Over one billion people watched the 2014 FIFA World Cup final. Whether out of love for the beautiful game, devotion to a national team, or sheer intrigue, that’s over 10 percent of the world’s population united in collective reverie for 90 plus minutes.
That is the power of football. And there’s no bigger display of its ability to unify individuals and communities across continents than the FIFA World Cup.
Football jerseys are arguably the most prominent and visible display of this collective spirit bringing together die-hard football fans, casual supporters, and more recently, those purely with a taste for the aesthetic value of a well-designed kit. It's no longer just young footballing talent wanting to express an affinity to their favorite team that are wearing jerseys, it's young creatives and purveyors of style from all walks of life wanting to share their diverse identities in new ways.
In the build-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, adidas Football revealed the home and away kits that will be worn by the 12 adidas Football Federations from June 14 and throughout the tournament. The new kits are inspired by past shirts but feature all the latest sports performance technology.
The new home kit for current FIFA World Cup holders Germany, for example, takes inspiration from their iconic 1990 shirt, while host nation Russia’s home kit is a modern interpretation of the jersey worn by the Soviet Union during the 1988 Olympic Games.
The new shirts fall right into the current fashion zeitgeist towards nostalgic ‘80s and ‘90s-inspired design and the shirts are as much fashion designs as they are sporting ones. Take Japan’s latest shirt, classic Japanese cuts and styles have long been an inspiration for fashion designers and the new jersey uses a graphic that resembles the traditional Sashiko stitching technique. Japan’s away shirt is directly inspired by the nation’s experimental streetwear scene, say adidas Football.
It’s no surprise that this year’s World Cup shirts are designed to take people from the stadium to the street. Classic jerseys and football-inspired shirts have been appearing in street style round-ups for some time and it-designers like Gosha Rubchinskiy have frequently referenced football in their collections. For the fashion crowd, the bold look of a football jersey is ideal for some creative and unexpected styling and Rubchinskiy has repeatedly demonstrated the potential of garments once restricted to the pitch.
While it's unlikely these wearers will ever be chanting songs in the stands, their shirt makes them as much a part of the World Cup as a pie and pint wielding England supporter (that’s the British equivalent of a hot dog and beer at a baseball game).
Whether it’s at a grassroots or professional level, no sport comes close to rivaling football when it comes to participation; the sport is a language understood by all with the power to help negotiate personal and cultural differences almost anywhere in the world. And whether someone is wearing the new 1990-inspired Columbian shirt, a classic Spanish shirt, or the new Argentinian away jersey that sees its players don a black kit for the first time in the team’s history, once the FIFA World Cup kicks off, the jerseys are symbols of togetherness as much as competition. Whichever nations make it to the tournament’s final, people from all over the world with no team affinity will watch excitedly, simply hoping to see a great game.
adidas Football's entire World Cup collection is available online now. Let us know in the comments section who you're supporting and which shirt you're repping.