Kit of the Week #61: A New Wave for Forward Madison

We’ve always celebrated the art form of the football shirt here at Sartorial.Soccer and Forward Madison’s alternate jersey for 2020 perfectly captures the independent, new wave spirit sweeping through the game Stateside.

If you’re prepared to look a couple of rungs down from the uniformity of MLS shirts, you’ll find a wealth of creative flair, with manufacturers like Icarus FC, and clubs like Oakland Roots, Providence City and Minneapolis City doing for American soccer kits what heavy-hopped US-based brewers did for India Pale Ale and the craft beer movement.

At the very forefront of that new wave of expressive lower-league soccer design are Wisconsin based Forward Madison.

Forward Madison’s Christian Diaz models the club’s new alternate shirt

The Flamingos were only founded in May 2018, and play in the 3rd tier of the North American soccer structure, USL League One, but over the past two years, the club has established an increasingly confident identity thanks in no small part to their in-house design team and impressive social media presence.

Their 2020 alternate jersey takes its inspiration from street art and was created by stirring paint in with water and dipping canvas into the colourful concoction.

The swirling waves of blue, pink and navy were then digitally reproduced and transferred to polyester by bespoke football shirt heroes, Hummel.

The design process ditched the laptop in favour of more traditional techniques

As a comparatively new club, free from the shackles of what tradition dictates their kits can and cannot look like, the Flamingos can be far more expressive than longer established teams at home and abroad.

The new kit follows their 2019 alternate jersey, with its vibrant pink plumage pattern that drew plaudits from across the world, and was named by one online media outlet as the “best shirt in world football.”

The Flamingos’ 2019 alternate shirt was a tough act to follow

Cassidy Sepnieski from Forward Madison’s graphic design team told the club’s website;

“We wanted something that people can wear in their everyday lives that’s cooler, more street-culture than what we’ve done in the past.”

“It wears so well on people. It’s something that makes you stop and look.”

Refreshingly, there’s no plain panel on the back of the shirt

Splashes of pink and navy move across the shirt’s blue base colour whilst the club’s crest and logos of Hummel and insurance company sponsors Dairyland complete the kit’s bold look which carries over to the back of the shirt to earn major bonus points.

“I went through probably eight or nine canvasses of attempting that street art style,” she said.

There’s something Stade Français about the overall look of the shirts which also reminds us a little of London club Dulwich Hamlet’s pink and navy blue kits.

“They won’t miss you in that one David.”

The colours will be way too loud for some, but in our eyes, Forward Madison have shown more creativity in one dip of canvas into paint and water than can be seen across this season’s full collection of MLS shirts.

This alternative jersey takes our Kit of the Week gong for now, but don’t be surprised to see this shirt feature prominently when votes are cast for the best football shirts of 2020.

The flamboyant Flamingos’ 2020 alternate kit is available to buy here through Forward Madison’s online store.

All photo credits courtesy of Forward Madison Football Club.

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