Fashion and football (or soccer, if you will – if you must) have long been entwined. Although, for decades, that connection had more to do with ostentatious displays of wealth on the part of players than actual, game-day garb. In recent years though, that dynamic has changed; as ever more money enters the beautiful game’s ecosystem, official kits, off-duty fare, limited collaborations, and even tailoring have become the purview of High Fashion houses.
There’s Dior x PSG, FENDI x AS Roma, Moncler x Inter Milan, and Phillip Plein x Atletico Madrid – to name but a handful of the biggest. Some of these make sense on a creative level, others fall squarely in the “we did it because we could” category. Few, though, are as elegant a collaboration as the newly-announced partnership between Wales Bonner and the Jamaican Football Federation.
Born in 1990, Grace Wales Bonner is widely – and by all counts correctly – considered one of the most creative and expressive British designers working today. The recipient of an armful of prestigious awards – LVMH Young Designer, BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, CFDA International Men’s Designer of the Year – it’s not so much her array of accolades that distinguishes Wales Bonner, the artist and the brand, so much as the erudite expression of her work; particularly as it relates to her own Jamaican heritage, Caribbean culture, and its inseparable, often complex connection to Britain and to British History.
To that end, this coming together feels – if not inevitable, per se – at the very least befitting of both parties. Wales Bonner’s understated elegance is played out on adidas’ 100% recycled materials across a collection that includes a Home Jersey, Away Jersey, Pre-Match Jersey, and a reversible Anthem Jacket that acts as a celebratory centerpiece; a invitation to experience and an aesthetic invocation of Jamaican culture.
Combining the depth of Jamaican national colors with Fair Isle patterns, pieces in the kit follow common diasporic themes in Wales Bonner’s work – in this case a commingling of Scottish and Jamaican motifs; a commitment to heritage further explored in the premium crochet cuffs and collar of the Away jersey, succinctly paying homage to Jamaican craftsmanship with a Wales Bonner trope.
The first of several outings in a new, four-year deal between the JFF and adidas – which covers both men’s and women’s teams, dubbed the Reggae Boyz and Reggae Girlz, respectively – Wales Bonner’s sustainable designs make an impactful statement: a suggestion that, rather than the superficial glitz of cursory treatments by global fashion houses, football might now embrace a more thoughtful way forward, both in materials and in meaning.
The adidas x Wales Bonner Jamaica 2023 kit is available now, via the adidas webstore, adidas retail stores, and selected fashion outlets with prices ranging from $65 USD to $110 USD. And, in other sports-related release news, take a look at the Earth-friendly jackets for the 2023 Boston Marathon.