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Soccer shirts and representation

ORANJEHEMDEN - the Dutch National Team Jersey -
Maaike Gottschal & Uli Schuster
13th of November – 11th of December 2004
at Casco in Utrecht, The Netherlands

Opening Saturday 13th of November at 17:00
with the lecture 'Soccer shirts & Representation'

Over the years the representative function of football jerseys has changed radically. They now seldom merely represent a national or local identity. Due to enormous public attention and the role of football in the media the jersey has proved eminently suitable as a marketing tool. No longer is the expression of (national) identity the determining factor but recognizability and visibility of the sponsors. The project aims to examine the contemporary representation and use of the soccer jersey and is having a close look at the various design elements and stories connected to the shirts.

Now that the 2004 European Cup has passed us and the Dutch football team has made a fresh start with a new coach, the team has undergone a change of identity. But what about the Dutch team's kit? Everyone has something to say about football, but the orange shirt (national tricot) often remains undiscussed. Who determines what the strip looks like and what it stands for?
We have spent the past few months examining the contemporary representations of the football jersey, which will now be presented under the title 'Oranjehemden'. We regard this confusion surrounding the shirt's functions as an opportunity to reassemble the various elements. Can, for example multicultural identity, the total football philosophy, the penalty trauma or a phenomenon like Johan Cruijff inspire a new design proposal? The opening was preceded by the lecture 'Soccer shirts & Representation' in which we provide insight into our research and present a number of shirt sketches to open up a discussion.

The following material about the exhibition is available as pdf's
Invitation: poster A3
Press release: english / dutch
Press: (dutch) Volkskrant / Utrecht's nieuwsblad

The tv program 'Studio Sport' on NOS 2 broadcasted a report on the exhibition.

The lecture 'Soccer shirts & Representation' complements the visual part of the exhibition and invites for a table talk. We provide an insight to our research on the history of the dutch national shirt and show special cases of contemporary jerseys. The shirts represent the identity of clubs and national teams as well as revealing commercial interests and the influence of sport brands. We show our ideas for new shirts which should offer an opportunity for supporters to influence the design during the game, disclose the emotions of the players and reflect multicultural backgrounds of a team.
At the table talk at Casco we welcomed Sander Neijnens, a typographer specialized in shirt numbers and two persons from Nike (a project manager + a designer) have participated.

The KNVB (Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond), the Dutch national football federation invited us to their headquarter in Zeist. Beside presenting the project and exchanging information we got an insight into the archive and stock of the sport kits of the Dutch national team.