It’s not news that soccer kits have become an exciting site for sartorial flexing, particularly over the last few years. I’ve previously chatted with the prolific soccer designer and art director Matthew Wolff about this very trend, as he was part of the Nike team that developed the famed 2018 Nigerian National Team World Cup kits, and has recently had his hand in a few flamboyant jersey designs for teams in the NWSL. It’s been a welcomed shift in the sports design landscape to see franchises, clubs, and countries bucking sterile tradition to instead embrace unique and eye-catching designs that push beyond what’s been established.
Getting in on the soccer fashion action and ultimately setting a new bar for the look and feel of a soccer kit, is the Japan National Football Team in partnership with Adidas and designer NIGO. Last week the trio unveiled a 2022 World Cup Special Collection that will be worn by the Japanese National Team during their pre-game warm-ups in Qatar next month.
We’ve already analyzed other 2022 World Cup jerseys designed by Puma and Adidas for various countries playing in the tournament, but not even Mexico’s away jersey can compete with what NIGO dreamed up for this Special Collection. As the artistic director for the fashion line KENZO and the designer behind the Tokyo-based lifestyle brand Human Made, it’s unsurprising NIGO would create something stunning, but even he has outdone himself with this range.
Inspired by Japan’s national flower, cherry blossoms, and the traditional Japanese confection sakuramochi, the 12-piece collection features a dusty light pink and soft green colorway—specifically Wonder Mauve and Crew Green. This lovely color palette is used across jerseys, T-shirts, shorts, tracksuits, and sports accessories that comprise the collection. Each product is also embellished with a heart-shaped cherry blossom icon as well as the Adidas and Japanese Football Association logos. The Special Collection jerseys have “22” on the back as a nod to the year of the tournament, and the OGIN signature on the inside of the collar. The Special Collection is made using 100% recycled polyester as part of Adidas’ ongoing mission to help end plastic waste.
For those chomping at the bit to get their hands on these kits, you can order them now on the Adidas CONFIRMED app, or you’ll have to wait until they’re officially available for purchase on the Adidas website starting October 28.