Adidas has defended Juventus’ controversial home shirt for the 2019-20 campaign, praising them for ‘blazing a trail’ with their new look.
Juve’s decision to do without their traditional, black-and-white stripes and go for two block colours, with a thin pink line running through the middle, has polarised their fan base.
Flames were further fanned when it was alleged the Old Lady had binned the stripes because it reminded Americans of referee uniforms in baseball and American football.
“That’s utter rubbish,” Adidas design director Inigo Turner told ESPN.
“That was never part of the process. It’s fake news, somebody starting stories, click bait, whatever you want to call it.
“We’re really aware [of the reception the shirt is getting]. We prefer when it’s well received.
“Obviously when you do something that’s quite bold, there will be a reaction at least to begin with.
“Sometimes jerseys take a little longer to become a favourite. It could be that the team needs to wear it a little bit and then people will go, ‘Yeah, now I’m really used to it. I really like it.’ Everybody has an opinion.
“We also think that to stay in these traditional shirts all the time would also be a little bit predictable and not push things forward.
“It’s something that we’re compelled to do at Adidas: drive forward the look of football on the field.
“That becomes increasingly difficult with lots of regulations, with number boxes needed and other things.
“If you think back to some of the most iconic shirts in history, those old Man United away shirts, the ‘bruised banana’ Arsenal shirt, all the iconic shirts everyone remembers now... think if we’d had social media back then the reaction would also have been fairly strong. But these are the jerseys everybody loves, the ones that are remembered and held dearly in a lot of people’s affections.”
Despite the jersey going against the grain, pink is one of the Old Lady’s founding colours.
“Pink was one of the very first colours the club wore. The first kits they wore were pink with these black neckties.
“It’s a foundation colour, one of our nods back to an authentic story. While I think we’ve done something very disruptive, we also reference something that’s from the heart and the origins of the club.
“It’s important that we make those historical references and bring those stories into the kits. We’re not educators but we make reference points to a club’s rich history.
“We tend to throw our net quite wide in terms of ideas. I think about when the team lines up in the kit before the game and the camera pans across the team or you get the wide-angle shot.
“What you see are black and white stripes. It’s different thinking. Also behind the goal, if Juve are attacking the goal and you’ve got thousands of people wearing that shirt you have a very different-looking black and white stripes. It’s much bolder.
“They come together in a different way. It’s a very confident statement about bringing everybody together collectively to create the stripes.”
With the Bianconeri also radically changing their badge, Turner believes the shirt is further proof of their ‘progressive’ approach.
“I would say they’re blazing a trail. They want to be number one. They want to lead the industry and they don’t want to do things after someone else has done it because then obviously it looks like you’re somehow following them. They clearly see themselves as a global number one, a big player.
“We want to take the story of Juventus Football Club and lead it into the next era. It’s also sort of about defining a new history as well.
“They’re a very progressive club in terms of how they see their brand and they’re always looking to drive the industry. An inherent part of that is taking risks and doing things first.”
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