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Final version of fan-designed Nike Chelsea Shirtholder’s kit is a hot hot mess

Design by committee fail

There’s a famous saying, often attributed to Sir Alec Issigonis, the designer of the Mini, that “a camel is a horse designed by committee”. To be a true visionary and innovator, you have to trust your own inspiration and instinct. Teamwork is great, but design by committee is not always the best way forward. Too many cooks, etc.

And so it proves once again with Nike unveiling the final design of the “Chelsea Shirtholder’s kit” yesterday on Instagram.


Yes, that is real. As Nike’s Instagram story proudly declares, that design is now going off to production, after which they will charge upwards of $100 for you to buy it.

The design came about thanks to the much hyped “connected” third kit (“NikeConnect”), which basically meant that if you bought that light blue and tiny bit orange number, you could participate in the design of a “Shirtholder’s kit” by voting on various design options given by Nike. While these inherently limited any design to something manufacturable and non-controversial, the final result still manages to be a hot hot mess.

The shirt is supposed to commemorate Chelsea’s Champions League final victory, thus the 19/05 date printed ... on the bottom hem (let’s call it the butt) of the shirt? Because that’s clearly the most logical place to put a commemorative stamp. On your ass. As to where the orange (why?) stripes (why?) come from, or why there’s a half-stripe on the bottom, that’s anyone’s guess.

And that’s it. Orange stripes and a big date-stamp. Chelsea win the Champions League!

Maybe it’ll look better in person? At least it doesn’t have a sponsor (other than Nike, obviously)?

What a wasted opportunity for truly something cool and unique.

NB.: The special champions edition shirt that adidas put out back in the day (with the star above the badge of an otherwise standard 2012-13 home shirt — the gold accent color and the subtle diagonal striping were great already) was miles better than this, despite the silly printing on the back.

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