What to expect from adidas and Jamaica’s new partnership: Kit design, potential collaborations and more
To kick off the year, adidas and the Jamaica Football Federation officially announced their new partnership. The deal marks the end of Umbro’s relationship with the team, and is the first time that adidas have worked with Jamaica. The German sportswear brand initially teased the partnership back in August, and since then, anticipation has been growing through speculation, leaks and rumoured first looks.
Whatever those rumours and kit concepts hinted at, it isn’t long until adidas and Jamaica launch their first collaboration into the world. The first kits are due to be released at the end of this month, and more are to follow for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, the 2024 Summer Olympics, and Jamaica’s attempt to reach the World Cup for just the second time in their history.
When the deal was announced, the Jamaica Football Federation revealed that the partnership would “not only celebrate Jamaican football but also Jamaican style and culture.” With that tidbit of information, the federation hinted at the possibility of a lifestyle-focused element to the partnership, leading to speculation of potential collaborations and special releases in the future.
adidas has already shown that it is willing to go down this route with other national federations and club teams. The brand’s 2022 World Cup preparations included a special Japan pre-match kit and collection by legendary designer Nigo – the man behind BAPE, Human Made and, since 2021, Kenzo – while adidas’ top-tier club teams have all collaborated with Pharrell Williams in the past. Arguably the clearest template of adidas’ vision for the Reggae Boyz might be Arsenal, who even debuted a Jamaica-inspired pre-match jersey at last year’s Notting Hill Carnival.
Ever since Arsenal and adidas began working together in 2019, the club and the brand have released a series of fashion-forward collections – both on and off the pitch – while also celebrating Arsenal’s rich archive and its role in the community. Previously adored cult kits, like the world-famous Bruised Banana design, have been updated for the modern age, while sneakers, big-name collaborators and retro-inspired collections have all been released alongside the North London club.
This could be the perfect playbook for the new adidas and Jamaica partnership. As well as celebrating Jamaican style and culture, this could also allow for the revival of some of Jamaica’s best-ever kits. A good place to start would be 1998’s Kappa-designed shirt, worn at the country’s first-ever World Cup appearance – which included a historic win against Japan – and still a cult icon for its thick black collar and abstract green pattern.
Over the years, Jamaica has often incorporated bright graphics made up of the country’s gold, black and green colours. More recently, though, there’s been a preference towards an all-gold home shirt with the patterns of old confined to the past. As part of their mission to celebrate “Jamaican style and culture,” adidas could do a lot worse than embrace a more adventurous design for the home kits. This would bring Jamaica’s kits in line with international football trends, as progressive designs are utilised for countries around the world. Just think of Nigeria’s Nike kit in 2018 or the 2022 World Cup designs for Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Mexico. Finally, kits are allowed to be fun again.
Jamaica’s away kits have been much better in recent years, with stand-outs including 2021/22’s bark-inspired design – a nod to the tropical flora on the island – and the 2018/19 shirt that drew on the country’s energy and culture. adidas have got a lot to build on in terms of the Reggae Boyz’ away kits.
Whatever direction adidas and Jamaica go in with their kit, the first design is already building hype up as one of 2023’s biggest shirt releases. Maybe adidas will follow the ideas laid out in their Arsenal training shirt, perhaps the brand will go closer to Ajax’s “Three Little Birds” shirt – released in honour of the song by Jamaica’s very own Bob Marley – or maybe it will all be about something entirely different. Either way, there isn’t long to wait.