A soccer jersey is a cultural symbol for many people around the world. Though we in the United States are not at that level or even close to it, I believe it is important to highlight how the past weeks have reminded us about fashion’s potential to bridge this cultural gap.
The latest example of this is provided by none other than Ronnie Fieg’s KITH x adidas soccer Chapter 3 collection. As a US Soccer fan, the collection is something I can appreciate for more than just its emotional significance. Indeed, the real value of this collection is in the voids it addresses for me specifically, and the very direct and simple way it goes about doing this.
I know I am not the only one who feels as though the latest US Soccer kits and apparel have lacked just a little something special. My pickups of recent releases have in fact been much more done out of mere loyalty to the team as opposed to general excitement of what I am looking at or a desire to show that around. It is simply what’s there, however, no one can disagree when I say that we deserve a lot more.
The KITH collection is something US Soccer should take a closer look at. Despite Ronnie Fieg not being a soccer expert or passionate fan at that, it is clear he may very well have a better understanding of exactly what is required to take soccer to the next level here in this country. Simply put, Fieg knows that to keep people engaged with the sport and to bring newcomers into the fold, the apparel just has to look good.
The collection has obviously got my attention, but rather than talking about the collection as a whole, I have decided to focus on the few pieces that offer the most food for thought.
The best thing about this collection is the era it references. The KITH Cobras jersey seen above is perhaps the most representative of this 90’s aesthetic as it reinterprets the famous USA denim kit with its allover star print. The jersey offers that instant emotional connection and provides enough reason for US Soccer to also look at this era for its own design inspiration.
KITH’s flag-inspired windbreaker is another important piece. Admittedly, stars and stripes are a caricature look of any American, but at least it is more exciting than the current jersey or monotone training or presentation jackets as they are called that Nike has offered for the US team. At the very least a jacket like this needs to be offered as a lifestyle piece.
Meanwhile, the goalie jersey and KITH Cobras shorts underline the importance of a soccer collection being fashion-forward in every aspect. Considering both goalie jerseys and soccer shorts have long been seen as afterthoughts, this collection presents these items as standalone pieces made unique either by reinterpreting retro designs or adding other necessary embellishments.
The last pieces which include a uniform set and two tracksuit jackets may be the most telling of all. On a big picture level, the pieces highlight the range of this collection as you go from shimmery in your face gold shorts to more paired down white and black tracksuits. At the same time, the items spark a discussion on branding and how much more unique a collection can look when you pair your customary palette with a bright, but still the complementary touch of color. The monochrome gold badges and branding are a big hit with me none more so than on the on the white tracksuit jacket which includes an enlarged Kith logo inspired by the old US Soccer logo on the back. Enlarged branding, whether it be team or sponsor-related, is something I consider a distinct soccer look and I am glad to see it here.
This along with the rest of the unique features I have highlighted provide the foundation for US Soccer to finally deliver a soccer collection unlike any other. A more fashion-forward collection would regain the momentum lost by the failure to qualify for this year’s World Cup and begin a movement that would see soccer and US Soccer specifically as more of a cultural force by the time 2026 rolls around.