Whilst we’re all glued to the European Championships on this side of the Atlantic, those brave souls among us who have stayed-up a little later have been treated to the opening phase of this year’s Copa América from Brazil.
You can always guarantee a riot of colour when South America’s 10 nations come together to compete in the world’s oldest surviving international tournament, but this year’s kits and especially Peru’s 2021 vintage, have been particularly vivid.
Legend has it that the renowned red Peruvian sash, proudly worn across their white shirts since the Berlin Olympics of 1936, was inspired by the bands of multi-coloured material worn by schoolyard footballers to separate one team from another.
That design classic has remained largely untouched ever since and really came to prominence during the World Cup of 1970 when a world watching in brilliant technicolor fell madly in love with those staggering Peru shirts.
This summer, Ecuadorian firm Marathon have twisted that source material, spinning a flash of tribal trickery into La Blanquirroja (The White and Red) fabric.
The streaks of colour that shoot from the hip of these shirts come from the art of the Andes and the Incan Empire seen in traditional Lliklla blankets.
That flash of inspiration brings a little shock of colour, which is perfectly set-off against the traditional sash.
That theme continues to Peru’s navy blue away strip and the colours of their goalkeeping kits in pink.
A fine detail to admire is the jock tag on the back of the neck which reads “Unidos Por Nuestro Colores” with a map of Peru woven from a multicoloured fabric.
Ten years ago, Umbro did something similar as they introduced a colourful insert to the collar of their shirts but nobody could say Marathon are simply polishing off old material.
Marathon have succeeded in bringing something fresh and exciting to an established international favourite, elevating this year’s Copa América kit above Peru’s already high standards.