Not content with ripping up the shirt sale record books (which are presumably a thing), Nike’s incredibly wavy kits for Nigeria in the World Cup have been shortlisted for a fancy design award alongside work by Gucci, Burberry, and the costumes from Black Panther.
In a year of extremely handsome kits, the Nigeria designs stood apart as the handsomest, becoming the Holy Grail for football fans across the world, from extremely well-turned-out musicians to gawky advertising agency types. It even saw us popping up in the Wall Street Journal to talk about it, which was nice. And, though Nigeria were Quite Bad at football in Russia, as Hypebeast reported, seeing the shirt nominated for big boy awards is a great step forward for a medium we all hold very close to our hearts.
“With the Nigeria kit and collection, what we wanted to do is take a team who there are fewer expectations on from the media and fans in terms of both on the field performance and kit design,” Nike FC design director Pete Hoppins told The Fader in June. “A guy here named Matt Wolff, he designed this home kit. He was inspired by the classic 1994 one with the eagle wings. We kept pushing the design and pushing it and pushing it to see how far we could go until we were like… that just looks fire.”
We had this super energetic kit on a team where we think we can get it through the board. Ultimately, our client is the board; the president of Nigerian soccer has to sign off on this. We had more traditional backup options, in case they didn’t go for it. Some wouldn’t; we’d never push this on England. But we wanted this, so we went above and beyond to present it. Another of our design directors here, a guy named Daniel Farron, got a team of designers across Nike and asked them, “We’ve got this kit, what else do we want to do?” He went about and helped build this whole collection using various designers to really build on the kit and create this energetic moment around Nigeria. Everyone here thought this was the craziest thing going here, this is mad.”
Well done, everyone involved. And if everyone could continue making kits that make your eyes explode, like they did in the 90s, that’d be ace. Cheers.
Fan of kits are you? Course you are. That’s why you’re here. There’s loads of chat about nice kits, old footballers, new footballers, fashion, culture, and the intersections every which way between in our new issue, which is available to preorder now. It’s got Héctor Bellerín on the cover. Bet he’d look lovely in a Nigeria trackie.