This is annoying. The new “Back in Black” kit seems to have been found, and again seems like a missed opportunity.
Fulham have been selling this year’s kit at a discount for a large part of the season. This is presumably because sales have been slow.
They shouldn’t have been, the kit being a nice classic white with a black v-neck. It should have been a top seller.
But it wasn’t because of certain fundamental issues:
Sizing: nobody knows what size to buy. Vague ideas about it being ‘tight’ and therefore “aim a size higher” is no use to people these days. If you buy a football shirt and it’s too tight it’s no use to you. If you were going to get the shirt printed then you need to get the size right. Rule 1, then: make shirts in sizes people will be able to understand.
Fit: most of us aren’t all that up for skin tight clothing. So if you make your kit like this, don’t expect fans to buy it in vast numbers. This is not unrelated to point one, in that people will then think “hmmm, I don’t want a skin-tight shirt. Should I get a size bigger? Does that mean two sizes bigger then, or just one? Oh, feck it, I’ll leave it.” Rule 2: sell shirts in sizes people will want to wear.
Design: While the home shirt this year was pretty nice, it also looked quite cheap. This is partly the red of the sponsor’s logo, so prominently placed, and partly I think the Kappa people on the shoulders. Also the fabric, which felt cheap, too. The away shirt was in some ways bold, in others a poor choice. The graphite looks good, but they’ve managed to lose the good of that with a strange red pattern. The third shirt divides people, but again seems to me like a good(ish) idea badly executed. In the past a number of clubs have offered fans three designs to choose from, and the popular vote has dictated choice. Having suffered (we assume) such poor sales this time around I’m quite surprised the club haven’t gone down this road for the 11/12 season. Doing this market research would – one would assume – get a shirt the fans like most, and – one would assume – then result in higher sales. To blunder on with a “we’re designers, we know best approach” leads you into the same position we’re in now: shirts people don’t want to buy.
Which brings us to the “Back in Black” shirt. I like the concept, I hate the design. The skin tight material looks like a wetsuit, the high neck looks like I don’t know what, a sporting undershirt I guess, the red Kappa people on the shoulders look weird, and as for the stitching on the front…. what on earth is that about? It looks like some kind of underwiring.
It might look genuinely excellent in real life (this is actually quite a big “but” – the players might look tremendous in this, in which case fair enough), but again it seems to be a decent idea carried out badly. One only has to look at the simple designs John Cummins puts up on Friends of Fulham to see how well these things can be done, but sadly Fulham seem set on releasing shirts that are mad, bad and dangerous to own. A simple black shirt could have been a winner, but again, it looks like a missed opportunity.