Or, is it a football shirt?
Either way, when I posted a image of my creation on Twitter Saturday morning it got a positive response. Many folks asked where I purchased it or where they could get one, so I wanted let everyone know that it’s actually custom-made and share how it was created. It wasn’t difficult really, just a matter of sourcing the parts and getting it put together. So, in an effort to inspire others to create their own, here’s how it all happened…
In 2010 I was inspired to create a Cincinnati Reds soccer jersey for myself. I had picked up a couple of national team shirts over the years, including ’07 England, ’07 Germany, and a ’10 USA.
Though you do occasionally see a hockey-style fashion jersey for baseball teams, I figured that nothing like this existed for baseball, much less the Reds. Knowing that I couldn’t design something completely from scratch and have it produced, I figured I would put one together using “off-the-shelf” parts.
I knew I wanted to incorporate the Mr. Redlegs patch seen on the Reds’ home jerseys as a “crest” type emblem. The trick was to get the right jersey, incorporating the correct Reds font used for the numbers, and of course, getting everything pieced together professionally.
Here’s a rundown of the shirt elements and how they came together:
- The base shirt is a Nike Team shirt with a white base and thin red horizontal stripes. This is actually the shirt I had in mind when I started the project and I was able to order it from Nike back in 2010. I looked through a few soccer catalogs to see what other styles were available from other manufacturers at the time, but nothing beat this style for me.
- The Mr. Redlegs patch and NUXY path were both purchased at Koch’s Sporting Goods in downtown Cincinnati. They have a ton of this kind of stuff, including some older patches from the ’88 All Star Game and other goodies.
- Koch’s also provided the numbers for the back of the shirt. We used just the red layer and they are the same size as the ones used on Reds jerseys, Koch’s also sewed everything together for me.
- There was one design element that was eliminated while working with Koch’s on the project. I originally wanted to do a white outline around the numbers on the back. This is identical to the design of the actual Reds jersey numbers, except I was not going to use the black drop shadow. The white would have been a subtle effect, but I think it would have been pretty crisp. We left it out was because the shirt material is very thin and we didn’t know if that much stitching would do damage to the jersey. Koch’s was a little nervous about it, so we decided to just use the red layer. It still came out well. Looking back at it now, it probably would have been okay.
Why 25? I guess that’s “my number.” I wore it playing football in high school and college. Oddly enough, I didn’t wear it playing baseball. A lower number or single digit would probably be a little more soccer-like. 2 would have worked for me as well.
Overall, I wanted to keep it simple. There were other add-ons that I thought of, but any more might ruin what is really working for this design. If I were to do another one, I would likely draw inspiration from the ’70s-era Reds designs, using solid colors and the heavy block font.
Our buddy C. Trent Rosecrans pointed me to designer Mark Willis’ blog where he has explored how MLB team designs would translate to soccer jerseys in a series called Soccer Our of Context. It’s a brilliant concept and you can go through his take on the NL Central right here. Personally, I’d love to see a Reds concept with black dropped from the pallet (as would C. Trent), but it’s still a great concept. The Braun (P&G) sponsorship also is a nice German tie-in to Cincinnati though it may not have been the original intent. Make sure you check it out. C. Trent also mentioned creating a look for the Reds based on Croatia’s current kit. Now, that would be great place to start.
So, if you’re diggin’ the soccer/football style, I encourage you to go out and make your own. I think it was a fun mash-up and certainly something unique. Also, when it gets darn hot out in the summer, the lightweight wicking soccer-style shirts are perfect. If you do make your own, make sure you share it with us. We’d love to see it.