The new season is coming, and with it, new jerseys. Each year, they arouse aesthetic and financial interest. How are they chosen? Focus on the flagship product of French stadiums.

We are starting a new era, more and more teams will be calling on designers for their jerseys, as Real Madrid is already doing with Yohji Yamamoto," said Pascal Monfort, president of Nutmeg.

Pont, in English), a consulting agency in fashion and sports strategy. The creators of big houses no longer hesitate to collaborate with sportswear brands. The latest one: Nike with Olivier Rousteing (Balmain).

How Are New Soccer Jerseys Chosen?

Since the arrival of the Qataris at PSG, the official costumes of the players have also gone upmarket: Berluti, or Hugo Boss. ” Formerly football players were snubbed by fashion, but it has changed, especially with David Beckham” he adds. Fashion invades the field, and all the clubs are getting ready to make the new jersey. A collaborative work between the club and the equipment manufacturer.

“The equipment manufacturers are a force of proposal, then a dialogue is established between the representatives of the club accompanied by a cell merchandising and commercial,” explains Ludovic Lestrelin, the lecturer at the University of Caen and specialized in sociology of football.

Everyone has their own method. In Saint-Etienne for example, the designers and product managers of Coq Sportif, the equipment manufacturer, present models upstream. ” We propose one or two prototypes of jerseys before discussing them together … We do not impose anything, it is by agreement,” said Jean-Philippe Sionneau, communication manager at Le Coq Sportif. On the club side, ” what interests us is that the jersey reflects our identity with the color green,” says Philippe Lyonnet, director of communication at AS Saint-Etienne, but he must also answer two questions: the jersey will please, is it useful for the players? “The Etienne jerseys are tested by the footballers themselves during closed sessions. “They check if they are correct and report any problems,” adds Jean-Philippe Sionneau. Because even if the fans buy it, the jersey is above all the blue of work of the footballer.

The Detail That Makes The Difference

In Guingamp, on the other hand, the opinion of the players is not asked. “They discover the jersey the day before or the morning of their presentation to the press.The materials and cuts are studied and tested upstream to meet the requirements of professional players, ” says Gael Garcia Lachat, manager at the equipment manufacturer Patrick for France. It operates in a small committee. ” I work with a designer who will make visuals from the ideas of the club,” he continues. Generally, smaller clubs have the last word. For older children, it’s the opposite. “The more it is renowned and the greater the commercial strength, the more the equipment manufacturer has the power of negotiations,” said sociologist Ludovic Lestrelin.

Color schemes, stripes, scapulars (the V-shape on the front of the jersey), clubs try to find a balance between traditional codes and innovation. ” There is a tension between modernity and the history of the club,” says Ludovic Lestrelin. For the equipment manufacturers, most of the work is the first jersey, the one used by home players. ” They play on the design or an element of detail” to make it evolve slightly, says the sociologist. The trend this year is the collar. The new jerseys of AS Saint-Etienne are wearing a polo shirt, while those of Guingamp and Rennes wear a button-down collar.

For outer jerseys and third jerseys (cup matches), the place to originality. The equipment manufacturers do not hesitate to play with colors or patterns. But if the club goes too far, the fans react to the quarter turn. ” There can be forms of tension and major resistance, even boycotts, stresses Ludovic Lestrelin because the jersey is an object of identification, it is part of the heritage of the club.” The Girondins de Bordeaux caused a media uproar in May. In question? Their third jersey: a patchwork of monuments of the city on a blue, pink and purple background. ” Surprising,” according to the Team, ” awful” for RMC Sport, or ” scandalous” according to the tabloid The Daily Mirror. But yet, people buy it. 48% of third jerseys were sold by Bordeaux last season against 32% of home jerseys.

Accessible To Everyone

“The professional clubs are in a strong marketing logic, they want to make an impression by unveiling each year a new jersey,” says sociologist Ludovic Australian. And for a good reason, it pays. The jerseys generated 1.2 million euros in the 2013-2014 season, according to the latest figures from the Repucom research institute. In all major European leagues, sales grew by 15% between 2011 and 2013. ” This is a significant market for major football clubs, especially for PSG in France,” says the sociologist.

With sports results worthy of a great European club, Paris Saint-Germain even offers the services of fashion professionals, like Pascal Monfort. “We do not live in a time when we buy a single shirt, and we put it for five years, we are in a logic closer to fashion,” he says. Because the football shirt has become a fashion object. It is no longer for sports; it is a ready-to-wear clothing accessible to all. ” This summer is the piece to wear!” Continues Monfort, who opened the Galerie du Ballon, a lifestyle boutique in Paris to customize them.

“We are forced to produce jerseys more and more trend because today the public wants to wear it outside the stadium,” says Gael Garcia Lachat, manager at Patrick.

And the people are doing it too. At PSG, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid attended last October, in Fashion Week, classic PSG-OM with the third jersey of the Paris team: a black and sober clothing, considered elegant by the magazine GQ. The sweater is even rolled up to become a real crop top.

What Is The Most Beautiful?

Just like the most beautiful dresses of the Cannes festival, the football jersey is the subject of classifications. The best-rated are those that combine ” harmony, sobriety, good choice of colors, and cut,” said Bérénice Marmonier, the journalist at the Sport & Style Team. The presence of sponsors is also scrutinized. The more numerous and imposing they are, the more they “spoil” the garment. Nevertheless, ” it is Nike that dominates the market regarding trend and aesthetics,” says the journalist. The big brands inspire the smallest manufacturers. A snowball effect that is not ready to stop and which has repercussions on the clubs of lower division, even amateurs.