AcidFC redesigns Red Star FC’s kit, featuring an illustrated history of the Paris football club
Through the unlikely use of a Toile de Jouy fabric pattern, the shirts depict players, fans and historic branding in sketched vignettes paying tribute to the club’s heritage.
- Jenny Brewer
- 18 August 2020
Red Star FC, described by The Guardian as “the oldest, hippest and most political football club in Paris,” was set up by Jules Rimet (of eponymous World Cup fame) in 1897 and now ex-Man United striker David Bellion is creative director. When Adidas gave Bellion the opportunity to design the club’s own kit – a privilege usually reserved for the big clubs like Real Madrid and Juventus, with smaller clubs simply given a template to colour and badge – he approached AcidFC, a London design studio specialising in football. According to AcidFC founder and Milltag director Ed Cowburn, he was looking to bring some British punk vibes to the Red Star story (apparently the club itself is named after Rimet’s English nanny and Red Star Line ship passenger) and wanted to “push the boundaries of what is normal in football fashion and culture”.
The brief from Bellion was for the kit to represent the club’s history, identity, vision and uniqueness. “Through this jersey, they wanted to stimulate fans pride and build desirability,” Cowburn tells It’s Nice That, as well as garner interest from a more mainstream audience. Balancing those factors is always tricky. “Football is so intrinsically linked to place and society,” Cowburn says, “there's a serious amount of responsibility you have to be able to shoulder whilst remembering the joy and ecstasy that being a football fan brings. Pushing creativity while respecting history is a beautiful challenge.”
From its research, AcidFC landed on the use of a Toile de Jouy fabric pattern, an unlikely feature of a football kit but one that allowed the design to act as a tribute to the club’s heritage as well as an attractive piece of apparel. Toile de Jouy originated in France in the late 18th Century as an evolution of traditional toile designs, which apply a detailed scene as repeat pattern, and literally translates as “cloth from Jouy-en-Josas,” a town southwest of Paris. “We pitched the concept as a design to celebrate the history of the club, particularly Stade Bauer, where Red Star play, the Saint-Ouen suburb and multi-culturalism in a unique way that reaches beyond Paris,” Cowburn explains. “A lot of tourists come to Saint-Ouen to visit the famous flea market and browse the antiques. We wanted to create a jersey that would be revered for years in the same way. A piece of art that will have the world talking about Red Star and wanting to come to Saint-Ouen for a different cultural experience.”
Depicted in the toile is ten scenes featuring players, fans, historic club branding, architecture and elements from the club’s history. While the content itself gives Toile du Jouy a modern twist, the style of illustration also uses a stencil style apparently inspired by Blek Le Rat, as opposed to the traditional mark-making on a toile, Cowburn adds. While the home kit uses a subtle green with white details, with the detailed pattern not obvious from a distance, the away kit uses pink and burgundy, exaggerating the toile details more confidently. The backs of the shirts are solid colours, so the names and numbers of the players can be seen clearly.
Cowburn picks out two specific details within the illustrations: “Rino Della Negra is given his own scene. He played for Red Star during WW2 and was in the French Resistance but was sadly executed by firing squad in 1944 at just 20 years old.”
The other is the fans, who appear in several scenes. “They are proudly left wing, diverse and politically active – hence including a ‘Refugees Welcome’ flag in the design. AcidFC very much shares their values and I hope that having this on the shirt will draw more like-minded football fans to the club.” Red Star plans to visit local schools with a local historian to talk about the people and scenes depicted, telling the club’s history and its place in 20th Century history. “It shows just how important they take social responsibility and the community. Hopefully what we've done not only looks good but will help educate and inspire.”
GalleryAcidFC: Red Star FC kit (copyright AcidFC, Red Star, Adidas Paris). Photos by Daniel Schweizer.
AcidFC: Red Star FC home kit (copyright AcidFC, Red Star, Adidas Paris). Photos by Daniel Schweizer.