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Are the adidas Euro 2020 Home Kits a flop?

The German brand took inspiration by art, tinkering in terms of taste without managing to enhance the national identity

Are the adidas Euro 2020 Home Kits a flop? The German brand took inspiration by art, tinkering in terms of taste without managing to enhance the national identity

Among the 24 participants at Euro 2020, the first traveling edition in the history of the major continental tournament dedicated to National teams, there will be a large presence of adidas sponsored squads, some of which will be among the favorites: Russia, Belgium and Spain are already in, while Germany is currently challenging with Northern Ireland (an adidas team, too), and there's a good chance of seeing also Sweden and Hungary, favorite to get the pass. In addition to the technical supplier, many of these teams have in common the release date (they were all unveiled simultaneously, a choice caused by the will to consider all in the same way but which did not allow to focus well on the single creations, penalizing their visibility) but above all the main inspiration, art.

Fair from the first sight and also stated by the adidas Senior Designer Director Jurgen Rank in an interview posted on the German magazine 11 Freunde, the German brand will was to strongly bet on art recalls, the main common denominator of the new maxi-release and also the right glue with which link the football world and the fans through emotions, betting on the ability to tease the sensitivity and feelings of the supporters. For this reason, how did they once do (do you remember Drake Ramberg and the other American graphic designers sent to Europe for months to study the characteristics of the countries before to realize a kit?) they decided to meticulously educate the creative team:

"We visited international arts expositions for inspiration and then asked designers from different backgrounds to 'have a go at it!

But if the basic strategy could also be smart (also because, finally, it was the time to stop pushing on the nostalgia effect and on vintage shirts and experimenting with something new), in the realization of the concepts there is a big deficit in terms of aesthetics, especially compared to the current canons. The color brushstrokes that 'dirty' Uniforia, the official ball of Euro 2020 just unveiled, feature in a less marked way also on the Germany shirt, which only on very few occasions in the past had given up the traditional black and white kit to wear the Away version with horizontal stripes (like the Flamengo shirt worn in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup or the green Euro 2016 kit). The brushstrokes, this time much coarser and less uniform, also appear on that of Belgium, literally spanned by dark traces in order to form a stylized letter B, both on the front and on the back. In the case of the Spanish Home kit, instead, the intent is to want to make the jersey a picture, to remember the geometry and forms of the Iberian abstract art movement, and it's no coincidence that manager Robert Moreno announced the latest calls-up in an unusual show scheduled into the Prado Museum in Madrid. The first impression is a work of art of Neoplasticism, even if Piet Mondrian was Dutch.

Football and art together, but where had we seen it before? Certainly on the AS Velasca shirts, the Milanese club that has made the combination of sport and creativity its motto, as well as the main way to find its identity in a sea of ​​replicas and projects increasingly too similar to each other. However, this is a project, the one proposed by adidas, that besides making you regret the recent and courageous creative projects, definitely more appealing (the tie-dye shirts, the reworking of an iconic kit like the Bruised Banana, the Juventus x Palace collection and the new camouflage shirt of Japan) too weak to evoke the football identity of country at its best, when it was possible, thanks to the echo of this kind of event, to try to create 'immortal' shirts. Despite the attempt to not renounce to put on symbols related to the tradition of the teams, limiting themselves to apply the colors of the national flag on the jersey, on the ends of the sleeves or around the collar. Something a little bit populist but also banal, that caused too many problems in the case of Russia, given the confusion created with the combination of colors that reminds of the Serbian flag, an unexpected complication for which players would even be ready to boycott the shirt in the name of nationalism. 

The result of the last creative plan is a bit of a mess, also because not at all consistent with the solutions recently showed off: the one conceived for the celebration of 70 years of the brand and which concerns many South American top clubs (Sao Paulo, River Plate, Flamengo, Universidad de Chile) for which a seen and revised template, the Campeon 19, has been reworked; but above all the new Russia, Colombia (away) and Argentina (away) kits, a combo of current elements (the 'stained' jersey very similar to the camouflage seen recently, both on match jerseys and on training ones) and old templates with a modern taste, like the Condivo 20. Shortly, another flop after the one we had already discussed last summer concerning goalkeeper jerseys used all over the world (all the same without ideas, from the MLS franchises to Juventus, from Manchester United to Virtus Entella), made with the same pattern and different only for the background color. All this doubts right during the boom of their National rivals of PUMA, who instead managed to mix National elements and symbols with a modern and effective taste without falling into the trap of overloading of meanings the jerseys to respond to recent criticisms (the lack of imagination and convincing and above all cool and innovative hints): we are talking about the new Italy Renaissance jerseys, the green one and the white one unveiled on the same day as the adidas ones, but also those of Austria and Switzerland, two small masterpieces.