"I think the new England kits are some of the best designs we’ve produced in a while," beams Scott Munroe, Vice-President of Apparel at Nike and the man who oversaw the design of the latest England kit. "The away kit is so fresh, so bold, and I can’t wait to see the players wearing it in their upcoming games."
FourFourTwo had of a virtual sit-down with Munroe to to hear all about what went into the latest design.
First off, is that a hint of the old '98 World Cup England kit we spy in this year's home shirt?
"Absolutely," agrees Munroe. "The home kit features an intentional reference to the France 1998 home kit - with the big, bold numbering on the front of the shirt and the badge in the centre.
"When we talked to the next generation of fans, all the youngsters, that was really the team they referenced as a proper England team they loved and remembered watching growing up. So we took inspiration from that home shirt and played around with it a little bit."
Not only is the kit more retro than recent England releases, it also features a few patriotic touches FFT are fans of.
"It’s got a few touches here and there where you’ll notice it’s inspired by the lion," says Munroe. "The little lion details in the crew neck and on the cuffs was really cool to create, plus the lightning bolt graphic running down down the side beneath the sleeves gives it a modern look."
One thing FFT are dying to know is the process of designing a football shirt, and who has the final say: is it Nike, the FA or someone else?
"Well, we at Nike sit down as a design team and discuss which parts of a new kit we want to see pop, where we want attention drawn to, where there should be interest and what we think will be the most dynamic elements that represent the pride of the country," he reveals.
"We talk to players, fans, influencers and the federations themselves when designing a new kit. Then we have a design project that lasts around nine months. We meet regularly; there are checkpoints where we change things, plus we speak to the FA and make sure they’re happy with it at various stages. Then we present the final pitch to the FA."
But we also spot a nod to the Euro 88 home shirt in that round collar 🧐A shirt last worn before any of the current Three Lions squad were born 😱https://t.co/rhMYDoSXl5 pic.twitter.com/W6T7l6oHvwSeptember 1, 2020
With football shirts increasingly becoming a fashion statement as well as an item of sportswear – Nigeria 2018, anyone? – how much is style considered when creating an England shirt ahead of a tournament, we wonder.
"We test the product in motion, to make sure it’s comfortable and breathes well," Munroe explains. "That’s the most important thing. But it has to be a talisman for pride and have some street currency too. We want people to wear this shirt casually as well as on the football pitch."
Players come in all sizes and shapes, so we were curious to know how Nike go about designing a kit to fit all.
"We have certain players in mind when we start designing football kits." Munroe smiles. "Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance, is about as close to the perfect size and shape of an athlete. So he would be a player we bear in mind when designing any kit. How it would fit and how it would look on a player of that shape.
"But we also measure all the England players individually and make sure we have a design that will look good on all body shapes. We fit it and we test the performance before we finalise our ideas."
Nike has says it has taken great strides to ensure all of its new kits are made of the most sustainable materials possible.
"Yes, we want to be sustainable - the kits are 100% recyclable," Munroe concludes "They’re made from recycled plastic. It’s important for the public and the players, for consumers and also ourselves as a company to ensure we are doing our bit."
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