It’s the most wonderful time of the football year! No, not Champions League Final time! No, it’s not because the transfer window is about to open again for the summer! Oh yes, it’s new kit debut season!
Okay, so maybe it isn’t the best part of the season, but it does seem quite a bit like Christmas since we get to unwrap a shiny new kit design almost every day. Now that I think about it, I guess in that sense it’s more like Chanukah for football kit nerds. Either way, if you’re a fan of athletic aesthetics (tip of the cap to Paul Lukas and the uni-watch.com team, I love your work) it’s an exciting time.
This week Arsenal officially unveiled their 2012-13 season home kits. I say officially because this design has been floating around out there for a month or more due to leaked photos, but even if it wasn’t a surprise, it’s now officially here. The biggest thing we learned from the official reveal that we didn’t already know is that the collar and the hoops around the sleeves are not, as they had appeared in the leaked photos, black, but are instead navy blue! I’m not sure what the deal is, but even in a lot of the promotional photos of the team wearing the new kit, the hoops look black, but the close-up shots show them for the true navy blue that they are. Personally, I’m glad that the hoops are blue and not black, as if they were black they’d look too much like a Man U kit, and no one wants that.
So yeah, they stayed pretty close to home as they always do with the home kit: red body, white sleeves, no collar. The only changes from the 2011-12 version are as follows: the anniversary crest has been replaced by the normal crest; the ringer around the neck hole has returned, but this time it is navy blue, as opposed to the white that it was in 2010-11; the red stripe running from the shoulder down the top of the sleeve has been removed; the sleeve now features two hoops, one red and one navy blue, the former appearing above the later, with a white space left in between; and on the base of the neck the “Arsenal” has been replaced with an interlocking XX design creating a diamond with the letters “AFC” in the negative spaces. Other than that, they’re the same as this year’s version. I don’t love the sleeve hoops, but I don’t hate them either. They look better on the players than on the rack, which is usually the case, so in my mind, there’s not too much to complain about.
My favorite thing that came out of the 2012-13 kit launch, however, was NOT the kit itself, but this new target logo that came out of nowhere. I haven’t heard anything about whether or not the target logo, which looks similar to an London Underground logo, except with a red cannon replacing the red horizontal stripe inside the blue circle, but I think it looks sharp. The logo featured prominently in the kit launch video, and even appears behind the players in certain promotional shots. I, for one, hope it sticks around, but that remains to be seen.
There have been plenty of leaks concerning the 2012-13 away kit, but nothing official yet. The supposed away kit is reminiscent of the 2007-08 third kit, featuring broad horizontal stripes. This version features a darker, more burgundy, red alternating with a navy blue. If these really are the change kits, the club may run into some problems when they’re away to other red-dominant sides (you know, like United) as the red and blue horizontal stripes don’t offer much of a visual contrast to their home kits. Here’s hoping that means we see the yellow change kits make a return one way or another. When the change (or possible third) kit becomes official, I’ll comment more then, but for now, all I’ll say is I don’t get it. Okay I’ll say one more thing: it looks like a rugby kit.
Since this is a uniform-centric post, I wanted to give another shout out to Paul Lukas and the excellent work he does at uni-watch.com. I really love sports uniforms, so for me, his blog scratches that combined sports and nerd itch I have in just the right spot. I recently became a Uni Watch member, which means I got my own personally designed membership card with custom kit art. The custom kit art just came out, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it, so I’m going to show it off here. My design is based on the 1995-96 Arsenal change kit, dubbed the “blue lightning” design. It was definitely one of Arsenal’s most controversial kits, but I love it, and happen to think it makes the best damn Uni Watch card ever (not that I’m biased or anything)! So, check it out, and check out the rest of the membership gallery, and put Uni Watch in your daily blog reading rotation, I promise you won’t be disappointed.