Strip! How Football Got Shirty

1988-91 West Germany shirt by AdidasNational Football Museum

Eleven teams. Eleven shirts. Here are just some of our picks that make up our Hipster XI.

1996 England goalkeeper shirt by UmbroNational Football Museum

England (goalkeeper)

Reviled by many at the time, this Euro '96 jersey - featuring an elasticated crew collar, vibrant overlapping panels and garish England motifs - really is a keeper. This style of shirt was worn during the tournament, sported by David Seaman during the Three Lions' penalty shootout defeat against Germany.

The home variant was similarly shocking, but the navy, neon yellow and purple jersey was somehow more conservative than this one.

1994-95 Ajax shirt by UmbroNational Football Museum

AFC Ajax

Total football (shirt design). The now-iconic design and colour combination may not have come about at all, had it not been for a kit clash with Sparta Rotterdam in 1911. NVB regulations stipulated that two teams in the same division could not have the same kit design and colours. The newly-promoted Ajax ditched their red and white stripes, instead opting for the design now synonymous with the club.

On loan from Umbro

1989-90 Sampdoria shirt by KappaNational Football Museum

U.C. Sampdoria

Kappa's unique colourway through the centre of the shirt, as well as the offbeat positioning of the sponsor and crest, helped the Blucerchiati stand out from the Serie A crowd.

Now a classic design, other clubs have attempted to imitate it - particularly the central bands - on their own shirts, but few come close to the original. None are bold enough to place the crest on the arm.

1986-87 Olympique de Marseille shirt by AdidasNational Football Museum

Olympique de Marseille

This American-inspired design, with blue bands on white sleeves, would be an appealing if understated shirt, but the sponsor completely makes the design (or breaks it, depending on your perspective).

Catalogue home sales specialists Maison Bouygues certainly got their money's worth, their logo stretching across the entirety of the jersey. Bouygues' shirt sponsorship only lasted one season, but the blue band design elements remained until 1991.

1999 Mexico Women shirt by GarcisNational Football Museum

Mexico Women

Ahead of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, ABA Sport produced the now-famous Aztec print shirt for the men's side. One year later, little-known Mexican manufacturer Garcis went with a similar theme for the women's jerseys ahead of the Women's World Cup in the US.

However, this subliminal print featured the crest of the Mexican Football Federation at its core. Nor does it feature the red trim, opting instead for more subtle dark green detail.

1990-92 Manchester United shirt by AdidasNational Football Museum

Manchester United

United lifted the 1992 Rumbelows Cup in one of its finest away jerseys. The brash repeating pattern, the subtle red trim and the original Adidas logo make for a true modern classic.

It has proved so timeless that the manufacturer paid subtle homage to the design with their 2017/18 offering, and has been repurposed for Adidas' sportswear fashion ranges in recent years.

On loan from Manchester United Museum

1996 Netherlands shirt by LottoNational Football Museum


Lotto experimented with various patterns on the Netherlands home jerseys - but went a different route ahead of Euro '96. The shirt features a photograph of the Oranje celebrating a goal writ large across the chest.

The traditional red and blue trim is also broken up in unique fashion, with the resulting colour blocks forming miniature Netherlands flags.

1984 Belgium shirt by AdidasNational Football Museum


The argyle pattern across the front, incorporating Belgium's national colours, made this the most desirable jersey of Euro '84. The design is unique, with no other major team - domestic or international - daring to imitate this Red Devils classic.

It has, however, been revisited by Adidas in recent years as part of its Adidas Originals line - a testament to its staying power.

On loan from Jesse Rabbeljee

1991-93 Arsenal shirt by AdidasNational Football Museum


Though this Adidas template featured on a number of shirts, the shocking yellow and black (or really, really dark blue) combination - dubbed the 'bruised banana' - has a special place in the hearts of Gunners fans and shirt aficionados alike.

Despite adopting an entirely different pattern for their latest away shirt, Adidas encouraged comparisons between the 2019 kit and its 1991 predecessor, with the yellow colour evoking memories of the early nineties.

On loan from David Duncan

1988-91 West Germany shirt by AdidasNational Football Museum

West Germany

The art deco look, the stylish gradient, that unique shade of green. What's not to love about West Germany's Italia '90 away shirt? The template - also used by the Netherlands, the USSR and Morocco - still turns heads thirty years on.

The shirt was only ever worn once, but certainly made an impact. It will forever be remembered as the kit worn during the fateful meeting between England and West Germany in the 1990 FIFA World Cup semi-final.

2019-20 Forest Green Rovers shirt by PlayerLayerNational Football Museum

Forest Green Rovers

The world's greenest club demands a similarly eco-friendly jersey. PlayerLayer have created the first ever football shirt made with 50% bamboo mix - and the eye-catching zebra stripe design reflects that link back to nature.

An increasing number of manufacturers are looking to develop sustainable textile production, using ecofriendly materials or entirely removing water from the printing process.

Credits: Story

Strip! How football got shirty examines the very fibres of shirt fashion, design and technology through the ages, from the heavy woollen jerseys of the Victorian era to the heavily branded polyester of today.

Our current exhibition captures the growth of the football shirt phenomenon, charting the replica boom and the bold designs that followed, right through to the high-tech advancements and retro reappraisals.

Learn more about Strip! How Football Got Shirty. Click here to visit our exhibition website.

All images © National Football Museum. Thanks to our lenders; Umbro, David Duncan, Jesse Rabbeljee and Manchester United Museum.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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