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So that is that, and this is this. We'll leave it to other sites to bemoan the loss of celebrities last year, and express fear towards the upcoming Trump regime - suffice to say, DF was sorry to see them go, and is terrified about what's to come - and this royal we will focus on football design...

The temptation to simply type "2016: Nike Vapor; 2017: What Nike tells us comes next" was almost - almost - too strong to resist. Indeed, the words of blogging grandee Kevin Graham came truer in 2016 than ever before:

"...the famous [colours] or whatever Nike tell us to wear."
 

It was indeed the year of Vapor. Your interpretation of what that means may differ from others' - for some it was all the Nike teams wearing "the same kit", for some it was about contrast raglan sleeves, for many it was about one colour/the same colour/a different colour - but it was the headline event last year without a doubt. And they won the Euros (with Portugal) and the Copa América Centenario (with Chile), prior to their first season in European club football, where the likes of Barcelona and Inter (in the shirt, at least) were saved by sublimation.

So, Nike may have managed to put sky blue sleeves on the England shirt, have the English wear red socks (a solitary nod to the 50th anniversary of the World Cup win?), and seemingly also attempted to put Brazil in yellow shorts, but they pushed the style as being optimal performance technology, and the work on the pitch bore it out. What's next?

2016 also saw Scotland wear pink against their auld enemy, England. In a year when Switzerland provoked both France and Portugal into having custom shirts made (good old Nike), why Scotland couldn't have had a fully navy shirt for the oldest international match in football history is a question for adidas (and one John Devlin would love to pose it).

Umbro were less Umbro (classic, tailored) than Dryworld in 2016, but Dryworld have lost the Watford contract to adidas, so their out Umbro-ing of Umbro will have to be demonstrated elsewhere. They made kits that were easy on the eye, so we hope to see more of them.

Umbro are adapting, and it's passing muster as far as I'm concerned. Long may that continue, and may we also see the diamond tape a whole lot more.

I say adapting, and it's an adapt-or-die business. We weren't ready for the Warrior Liverpool kits in 2012 and 2013 - particularly those released in the latter - but Errea's Norwich Third is spectacularly graphic-laden - read: it looks like it's covered in paint splatters - and we're either on board with this (lazy observation warning) 90s throwback approach or we're not. I'm comfortable with my kit geekuality, so I'm in the former camp. More, please.

adidas put the stripes down the sides. It was great. They're moving back to the shoulders in 2017. Boo. (Orgasmic Germany and Russia shirts aside. So if they can keep that up we'll forget the side stripes as quickly as every woman of discernment forgets this football kit blogger.)

But, y'know...

Manchester United wore black change shorts with their Home shirt and this would have been an ideal opportunity to have red panels with white stripes to provide beautiful continuation from the shirt. They, instead, wore these. When they messed up in an even worse way in the early 90s, when the first choice Home shorts had panels, it's hard to get angry with them today. Hard, but not impossible. (Secretly, I'd've liked them to've worn the grey Third shorts with the Home shirt, for stripe colour continuation and all-round kit controversy.)

The other thing with adidas - in the case of United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and, probably, Milan - is that they have big, stylish pushes on the history-rewriting Originals ranges, as predicted, and as surely referenced by Arsenal fans stuck with Puma instead...

Will Arsenal get another Anfield '89-y change kit in 2017? For the fourth season in a row? Probably not, and Puma aren't so bad. They aren't so good either, but it could be worse, and they released some cracking teamwear and some gorgeous kits for a certain fledging Scottish club. (Best not to mention the disintegrating shirts at Euro 2016.)

While a long-established club in Scotland got non-1967 referencing kits - the pink ticket? really? - and that's just not on. It's a 50th anniversary, New Balance. Sort it out. And sort out those stickers that are in place of proper, embroidered Liver Birds on the Liverpool shirts.

So, in a nutshell, what will 2017 bring?

  • Graphics, but done well
  • Nike will try to improve upon perfection, and I predict no collars. Nike are killing the collar
  • Puma will release mediocre Arsenal kits, and decent stuff for lower profile clients and pub teams
  • adidas...they'll continue to astound with 80s/90s back catalogue-referencing shirts, like a desperate gambler going all-in (were they not indeed "all-in" one year?) with his wristwatch and car keys 
  • The other manufacturers - Errea, Joma... - will continue dabbling with asymmetry, and actually provide decent value for amateur teams
  • Oh, Kappa shirts will be tight, in every respect, and football boots will be lighter. And probably won't have laces. And they'll be made of angel hair and babies' breath

And, of course, DesignFootball.com will continue to bring competitions and remarkable kit and crest (and boot and stadium and tracksuit and...) designs over the months to come, and a whole lot more.

Finally, just a thought, if baselayers can be produced that take into account the religion of the wearer, perhaps some can be released that are entirely specific to the outer shirt they're being worn with. It is 2017, after all.
 

Written by Jay (follow on Twitter).

Keep up to date with news from the world of football design by following @designfootball on Twitter and Liking the DesignFootball.com Facebook Page.

 

 


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