SBD/June 26, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

FIFA World Cup Jerseys Fashion Hit-Or-Miss Qualities Examined

Croatia's giant red-and-white checkerboard jersey mirrors the Formula One flag
While the FIFA World Cup is "one of the largest sports fashion catwalks in the world," there is a temptation regarding jerseys to "exaggerate or be overly 'creative' with what is available, and as fashion often demonstrates, therein lies a slippery slope to sartorial disaster," according to a fashion & style piece by Vanessa Friedman of the N.Y. TIMES. For example, while Croatia's "giant red-and-white checkerboard home shirt (and away trim) may be eye-catching," it only is "in the 'Hey, is that a Formula One flag?' kind of way." On the opposite extreme "is Cameroon, which has fallen victim to heritage ikat overload, and France, where the away jerseys, in faded stripe and Henley collar, and the navy-with-white-polo-collar home jerseys both telegraph a days-of-yesteryear nostalgia that seems at odds with a sport synonymous with future promise." The U.S. "went for a polo neck with three-button placket for its home jerseys, as did Greece -- though the net effect, especially when buttoned, was to make the player look like a small boy dressed by his parents." Still, the "biggest statements, speaking literally, tend to be made in color and print, with varying degrees of success." The "single-shade shirt-’n’-shorts combo, for example, while it does make a team easy to identify, is also disturbingly reminiscent of a child’s romper suit -- or, in the case of Ivory Coast’s yellow-orange, a bag of tangerines run amok." Though the "dress-like-the-flag approach of the United States away jersey, with its giant red, white and blue stripes" is "not necessarily better." Ghana's white jersey "with bright ikat neckline decoration; Japan’s subtle tone-on-tone sunray inlay; Argentina’s graphic home vertical and away horizontal stripes; and Russia’s wash of blue on the shoulders" of its white home jersey "single out their teams without distracting attention from the talent" (NYTIMES.com, 6/24).
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