Designers Wanted: Y-3 x Japan and Other Potential Fashion Label x National Team Collabs We’d Love to See

With the sublime Y-3 Japan kits recently revealed, we take a look at a handful of other potential designer-national team collaborations that we’d love to see in the future. 

Yohji Yamamoto, one of the most illustrious designers in the last 40 or so odd years, has once again blessed the world of football with his creative eye, this time teaming up with his home nation Japan to create a new collection under the Y-3 label.

The partnership between the designer and adidas has dipped into the football world a handful of times in the past, most notably with Real Madrid, but this is its first foray into the international game, and there’s no better place to start than Japan.

y3 japan

y3 japan

y3 japan

Just like the previous Y-3 football kits, the Samurai Blue collection is designed with the intention to work just as well on the field as it does off of it. When worn with other pieces in the collection, such as the beautiful satin bomber jacket, the kit seamlessly slots in; this is rare for modern football kits. Additionally, the designs and motifs on the kit carry over to more high-fashion iterations, like the knit sweater that mirrors the white away kit.

While it is rare for a club or brand to collaborate with designers to make on-field collections, a select few alongside Yamamoto, have bridged the gap between football and fashion.

france karl lagerfeld

Legendary German designer Karl Lagerfeld helped create France’s sailor-inspired away kit in 2011, a piece that’s still sought after over a decade later. The simplicity and elegance is what made this kit so well received, and it helped strengthen Les Bleus’ seemingly inseparable connection to the world of fashion.

Staying in France but moving to the club game, one of the most successful and most notable football-fashion on-pitch crossover is with PSG and Air Jordan. While not quite high fashion, Jordan Brand has established itself at the top of sportswear, and its roots in basketball made the partnership quite novel.

psg air jordan kits

The two brightest stars on PSG, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, were among Nike’s flagship football athletes at the time, which made the partnership a match in marketing heaven. The simple design of the debut kits were refined and perfectly fitting for football’s most fashionable team. While the partnership hasn’t quite captured the magic of its debut, it’s still going strong and we’ve seen a handful of fantastic jerseys, sneakers, and apparel thanks to it.

But not all collaborations between designers and football clubs fully hit the mark. Heading to Italy, we saw a pair of recent fashion-football collections that opted for less elegant and more garish designs.

napoli marcelo burlon

napoli marcelo burlon

Napoli has grown a reputation for experimenting with its kit designs, and perhaps nothing was more ambitious than its dalliance with Italian designer Marcelo Burlon.

Featuring the designer’s trademark feathered graphic, the jerseys were draped in striking colors that were well received at the time, but haven’t quite had a lasting impact since they dropped in 2021.

ac milan nemen

AC Milan dropped a shirt with Italian brand Nemen for the 2022-23 season, which was widely despised by fans and kit collectors alike. The biggest criticism towards the shirt was that it was erasing Milan’s history, which struck particularly close to home as many fans felt that their club has fallen into neglectful hands, erasing the culture and turning it into a purely commercial enterprise compared to the club that used to be so highly regarded.

Taking this information from the past and looking towards the future, who are some designers that would make sense at national teams around the world? Well, we have a few ideas.

United States x KidSuper Studios

kid super

We all know that the United States national teams have some of the best-dressed players in the game. The men’s side has Timothy Weah, Mark McKenzie, and Chris Richards, and the women’s side has Trinity Rodman, Jaedyn Shaw, and Croix Bethune. Needless to say, the U.S. program knows how to dress.

So, why not pair them with the preeminent American designer KidSuper? He’s already demonstrated a love for football when he dressed Ronaldinho, and the rest of the world is taking note as he took the reigns at Louis Vuitton for an interim stint while the fashion house searched for a new creative director. From a marketing standpoint, it puts the U.S. program at the forefront, and having the coolest on-field kits is a valuable tool when recruiting dual-nationals.

Italy x Armani

italy armani

Between Milan Fashion Week, the multitude of high fashion houses that call the country home, and the overall sartorial aptitude of its citizens, Italy has become known as a welcoming haven for fashion.

The Italian national team has had a suit partnership with Armani since 2019, and while the label is most known for its high end suits, it has also supplied 2022-23 Serie A champs Napoli over the past few seasons.

EA7 has notoriously experimented with its designs for Napoli, but for Italy, something smart and simple, with luxurious details could make for one of the most obvious pairings in the international game.

Sweden x Acne Studios

acne studios soccer

Acne Studios is one of, if not the coolest, brand to come out of Sweden. The label breathes effortless style, but that might just be something that is in the water in Stockholm.

Club side AIK Stockholm may not be the biggest team in the world, but kit aficionados know that the team releases some of the best uniforms year over year. And while Sweden’s kits have been ho-hum over the years, a partnership with Acne could inject the team with the effortless cool that AIK has become known for.

South Korea x AMBUSH

nike x ambush

If you have been around fashion, you know that Japan and South Korea have some of the best designers in the world. The style has spread to each nation’s respective national team as well. And while Japan has adidas as its supplier, South Korea has been with arch rival Nike for nearly 30 years.

So to keep up with the Y-3 and Japan collaboration, Nike could reach out to AMBUSH to create something for South Korea. The two have worked together in the past, and AMBUSH founder Yoon Ahn has Korean roots, although she currently resides in Tokyo.

South Korea already has some of the best kits in the world, so it is unlikely that they need help, but it would be pretty cool to see brands get into a fashion arms race against their rivals. It would certainly break up the homogeneity of kit designs in the world.

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