“We wanted to contribute to the VAR debate with our perspective in a fun way by creating a beautiful shirt designed by the talented Angelo Trofa. It's a shirt for all those who like to get things right, on and off the pitch. Football has VAR, shopping has Klarna.” says Daniel Jontén, VP Marketing at Klarna.
The ‘Klarna x VAR’ shirt is designed by British-Italian graphic and apparel designer Angelo Trofa, who has been hailed as the “present day Godfather” of conceptual kit design. He produced a five-volume publication called ‘Football Strip Concept’ in which he designed football fashion, spring-boarding his career into producing football apparel for the Tibetan national team. Dropping on Saturday August 24, the limited edition shirt will be sent to influencers, football personalities and fans in a specially designed box that can be folded to resemble the VAR on-field review screen.
The shirt will feature through media partnerships with global football fan culture network COPA90, which has created a forthcoming content series called ‘Who Do You Think You VAR?’ and will also support the campaign by helping to share kits with influencers, and football fan culture magazine Mundial.
Klarna: What inspiration was taken in the design of the VAR jersey?
AT: I wanted to explore a way to give an aesthetic to the idea of what VAR is that is instantly recognisable without being obvious. Something that captures the movement we see in the replays, where the footage jumps back and forth. The most obvious symbol for VAR has become the referee’s hand gesture, which is pretty hard to get down in a graphic way without looking like a help guide you see on planes and instruction manuals. This is where the idea to tap into VHS style symbols came from. Universally recognised, the idea of play, pause, rewind really captures what in my mind the VAR console controls look like - quite old school, but there’s something much more interesting about pressing buttons as opposed to sliding a bar on a screen, which I’m sure it is. Initially for the crest I played around with the idea of the “all seeing eye” and CCTV cameras, which gave off quite a paranoid vibe as opposed to some new technological innovation. The final crest design taps into the idea of VAR being a squadron within the sport, with a classic monogram common particularly in South American football and a shape informed by the shape of camera lenses, see if you can spot the reflection on the lens.
Klarna: What do you think makes a jersey iconic?
AT: The thing I’ve always loved about football kits is that no matter how good or bad a design, often the association with success or failure will make the jersey a classic, or worse, a sign of bad luck or “the jersey we got relegated in.” As someone who's always followed the kits, just as much as the matches, I’ve always looked for designs that have broken the mould of the kits around them, or have retold a team’s story or history in a new way. Football and fashion have a strong connection these days, why do you think that is and what led to this connection? I can’t help but feel that one of the reasons is linked to this period of “logo mania” that we have seen become quite prominent in fashion. Brands like Vetements really shook up the fashion landscape with their hijacking/reinterpreting of well known logos such as DHL and we’ve seen all of the other fashion houses follow suit. The trend for big logos in often sporty or corporate executions plastered all over garments has become the norm. Couple that with the athleisure boom, the 90s resurgence and then the football shirt with its emphasis on bold prints and heavy branding, is the perfect garment in the current fashion landscape.
Klarna: Your top 5 favourite jerseys of all time?
AT: Cameroon sleeveless, 2002 • Kappa Italia, 2000 • France Away Nike, 2011 (la marinière) • Ambrosiana Inter, 1931 (checkerboard collar) • Arsenal Away, 1995/96 As a football fan, what past moment do you wish you had VAR for? Italy vs. South Korea 2002, the foul on Totti which he was sent off for, instead of being awarded a penalty. The 13 year old me was distraught.
Klarna: Is there a moment in your own life you wish you had a VAR available?
AT: The moment my cousin blamed me for cutting his hair, when he’d done it himself. We were about 8.
Klarna: What's your opinion of VAR?
AT: I’m actually a big fan of it. I still feel there’s room for it to be refined, but I feel that it’s added a new dimension to the game. We’d arrived at a point where there are so many cameras on the pitch that viewers at home knew a mistake had been made, but the most important person on the field wasn’t offered the chance to see the different angles. Sure, there will never be another ‘hand of god’ - but many may feel that’s a good thing, even if it is one of the games most iconic moments.