Thursday, 29 August 2013

The 2014 Team USA jerseys are awful.

All right, I can't stand it, I have to speak up on the Team USA  jersey.  They're an abomination.  It's an example of what happens when designers are given too much free rein in coming up with a uniform, and go nuts, and lose sight of the original goal.  Or like when a hairdresser gets to decide what your girlfriend should look like and chops off all her hair to give her a radical, spunky look.  I like my jerseys the way they are, and my girlfriend's hair nice and long, dammit.

First off, the colours.  The palette they have to work with is pretty easy, the flag's red, white and blue work well on a hockey jersey, but they've decided to go with a darker blue with charcoal or greyish accents.  While the shimmery effects on the blue might look neat to a designer up close, from up high on a white ice, the effect will be lost.  It's a lost opportunity to have a nice classic blue jersey.

Second, the crest on the chest is kind of odd.  I hear it's a throwback to the 20's, but it's still not very iconic or inspiring.  They have lots of symbols or images they could have worked with, a bald eagle or the Statue of Liberty, a gunboat, a Wall Street titan raping the working class, but they've gone with what looks like the crests in the warnings I can't skip over at the start of a DVD, the ones trying to convince me that video piracy is not a victimless crime, and that George Lucas could really use some new marble in the ninth guest bathroom.  Anything would be better than that crest.  Why not just have the letters U-S-A in a diagonal down the jersey?  Would that be too simple, and not earn the designers their fat cheques?  Too easy?

Another concern is how awful the jerseys look on the guys.  Those are pro athletes, with great physiques, and still it looks like they're wearing a very dated K-Way from the eighties, the second generation that weren't all one colour, but had colour blocks and patterns and were unfashionable as soon as they hit the store racks.  Imagine what the average shlubby fan will look like with all that opportunity for back hair and pasty skin.  Hell, we don't need to imagine, just look at Phil Kessel, he'll serve as an example, and a warning to those who might be tempted to get one for their dad for Christmas.

I worked at a hotel where the managers were pleased to announce that the doormen and bellmen were going to be getting new uniforms designed by a leading Québec fashion house, I forget which one.  Anyway, when the unis were revealed, they proved to be hazardous to the boys' health.  They were made of a thick wool, with a trim cut and a mid-high collar that was shaped with a, I kid you not, metallic band that kept it from flopping or drooping.  It was like wearing a cheese grater around your neck, the boys were boiling and developed rashes around their necks, one developed an infection and had to go off work, and missed out on the summer tips he was relying on for school, it went through the grievance process...

Anyway, if those designers had only come to ask us what we needed, they would have learned what we liked, what we didn't, that lifting them bags in the sun is heavy and hot work and that having an unyielding metal collar pushing against your Adam's apple every time you bend down is not a good thing.  Maybe the older guys in their fourties or fifties would appreciate a little room in the middle so they can breathe and move around.  And maybe what they thought looked real good on their easels and when a model was standing ramrod straight wearing it wouldn't work when the wearer had to, uh, work.

Same with this hockey jersey.  If the players had been consulted, they'd never have gone along with this.  They maybe should have a say, seeing as they're going to play for their countries for free, maybe they should feel proud, not sheepish, when donning their uniform.

I remember Team Canada's jerseys or the new NHL jerseys a few years back were unveiled for a test run to the guys, and Todd Bertuzzi cracked that they were a little tight, he might wear it to the bar but wasn't sure about on the ice.  The designers tried to placate everyone, explain that they'd get used to it, it was a quantum leap in design and would be a more high-performance jersey, but I think they lost the battle, because eventually when the games came the players actually looked like hockey players, with loose sweaters, and not like offensive linemen shrink-wrapped into jerseys that are 'hold-proof'.  Maybe it's not too late for the Team USA guys.

Nike, you make bad jerseys.

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