The stars seem to have aligned this year, with an increasing appetite for the women’s game combining with the World Cup for something of a perfect storm of hype and global attention. It’s the perfect platform for creatives of all kinds to express themselves, not least designers, with numerous unique kits being released. And Umbro are revelling in this arena, thrusting upon the world a stunning new kit for Jamaica ahead of the tournament that encompasses the DNA of the nation.

Bringing threads thick with Jamaican heritage, Umbro has produced two stunning kits for all teams in the Jamaican Football Federation. They are kits that will certainly standout on the pitches of France this summer, and we took some time to catch up with Helene Hope, Head of Global Brand Marketing at Umbro, to talk through the inspiration and influences behind the colourful creations.

Where do you start when it comes to designing a football shirt, especially for a country with such a vibrant culture?

We always start with culture and history of the country. With Jamaica this was a very obvious starting as their history and culture are so tightly intertwined and extremely unique.


Is that something you wanted to bring out in the kits for the Women's World Cup? Tell us about the inspiration...

The starting point for the Home and the Away jerseys was the Jamaican flag, which is rooted in meaning. Gold represents the sun and beauty found on the island. Green represents abundance, but also hope and black represents the strength of the Jamaican people. We used these colours to create a tape (running along the sleeves and the shoulders of the Home kit) and a repeat pattern, which we used for the Away jersey. The shapes used on the tape and the print are a play on the Umbro diamond in Jamaican colours showing the close connection between the team and the brand.  

Did you seek advice, guidance or opinion from any of the players?

We spoke to a number of people involved with the JFF about our approach to colour and pattern. From a technical perspective (fit, fabrication) we always put the player at the centre of the design process to ensure the product delivers a high performance level. 


How much of a role has the Jamaican Football Federation played in the design of this jersey?

It is really important to us to keep our partners involved in the design process as the final jersey has to represent the nation and its values.

The beauty of kit design is often in the detail, what elements stand out for you from a creative perspective?

The taping and the repeat pattern – they are not just embellishments, but add subtle messages to the overall design.

How do you think this kit will stand out against the rest of the kits on display at the tournament?

We believe the jersey perfectly captures the spirit of Jamaica – and that is the most important thing to us.

It's a very wearable jersey off the pitch too, even with the bold colours – does the wave of jersey culture come into the design process for this?

Of course, we are influenced by trends… ultimately we want a wide group of fans to love it. However, when designing jerseys, we need to consider so much more than just trends, such as cultural subtext, fit, and performance. 


How much did you want to give the fans something they could wear as well as provide something with all the elite performance durability?

We put the players and their needs at the heart of the process, but of course we also want fans to be happy and proud to wear their national team’s jersey. We have to strike a fine balance.  

The imagery that went out with the jersey is powerful for all the right reasons, what message do you want this kit to stand for?

When people think of Jamaica, they often think of reggae, beaches, Malibu and films like Cool Runnings. Often Jamaica is portrayed as a happy-go-lucky, comical Caribbean island. What people often don’t know about is the rich history of the island, the grit of its people and the role that football has played in uniting it at times of intense struggle. With this imagery we wanted to paint a more realistic picture, whilst capturing the pride of the team and the people. 

When Umbro embraces culture around the world through their kits, interesting things seem to happen. The aesthetic is always eye catching. How much of a statement is the Jamaica kit for what Umbro stands for...

Jamaica is certainly one of our more bold jerseys, but that is mainly driven by the vibrancy of the country and the people. We always try and reflect the culture of a team and of course inject a little bit of our own character at the same time. 


Images courtesy of Umbro.

Pick up the Umbro Jamaica 2019 WWC home and away shirts from