Ralph Lauren Takes Over Copa America!

Luxury brands entering the design of the soccer shirts to convert the Qatar World Cup on a catwalk.

Beatrice Rangel. 13/06/2016

The US has yet to become a worldwide soccer power but it surely is getting there. Indeed its women’s national team seeds terror all over the world with their adventurous takes; groundbreaking orchestration and seamless passes. On the men’s front progress has been more zigzagging but it is finally showing under the expert conduction of Jürgen Klinsmann great advances and promising deliverances for both Copa America which is currently being played in US soil as well as in the upcoming World Cup to be staged in the Middle East.

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USA 1994 National men soccer kit

On the fashion front however the US national team has made waves at the ‘beautiful game’ stages. Beginning in 1994 when according to sports experts it flaunted the ugliest of all ‘soccer jerseys’ while hosting the World Cup. The design labelled by adidas, the German sports outfitter was an all polyester denim imitation with stars splashed all over the shirt and red shorts with white undertones.

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Spain and Italy in the World Cup Football 1994

This was the same year that Italy requested Giorgio Armani to design the ‘Forza Azzurra’ uniform while France placed a similar request to the House of Dior. For ‘Pop Art’ fans the design was awesome. For the rest of the world including members of the US team it simply was dreadful. Debate over its style however jam-packed news about the World Cup and fashion magazines thereby guaranteeing airwaves and printed space to the US National selection which never made it to the finals.

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USA 2016 National men soccer kits

Thereafter the US Major Soccer League decided to play it prudently and went back to classics. Nike was called to the rescue. Nike changed the color palette to truly reflect the US flag colors. Adidas had used a fading denim blue. That shade of blue looked murky at best and was hopelessly incorrect. The wide Horizontal read stripe at the center was also elegant and differentiating. Definitively a fashion statement!!

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USA 2000 National men soccer kit (Photo: US Soccer)

By 2000 blandness seems to be the distinctive character of the soccer jerseys. They looked more like a Lacoste T-shirt than a national selection outfit. Nothing that wouldstand out in a crowd either for boldness or elegance. By 2006, as the team became more effective in the field the uniform design turned into a true head turner.

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USA 2006 National men soccer kit

Against a red backdrop stood a gorgeous diagonal wide stripe in white and blue that made our players stand out in the inaugural parade for the Copa America. This was to succumb to a more conservative design that did away with our national colors in favor a burgundy red to impress the public at the South Africa World Cup.

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USA 2010National men soccer kit

Where the team performance was highly praised by every soccer fan while punished by the arbiters who went along to annul legitimately scored goals and to exact inexistent penalties. The US boys however were selected kings of style over their European peers!!

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USA 2016 National men soccer kit

By march this year Nike unveiled the new soccer jerseys under the creative design of Ralph Lauren. The style resembling his signature Polo creation can and will compete in elegance with those designed by Giorgio Armani who has frequently collaborated with the soccer world. Armani is famous for his elegant and distinguished suits, which work with the images many football teams are trying to portray. Chelsea, for instance has hired Dolce and Gabbana. All this in preparation for the Qatar World Cup where fashion will certainly reign!!!

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