Liverpool today released their new away kit by Warrior for the 2013-2014 season. Any kit released by Warrior is sure to draw attention given the brand’s audacious entry into the soccer market. This new away kit, however, has quickly drawn criticism from Liverpool fans on social media.
New soccer kits generally draw much attention in the summer in anticipation of the new season. Warrior should know this by now, having launched their first soccer uniforms last year for Liverpool FC. In 2012 the feeling was that the home kit was great, the away kit was alright and the third kit (with the tribal arm bands) was just awful.
Warrior got the home kit right again this year. The classic inspired, modern twist, all red with the touch of white in the V neck is pure class. The Liverpool FC home kit 2013-2014 is a great kit. The 2013-2014 away kit is, well, bad! In fact it is God awful. Warrior has taken inspiration from the 1989-1991 Liverpool away kits that featured white shirt with red trim and black shorts. The difference is that they have failed in the modern translation. This has prompted reactions of disgust from Liverpool fans on Facebook and Twitter.
Warrior could use some better designers (I recommend recruiting from SCAD!) and a head of design who is more in tune with European (in fact global) soccer and football tastes. Whoever OK’d this kit has some explaining to do, in my opinion. Why did they let this get through? This is a bad design from a business perspective. As I have argued before, the away kit is supposed to convince fans to part with cash a second time. If rejected by fans as ugly, we can assume sales will not be high. This hurts Warrior, this hurts Liverpool FC. Warrior will weaken their position in any upcoming negotiations with other clubs. Big clubs, if the rumors that they will bid for the Manchester United contract when it expires are to be believed. It hurts the Warrior brand image, and hurts sales of other soccer gear (apparel and cleats).
Warrior are still new to the soccer market, but they have not made the greatest of starts from a design perspective. It is not too late for Warrior to rescue their brand image in the global soccer market. They are a very exciting company with a great business vision and desire to make an impact. Making that impact though, has to happen through their design philosophy.