavor.

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  1. I admit that I didn’t care for the white/black/volt kit at first, but it has grown on me. Maybe it’s because I’m not American, but I think it’s okay to play with the colours so long as the base is white.

    To me, the kit shows a willingness to experiment and not take the easy way out when it comes time to design. You don’t put a man on the moon without some experimentation. You don’t defeat Hitler by taking the easy way out. These values represent American just as well as red, white, and blue.

    I’ll go back to my marketing job at Nike now.

    • The experimentation angle is something I haven’t (don’t want to) consider. I look at big countries (England, Germany, Holland, etc) and there’s not much “change” in the home kit. Away kit is different story. I just don’t like the look of the new blue kit. I agree that the WWC white kit is not awful, but the socks can be distracting and seem a little too much for show. Appreciate your thoughts.

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