Emphasis, harmony and rhythm are a few elements of good fashion design. Nike’s latest jersey design for the Women’s World Cup hits each checkbox, both literally and figuratively. Though the brand has been designing jerseys for teams in the Women’s World Cup since 1995, this is the first year each of the jerseys has been made specifically for women instead of being an extension of the designs created for the men.
The jerseys emphasize the powerful parts of women’s bodies. The brand used body mapping technology to design the proportions of the garment, recognizing that most soccer players have powerful legs. The jersey also has longer sleeves and a neckline that’s easy for pulling over ponytails.
As for the rhythm of the design: the patriotic colors and patterns work well for each country, a feat considering many countries share the same colors of the flag. The U.S. home jersey is especially nostalgic and patriotic — the stripes on the sleeves are reminiscent of the jerseys worn by the U.S. in 1999 when the team won the World Cup.
And of course it’s right on beat with the female-forward thinking in the sport; Just last week, the U.S. women’s soccer team filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer for pay discrimination.
Nike, which designed 14 of the 24 participating teams’ jerseys, has become known both for designing innovative apparel, and for using its platform to stand up for athletes.
The brand has been been especially active showcasing and encouraging female athletes through social media messages and TV ads. The brand’s most recent video ad, Dream Crazier, debuted at the Oscars and had an overwhelmingly positive response across social media.
The fashion director and chief fashion critic for The New York Times wrote about what these new designs mean in the context of the game:
“In the larger picture of gender issues and sports, this may not seem like a big deal. But the clothes athletes wear speak loudly about identity and allegiance, and have the power to help instill confidence. Clothes are also the easiest way for fans to assert their own allegiance, aspiration and personal connection. They are, above all, symbols. And now they are finally symbols of parity.”
The general consensus from fashion critics and sports fans alike: yes, it’s a very good design.