A football kit is seen as an embodiment of the club or country that it represents. The colours, the patterns, the badge, the symbols, all of these are tied in with the history and tradition of the institution they’re associated with; and because of these, they’re held in very high regard by the fans. A fan wearing their club’s jersey and cheering them on in the stadium is the closest they can get to feeling a part of the team itself.
Recently Andrew Dolan, a product manager at Adidas revealed the process of designing, manufacturing, and selling football kits is an intensive one and it can take up to 20 months to complete.
Dolan explained that there are three main steps in the process of creating a desirable kit – designing, manufacturing, and launch. Designing starts more than a year before the season it is supposed to be for. The brands are in constant contact with club officials and fans alike to get their inputs in design for inspiration. A kit should be comfortable, handsome, and attractive. Designing the kit is followed by testing and making improvements if necessary.
Once this has been completed, the next step is producing the kits, which can begin as early as the start of the calendar year. There’s a lot of work involved between finalizing a design and getting it to manufacturing. The factories, which are mostly in Asia, have to source raw materials and make the production process seamless to produce an adequate quantity. The kits are then produced and sent to dealers and stores all around the world.
The final step is launching the kit. There is a lot more involved in this than simply announcing the launch and letting people know that it’s on sale. To make a profit, brands have to generate hype and maximize the number of people the news reaches. There’s been a growing trend recently of creating elaborate launch videos & even events where they invite celebrities to launch the kit and get it trending. A recent example of this would be the aforementioned Ajax third kit, whose launch came with a 70’s style video of fans donning the kit, and “Three Little Birds” playing in the background. This proved to be a masterstroke and football fans bought the kit in droves, so much so that the kit is now sold out and won’t be back in stock until January.