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It's possible to use the same jersey for two years in a row?

Brentford FC says yes. Who will follow them?

It's possible to use the same jersey for two years in a row? Brentford FC says yes. Who will follow them?

While the world is muddied in the consumerist madness of Black Friday, Brentford FC has announced that, in agreement with its technical sponsor Umbro, will not release a new first jersey for the upcoming season 2022/23 but will be reused that of the current season. A rather unusual choice and in contrast with the now continuous flow of new kits manufactured at every possible moment using any kind of excuse. 

It's since the 2010/2011 season that a Premier League team hasn't produced a new kit for the season, a hypertrophy that the newcomer wanted to break. In fact, the club that has its home in West London has risen to the top division of English soccer for the first time in over 75 years and has used that excuse to create a jersey that can go beyond the ritual seasonality of soccer. Thanks to the high revenues received from both sponsors and television deals, it was able to allow itself the freedom of not being subject to budgetary repercussions. 

The claim with which this statement was launched is "Making memories last longer", a clear message against the speed with which fashions and passions are consumed. Brentford wants to fully enjoy this first season in the Premier League, which began with an important victory against Arsenal, and which the Bees' fans hope will lead to a miraculous salvation. "Although it is not customary for Premier League clubs to use the same kit for two years, our fans made it clear to us that they would be supportive of the savings that this choice would bring," said Jon Varney, Brentford FC's Chief Executive. 

It should make us think about what is the real economic value and prestige of releasing three or more kits each season, a practice inaugurated by the richest clubs with great communication presence and that soon was uncritically copied by even the smallest ones. As much as soccer clubs have become more and more like large industries or high-fashion brands, and being relevant through one's visual style has become as important as victories on the field, one standard cannot be accepted as working for everyone. For small clubs with strong local roots like Brentford sometimes "less is more"; integrity and tradition help to maintain a higher profile than many useless commercial operations. 

Otherwise there would be a dilution of the brand that risks making the most affectionate lose that sense of exclusivity and fundamental sharing among those who follow a soccer team. Borussia Dortmund, for example, just a few days ago drew up a new code of values, crystallizing its symbol and social name, to combat this drift. 

Moreover, Branford's move reveals the hypocrisy of an economy that if on the one hand cares to point out at every new release that the jersey has been made in the most sustainable way possible, on the other hand never questions the amount of kit made, most of which is forgettable and forgotten. What could be more sustainable than reusing a piece of clothing that is still perfectly functional and that only seasonality has defined to be thrown away. Will we soon see even in soccer what has happened in fashion between alleged sustainability and vintage, with a return to the latter option?

Not all companies, however, are going in the direction of Brantford, indeed. Napoli for example only this season has made nine different kits, coming at the same time to fill and confuse the market. And all the major European clubs do not go below four annual releases, not counting all the associated accessories and lifestyle items. A disproportionate number that seems destined to rise ever higher. In this jungle we'll see if Branford will remain an isolated case or if his gesture will set the standard.