Friday, June 20, 2014

Review of Pro Ultimate Team Jerseys (2014)

The idea of a jersey critique has been tossed around ever since the 2013 season of logo reviews, so SLUDGE is thrilled to welcome Eli Neugeboren (@enoogs) for his take on the 2014 pro Ultimate jerseys.


From Eli:
In most professional sports leagues there are very strict rules in place regarding uniform design. These rules are in place to create a cohesive and unified look and feel from team to team. Creative Review recently posted an article outlining how stringent the requirements are for designing a kit for the world cup, highlighting how each pre-approved element on the kit must be within certain height and width parameters, and placed in specific relation to other elements.

Ultimate Frisbee has, historically, been played in a tee-shirt and shorts. The shorts may be long, or they may be short, the tee shirts might be form-fitting or they might be baggy. Sometimes the shirt is tucked in and, more often than not, it is left to flow freely around the waist of the players. Some folks, both male and female, favor playing in a skirt, and some folks like to rock a tank top, but there is not, generally, too much variation on the theme of tees and shorts.

For the last fifteen years or so there have been a number of home-grown clothing brands making ultimate gear - made by and for ultimate players - from Gaia, to VC Ultimate (now VCS Ultimate), to Five, and a number of other grassroots brands taking a chance at building a business on this game.

The AUDL has partnered with VC Ultimate, and the MLU with Puma, to create the official 2014 uniforms for professional ultimate frisbee. The VC designs take advantage of using dye-sublimation to create dynamic full-jersey designs, while the MLU have been giving what the official press-release called "exclusive" jersey designs, but with a cursory search are revealed to be soccer shirts favored by rec leagues and high school teams. The MLU also seems to want their uniforms to look more like EPL kits, with tiny team badges.

The MLU designs definitely look more cohesive from team to team, but the shirts themselves look like what they are - cheaper jerseys for a rec league team. I think it is excellent that the league has partnered with a major international clothier, but the shirts they ended up with feel like throwaways for this company, and not a serious commitment on the part of Puma to develop gear for the sport.

VC, on the other hand, has only ever developed gear for this sport, and over the past decade-plus, have developed their gear in an uncomplicated way to focus on comfort for the wearer, and dynamic designs for the viewer. The sublimation technology allows them to print a design covering the entire jersey and shorts in a way that no other professional team is adorned. The problem with this approach is that there is no cohesion from team to team other than the cut of the shirt and shorts.


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