This beautiful, elegant France Women away shirt was one of many fantastic Nike bespoke ‘Future shirt’ designs to feature at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Nike spent three years looking at how best to fit the female form, combining style change and technologies that helped them craft a modern look for the women’s game.
Nike recognised that female teams have different identities from their male compatriots and drew inspiration by working closely with the players. Every shirt featured a unique story with some building on the recent shift towards experimental daring kit design, while others adopted subtle storytelling techniques. An example of the latter approach could be found on England’s highly successful blood red away shirt which featured faint patterns of native English flowers.
“It’s relatively simple to design a kit that fits well during the national anthems, but Nike focused on a kit that moves with the body through the most athletic of motions.”Cassie Looker, Nike Women’s Football Apparel Lead
Nike’s decision to launch a bespoke design for the Women’s World Cup illustrated the significant progress being made in women’s football to create kit designed for female athletes whilst still embracing fashion and design.
Nike weren’t alone though with other manufacturers releasing bespoke designs including adidas who designed bespoke kits for Germany, Spain and Sweden. The Germany shirt was a major success, looking back at the classic 1988-91 West Germany shirt but incorporating both a modern look and heritage approach into the design.
“For Germany we did an interpretation of the 1990 graphic and it was from a picture taken from the first Championship of the DFB Women’s team. We took this picture and then we glitched it and created the effect of the 1990 graphic into it. It was a lot of design work but also a lot of research was done for it.”Jürgen Rank, Senior Design Director Football Apparel, adidas
While adidas has been looking at the women’s game increasingly in the past decade, more design time, research and capacity from the adidas design team was put into to the women’s game for the 2019 World Cup than ever before with this becoming a growing focus for them going forward into the new decade.
“We had focus groups with the Germany players and discussions about what is important for the female player today. Do they want the same look from a jersey as the men or would they like to look slightly different? Would they have their own designs? It was a very interesting and very important new approach to invest much more time and energy into the women’s side of football.”Jürgen Rank