Inspired by 90's football shirts which were that bad they were bloody marvellous.
Back in the 90's my mother always found summer holidays a tough gig. I was a restless young lad, bored and full of energy. The only thing that kept me entertained and prevented my mother from killing me were; Saved by The Bell, recorded Football Italia episodes and colouring in.
I call it colouring in, however looking back it was more like designing. I'd spend hours designing football shirts. I'd try and predict what next seasons Premier League shirts would look like, or what a Juventus 4th kit could/ should look like just incase it was needed last minute by the clubs top brass. At the end of the summer my mother would judge which shirt was the winner and she'd then send it off to the club shop for their perusal (at least she said she did). Safe to say none of my designs were ever used, perhaps I was bad at designing football shirts?
Fast forward 20 years and i'm still the same restless (slightly older) young lad wanting to see my own football shirt in production. So a few months back I set Matt, LANX head of design, the task of designing and producing a LANX football shirt. I gave him the below brief...
- A football shirt that can be worn to the footy but also casually out and about
- Design to have a retro vibe, links to the 90's and connections to Lancashire
- Ideally work with a UK based sportswear brand
Matt looked at my design brief, questioned my sanity and asked "Why the fuck are we, a shoe brand, creating a football shirt?" To which I replied "mind your language, good question, fuck it lets give it a go". So we did.
It soon dawned on us that it was all well and good designing a bespoke football shirt but who was going to actually manufacture it? Most Sunday league kits these days are a stock Adidas or Nike kit with a teams crest printed on. Who could make a bespoke football shirt?
After a few days of searching for UK suppliers I stumbled across Ribero Sportswear. Back in the 90's Ribero were one of the big boys in the football kit world. In the first ever Premier League season, way back in 1992-93, Ribero were suppliers to more teams than Adidas and Nike combined. Only Umbro supplied more team kits. How times have changed.
Coventry, Crystal Palace, Norwich and Wimbledon's "The Crazy Gang" all sported Ribero kits back in the day. During the 1991/92 season they also supplied two rival Lancashire clubs, Blackburn Rovers and Burnley FC, the same year they both won league promotions.
I called Ribero and was delighted to hear they were still kicking about and that they were happy to work with us.
I let Matt know we'd found our supplier and that perhaps we should incorporate some of their 90's designs in to our own shirt ideas. Matt dug through the Ribero archives for inspiration and found some unique designs that brought back fond memories of a great era in English football.
Matt identified a couple of key design features we could use from the archive that would allow us to pay homage to the teams that wore Ribero back in the 90's. The first being the wavy torso print used in a Blackburn home shirt and the signature Ribero pattern as sported by Burnley, Norwich and Coventry.
We wanted the shirts to be worn casually, so Matt opted for neutral colours and the thickest shirt material Ribero had available. Matt also created a bespoke 90's inspired collar design with a subtle colour combination of black and anthracite grey.
The shirts come with the Ribero logo and various LANX logos throughout the design. Both the Home & Away shirts have the number 20 on the back, to signify the year they were released (what a great year it has been!).
I'm sure our shirt designs won't be to everyone's taste, however I guess that's what makes football shirts dividers of opinion and great topics of conversation. Personally I'm chuffed with the LANX shirts as they combine everything we set out to achieve, that being; can be worn to the footy but also casually, a retro vibe with links to the 90's, connections to Lancashire and we are proud to be working with a UK based supplier.
The LANX Home & Away football shirts are now on sale and can be viewed here. It is worth noting we have only made 50 shirts in each colour and we won't be making any more. They are limited release, so first come first served.
I hope you like the shirts we have created plus the story and inspiration behind them. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below, on our social media, or feel free to drop me an email.