Footy jumpers are my favourite thing. As my brother says, they’re the main reason why I like the game.
I’ve written on here about the history of the St Kilda jumper, an update to that history, about the Butterss board rigging the clash jumper poll which gave us the infamous faded apron design, and yearly takes on the designs. I’ve also plugged the wonderful footyjumpers.com many times, including in this sentence.
So it’s big a deal for me when the Saints reveal any change to the jumper whatsoever, and it’s that time of day again where I’m keen on discussing the St Kilda jumper at length.
The club announced the 140-year heritage jumper a few weeks back, which for me could only have been topped if there wasn’t text on it, or it was revealed that a red, yellow and black design was to be used as a clash. The text on this heritage jumper features the names of every St Kilda player to have played, which is a nice touch but aesthetically it puts it in the bracket of the sugar-daddy jumpers so many clubs (including the Saints) have worn in recent years. As a jumper alone, I think it looks sensational; hopefully the text doesn’t fade the colours out too much because in theory the design is incredibly bold.
Then in the past week or so GoodScore leaked the 2013 designs. The ideas behind the jumpers are effectively the same as the past season, with the clash being improved exponentially by the fact that the horizontal stripe of the cross is now the same width as the vertical; inexplicably that wasn’t the case in 2012. This change makes the cross image and design overall much bolder and much more consistent with the traditional tri-panel design, effectively completing the evolution of the idea that began in 2011 with the “vague-cross” design. It also utilises the brilliant cross symbol to great effect, something which the club hasn’t done enough of considering how strong and unique it is.
Interestingly, ISC has altered its template, which I and many others (i.e. some others on the Footy Jumpers Graphic Design Board at BigFooty) thought was the best in the competition due to its simplicity and boldness (there’s a variation of that word again). Up until this past season, it was revered for it’s solid collar that was consistent all the way around the neck (as seen in the heritage jumper promo shot with Lenny), and the incredibly low impact the stitching and branding was on the designs of the jumpers.
The most striking change is the introduction of shoulder panels, which indeed impact on the jumper designs. On the clash jumper these panels are white, and could work either way – it might make the players look broader-shouldered or as if the jumpers are a bit too small for them. Likewise the home jumper, which has only changed due to the template, which has black panels, making the overall feel even darker since the black collar and cuffs were brought in in 2011.
The collar has changed too to a more finicky design. Whilst I don’t like the collar itself (going from the images) it’s ultimately moot on the clash jumper (which remains white) and if anything it might benefit the home jumper a little. On the home jumper, the white panel now goes all the way to the top, offsetting a little the black shoulder panels and the shortening effect they might have. The players could well seem a bit taller now (or at least more in proportion), and hopefully the black cuffs make the players look broader-shouldered from both the front and back now there there is solid black across both. For those who like omens, it’s the closest design we’ve had to the jumper worn in 1966.
I’ve always thought the tri-panel design would be best with the black cuffs and a white collar, and this is the closest I get to that. I’d also love to see the white panel broadened so all three are again the same dimensions, and the huge stylised to return too (although Greg “Right” Westaway pointed out at the 2011 AGM that the AFL had imposed rules on club logos appearances on jumpers). I’m still a sucker to the idea (which no-one of importance has) that a variation of the 2009 black training jumper with black shorts and black socks (with white and red tops) would look incredibly mean as a home uniform.
As for the clash, I’d have the 2013 version almost as the best one yet if it wasn’t for the template change effecting the design, although I’m open to changing my mind when I see it on the field. Until then, the mantle is still held by the candy-stripe jumper of 2004-06, which was not only a brilliant design but effective as a clash (more so in 2004-05 with more white on the back) and had historical relevance, being based on St Kilda’s jumpers worn from 1886 t0 1914. As I wrote last off-season, there were (very) loose plans to have a red, yellow and black version of the candy-stripe jumper used as a clash from 2006 onwards, but this fell through when the club used designed an ill-advised version (i.e. they designed it before getting the appropriate advice) of the jumper worn from 1915-1918 as the 2005 Heritage Round jumper.