There is an idea which occasionally surfaces in the music world that whilst the possibilities in songwriting are supposedly endless, limitless and infinite, the great melodies and chord progressions have been used at some point already, and any hit - particularly of guitar-driven genres - will borrow from a predecessor.
This isn't necessarily to suggest plagiarism, certainly not always intentional borrowing from previous songs, but perhaps the melody which comes to a composer in a dream is not constructed in the unconscious mind, rather the emergence of a distant memory unfamiliar to the owner.
And so the same is true in kit design, it seems. The taking of inspiration is more prevalent than ever, with manufacturers lifting from previous iconic designs, even if they were the work of a rival. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but when Nike rehash recent Umbro designs - albeit designs they most likely own the intellectial property on - it must stick in the craw of the English brand after being dumped by the American behemoth.
In fact, Nike may be the kit design world's Oasis - the Manchester band famously reinvogorating songs by Stevie Wonder, T-Rex and, er, The Coca-Cola Company - by, we'll assume inadvertently, serially modernising history's lauded creations and adding a Swoosh. Earlier this year, a leaked image even appeared to suggest the new Netherlands Home kit would pay tribute to the ever-in-demand Dutch Euro '88 shirt in the watermark pattern. When the shirt was released, however, those stylings synonymous with rivals adidas had oddly vanished.
As they say, talent borrows, genius steals, and adidas themselves wouldn't want to be left out of that party. Like Radiohead lifting the chord progression and verse melody of Creep from The Air That I Breathe - I literally only noticed that yesterday when listening to the latter - adidas, in amongst their World Cup Originals range, have taken the incredibly popular Admiral 1982 England template and slapped it across a t-shirt design.
So let them fight it out. If those who see their hard work being given a new home are cool with it, why shouldn't we be? Indeed, why shouldn't DF members be fine with their amateur doodlings suddenly appearing in sports shops and being retailed for £70? Why oh why. Sometimes it's just coincidence - of course - like Celtic's black socks last season being in the wake of the idea being mooted by several fantasy designs here and on FSC, and both Corstorph's (ah, Corstorph. Please come back - we all miss you) name-printing on shorts and Lacasaca's fascinating Awayless Concept popping up in rugby (what came first, the chicken or the egg-chasers?) and football respectively. But, on other occasions, it's a little harder to explain.
Naturally, having your ideas stolen by Far East counterfeiters will always be a risk in kit design - welcome to the top table - but people were truly shocked when an entirely original matupeco brainwave made it onto Kawasaki Frontale's Asian Champions League shirt, and even more so with its appearance on their Away. Likewise, Steevo's clever twist on the Middlesbrough chest band ending up on an infamous Portsmouth shirt - coincidentally the dayjob labour fruits of another DF member - and then there's a curious case of VLR's Celtic prediction from two years ago bagging him a respectable two for three, with the "mistaken" design suddenly rising like a phoenix from the flames on the USA's new Away.
If we consider the timescales involved in football kit design development, things really do get curiouser and curiouser. The Irish-American notion rings about bang on, and whilst we have to ignore DF timestamps (they largely refer to the date of last summer's site upgrade) matupeco's Boca kit was uploaded to a competition which ended in July 2012 - again just about when the Puma wheels on the Kawasaki Frontale project would have been in peak motion.
So, consciously, subconsciously and/or unconsciously, songwriters and kit manufacturers are similar breeds. Imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery; just don't mention the P-word.
Written by Jay (follow on Twitter).