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Nike deliver on a big promise to Liverpool fans

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We are back for another edition of football fashionista, a game in which we look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from Liverpool fashion releases and grade them on the pop-culture scale.

It feels like forever since Liverpool released their in-house “retro” line, and while independent, title-winning merch has kept us afloat, it’s nice to have some officially official offerings.



Today is Nike day. Let’s do it.



2020/21 Home Kit, Vapor Edition

I’m splitting these into two -- the Vapor and Stadium editions -- for a specific reason: They’re different!



That matters. Shirt companies all do this, and that’s fine. It makes sense. For the uninitiated, the “Vapor” edition is the real kit, with all the fancy technology and moisture-wicking (gross) and might-make-you-an-omelet goodness. It’s the kit the players will wear, at least the closest the public will get; it is engineered to be worn in a sporting context.

The “stadium” kit is made with cheaper material without all the bells and whistles so that fans can buy a kit at a cheaper price, not that any football goods are cheap these days. The stadium version is built to not be quite so snug fitting for the unathletic amongst the public, and to be worn, well, at the stadium, by supporters.

There’s an issue, though.

2020/21 home kit, stadium edition (Image: Nike.com)

Look. They’re different! Ordinarily, the vents and fabric change make a small but subtle difference. Here, the impact is profound. The more expensive one just looks better. The vents shape the kit. If you look at the close-ups, on the front and back, they offer a very clear, distinct pattern -- which is excellent. There are lines and grooves and things that elevate the kit from a nice base into something pretty damn special.

(Image: Nike.com)

These lines move and contort the kit in different ways all across the front and back. They’re not just there because of the material. They have been designed and placed there because it looks better. By contrast, here’s the reverse of the stadium kit, the one that will run you £70:

(Image: Nike.com)

Spot the difference?

Still: The kit looks great, though the sheen in the pictures of the stadium kit is a little concern.

I love the controversial teal. I’ve come around on the back of the collar. It’s minimal and sleek and yet the teal gives it a dash of daring.

It’s hard to mess up a Liverpool home kit: feature the Liverbird, make it all red, and everyone is happy. By that metric, Nike took a chance, and it’s a real win.

Vapor Kit Rating: Everybody wants to be famous; nobody wants to be nameless, aimless.

Stadium Kit Rating: That feeling when your free trial runs out and you can’t justify the ‘Premium’ purchase.

Track Jacket (Image: Nike.com)

A wonderful design. I’m a fan of the block white to frame the two logos and to break up the body, even though the “LFC” on the reverse sits above the block. How this looks will depend almost completely on body shape and the rest of the outfit. Rarely do things so well run the gamut from cool to Smithy, to mid-80s, chain-smoking, Russian athletics coach. Good job, Nike.

Rating: post-Beatles McCartney

Tech Pack (Image: Nike.com)

Minimal, clean. There are no fireworks, but it does the job.

Rating: The Silent Patient

Pre-Match Short Sleeve

My initial reaction was “ooooh”, then I hit “hmmm”, and now I’m firmly entrenched with “hhhhhhhshshhhhh” -- you know that sound you make in the middle of saying ‘you know what, I’m not sure about this one.’

Something is off. There’s more than a subtle nod to Louis Vuitton. Why is there a Fleur-de-lis?

At first, I liked the offset, asymmetric design, with the red stripe held to a smidge on the left side. But the more I’ve focused the more I’ve understood it only really seems to work because the model’s Paulo Dybala-esque tattoo balances it out. Do I have to get a tattoo now? Decisions, decisions.

Again, why is there a Fleur-de-lis?

Rating: The Revenant

2020/21 Goalkeeper Home Kit (Image: Liverpool FC)

Wonderful. There is order and chaos and it all just works -- if you want to get pretentious you could say it serves as a metaphor for Liverpool’s ‘keeper himself. White over gold for the accents feels like a choice. There was a chance for something truly special, though leaks of the clubs away kit seem to point to why Nike opted for white over gold.

Rating: The Miracle of Castel di Sangro

Strike drill top

Did you feel that cold chill filter through the air, too? This, my friends, as Ian Brown said, is the one.

Look at it. Bask in its wonder. This is why you get excited about Liverpool signing with Nike. It’s the details. It’s how AXA elevates the piece rather than acts as a burden. It’s the darker patches up by the shoulder. It’s that familiar mesh pattern along the sides. It’s the red lines, like ribbons draped across the arms (is he wearing a cape?). It’s the thumb loops. Man, the thumb loops. *chef’s kiss*

Rating: Every little thing that you say or do, I’m hung up, I’m hung up on you.


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