Sponsors spend millions of Euro’s on a yearly basis to promote their brands and products via these professional teams. The cycling jersey is often the first contact for a cycling fan with their brand. Therefore I find it rather strange that these sponsors don’t seems to bother about the design of their team’s cycling kit. The only team that did look for professional help, is Omega-Pharma-Quickstep. They lacked inspiration if it comes down to color choice, but at least they did a minor effort to create an appealing design.
Belgium has been on the foreground of cycling since the origin of the sport. With companies like Decca and Vermarc, Belgium was amongst the first countries in the world to develop modern cycling wear for clubs. And for crying out loud: Belgium has produced some of the best fashion designers of the world!
Maybe it is because Belgian cyclists have no taste. Some cycling fans buy whatever jersey their idols are wearing, despite the design or quality. Maybe it is because Belgian team managers don’t give a shit about the design of the clothing as long as it is sponsored. Maybe it is because their sponsors have no clue about contemporary design trends. Maybe it is because Vermarc, the supplier of most Belgian pro continental cycling teams, just doesn’t care. Or maybe, just maybe I don’t know what a well-designed cycling jersey looks like. Who will tell?
In my humble opinion however, when it comes down to design and branding, traditional Belgian club clothing companies have lost touch with present time. They have no idea what is going on in the world. They have no clue about modern cyclist’s taste. And they have no clue whatsoever about the value of strong branding.
This blog is about the Belgian cycling jersey, but it shouldn’t surprise my handful of readers that I am worrying about the jersey design and branding of Belgian professional teams. Does it bother me? Not really honestly…. Do I care? Sure I do, because I believe we need to do better out of respect of the sponsors and the riders. Do I feel responsible? Not at all although I know I can do better and and I am willing to proof it if one of the managers comes clean and acknowledges the true value of a great design.
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Smaller countries = smaller sponsors = more sponsors on a jersey = ugly 🙂