Anyone familiar with AS Roma will know that it is a football club simply incapable of producing a bad football shirt. Currently in kit supplier limbo having canceled its manufacturing deal with Nike early, fans of the Giallorossi will be piqued by the news that a fourth jersey designed by Brain Dead is on the way, and we have an exclusive look.
The item was first revealed as a virtual download in this year's eFootball PES 2021 game, but we have since learned it will be released in physical form on December 18 at wearebraindead.com, asromastore.com, all Dover Street Market locations, and select retail partners. Roma will wear the kit for official PES eFootball Pro 20-21 matches from December to May.
For the collaboration, Brain Dead began with the Capitoline Wolf symbol as its crest and then created patterns with the colors of the city: yellow and red. The collection includes a limited edition long-sleeve jersey ($120) and shorts ($60), incorporating Brain Dead branding and the club's recurring statement of “Stamp out reality” (“Sradicare la realtà”).
"Brain Dead and Roma developed a kit that resonates the essence of a team that was able to bring victories to its people with just pure passion for the game," an official press release reads.
That Roma — a club owned by an American billionaire who harbors serious aspirations of transforming the club into a global brand — would collaborate with one of the hottest names in the streetwear space isn't really surprising. The shirt is a surefire way of getting the Roma name into upscale boutiques across Europe and North America, increasing brand profile and ultimately converting new fans. For Kyle NG and Brain Dead, the chance to work with one of the biggest clubs in the world is obvious. What exactly links a Los Angeles-based creative collective with a Rome-based football club is unclear, but it certainly looks dope.
PSG's wildly fruitful Jordan Brand experiment burst the dam for football crossovers, as evidenced by the Palace x Juventus and Humanmade x Arsenal/Bayern Munich/Juventus/Real Madrid tie-ups that followed after. This is different, in that the previous creations were incubated by main sponsors Nike and adidas, whereas Brain Dead has no known tie to Nike outside collaborations with its subsidiary Converse. Its Nike deal, mutually terminated earlier this year, runs until the end of the 20-21 season.
It's an interesting development that could explain why Roma wanted out of its deal with The Swoosh early, and potentially a sign of where things are headed: Might other clubs wrangle clauses into future merchandise contracts that allow them to roll out special shirts with third parties, so long as they are not a direct competitor? Will suppliers be more permissive of such projects with non-affiliated upstarts going forward? All that remains to be seen, but for now, we can agree that the football shirt is only getting bigger — and weirder.