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Football fashionistas: The best kits of 2020/21

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The 2020/21 season already feels like a vintage campaign as far as football kits are concerned. While the past decade has at times been dominated by templated football shirts which lack originality, there has been a notable shift this summer and bespoke offerings are increasingly becoming the norm.

A combination of new players on the scene and established brands upping their game has resulted in some wonderfully eye-catching strips that could make 2020/21 the most stylish season to date…

Manchester City (Home)

The Citizens’ ‘mosaic’ shirt is inspired by Manchester’s ‘melting pot’ culture, with the pattern intended to reflect how the city brings together “art, industry, music, fashion, noise and colour.” Whether it achieves that is perhaps up for debate, but it certainly looks fantastic.

The irregular tile pattern with white outlines is original and distinct, while the consistency of the design across the chest and sleeves adds to the overall appeal. Fans of retro kits will perhaps draw comparisons with England’s third kit in 1990 and the shirt Paul Gasciogne wore for Lazio in 1992/93 – manufacturers Puma will be hoping this Manchester City strip is remembered as fondly in 30 years’ time.

Ajax (Away)

Ajax have a history of great kits. Aside from their iconic red and white home shirts, the Dutch side have been particularly creative with their away strips over the years. De Godenzonen’s 1994/95 navy kit with a red pattern from Umbro is fondly remembered after it was worn by Louis van Gaal’s men in the UEFA Champions League final that year, while their mind-bending blue, white and red ‘triangles’ shirt from 1989/90 shirt is certainly worthy of attention.

The club’s high standards have undoubtedly been maintained with this year’s effort – Ajax’s latest away shirt is a combination of two shades of blue in both diagonal and vertical stripes, with an all-white club badge outlined onto a red background. Add in the red and white collar and this kit has it all. Football attire doesn’t get much better.

Juventus (Home)

After sticking with traditional black and white stripes for years on end, Juventus have certainly been bolder with their kit choices in recent seasons. The Old Lady caused uproar when they ditched their traditional badge for a more modern logo back in 2017 and rocked the boat once again with their half and half shirt in 2018/19.

While not quite as dramatic, the 2020/21 edition straddles the boundary between tradition and innovation perfectly. White is the dominant colour, with black ‘brushstroke’ stripes and a gold sponsor, badge and Adidas logo. Combined with white and gold socks and shorts, this is Juventus’ best kit in years. But if you’re after something even more eye-catching then their third kit may be more up your street – an orange and black shirt with a sensationally artistic look.

Everton (Away)

Mention Hummel to any fan of retro football gear and their face will light up. The brand’s famous chevrons are synonymous with some great kits from the 1980s, like Tottenham Hotspur’s 1986/87 shirt or Denmark’s famous ‘Danish Dynamite’ strip from 1986-88.

Hummel faded into relative obscurity over the years that followed, but they’re back in a big way and making outstanding bespoke kits for teams up and down the football pyramid this season. Southend United’s home and away kits for 2021/22 are among the best the company have produced in recent months, but their pièce de résistance is Everton’s away shirt. What it lacks in creativity it makes up for with elegant simplicity – a beautiful shade of amber combining perfectly with dark blue trimmings. This is Hummel at their best.

Forest Green Rovers (Away)

This season’s most impressive kits aren’t reserved for football’s elite clubs, with eco-pioneers Forest Green Rovers coming up with one of 2020/21’s most intriguing efforts. The Gloucestershire-based side are famous for their focus on green energy and sustainability; all the food they serve is vegan and they’re hoping to build a new stadium entirely out of wood in the coming years.

Their zebra print away shirt from PlayerLayer sees the club break the mould once again, with the kit’s material made from 50% bamboo in an attempt to reduce their reliance on plastic. Rovers’ conservation partner Sea Shepherd have their logo pride of place on the shirt’s back too, while the black and white pattern is a nod to the team’s colours before they moved to a green and black home strip in 2012. There’s an awful lot to like about this kit, beyond simply the aesthetic appeal.

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