FSC Approved – 2021 RB Leipzig away shirt
Tradition is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, teams with decades and decades of history are typically sitting on a goldmine of potential shirt designs. Looks of the past can serve as delightful inspiration for the football shirts of the modern game, and the opportunity to blend retro aesthetics with modern sensibilities is one which many sides could only dream of.
On the flipside however, tradition can be a shackle. Deviate too far from the norm as a shirt designer, and fans will be calling for your head. Brands often clumsily handle a team’s history, claiming a new design harks back to a certain time when in fact, the final creation bears little resemblance to anything from a club’s past.
When it comes to football shirts, RB Leipzig are a prime example of a team who are benefitting from the freedom that comes from being a relatively young club. Founded in 2009, Die Roten Bullen have steadily left an increasing impression on the kit world as they’re risen through the divisions. Since becoming one of Nike’s ‘elite teams’, the club have been riding particularly high with a range of bespoke designs including the popular 2020 third kit which was a huge hit with collectors.
This year that creative journey is continuing in a big way with the new 2021 RB Leipzig away shirt, an early contender for shirt of the season.
Now I know, I know. It’s a bit early to be crowning the shirt of the year before the 2021 season has even started. Still, I’m excited by what I see from the Bundesliga runners-up.
This is the first Leipzig shirt to make full use of a red, yellow and blue colour scheme. The glitchy pattern that spans the body and sleeves of the shirt is a wonderful combination of colours, and after some really strong away and third kits from previous seasons this feels like the next stage of evolution for the team.
What I particularly like is the fact that the pattern is shared with the design of the 2021 home shirt. In a move which is rare in the modern game, the away and home are linked by the style of the pattern which is supposedly inspired by the stadium of Red Bull Arena. It looks great, and you bet there’ll be some déjà vu as collectors flock to pick up another Leipzig shirt to add to their collection.
On the back of the shirt are the words “YOU CAN DO ANYTHING”, and the slogan couldn’t be more appropriate here. Nike have been given the licence to roam free, and they’ve delivered. We’ve seen a lot of shirt designs across all of the Red Bull football universe, but the 2021 RB Leipzig away shirt captures the Red Bull image better than any other kit. It’s playful, vibrant and unashamedly Red Bull.
Traditionalists will scoff, but let them hate. They’re missing out.
What is FSC Approved?
What makes a football shirt good? It’s a purely subjective question, right?
Whilst there are indeed a lot of subjective elements when it comes to shirts, there are still factors to consider. Sometimes, a design is notable for its unique aesthetic. The colourway, pattern or construction may have gone where no shirt dared to go before it, or it might simply be a particularly good utilisation of a classic approach. Other times, a legendary player elevates a design to immortality, even if the design in question would’ve been hard to pick out of a crowd before.
Our series FSC Approved will be a lovingly curated list of shirts that deserve to be in the conversation as good, possibly even great football shirts, no matter who you support or what your taste in shirts is. Old classics, new contenders, if it’s FSC Approved it’s as close to a certified banger as you can get.