One of our favourite sets of kits this year came from a team who have only just wrapped up their debut season. Vermont Green FC made all the right kinds of waves in 2022, and we caught up with designer and club co-founder Matthew Wolff earlier in the year to talk about the team's shirts and the story behind the formation of the team.
Firstly we just want to say congratulations on the launch of the Vermont Green kits. What was it like seeing all the positive responses to the launch?
Thank you very much! We are so humbled and overwhelmed by the positive response to our kits. The design of the shirts followed the same mission that the greater club ethos: represent Vermont and Vermonters.
I hope Vermonters and Vermonters-at-heart can find something that makes them feel at home in at least one of these kits, and we hope those from far and wide observing the club can get a little taste of this great state through these kits.
On the designs themselves, could you talk us through some of your inspirations and thinking behind each shirt, starting with the home? Is that some tie-dye we see?
I also wanted to create a mix of ‘mild’ and ‘wild’ in the kit collection. Some kits for the kids, and some kits for the parents. The home shirt is on the wild side: a groovy green tie-dye print. During our evening matches when the sun sets, these kits really start to glow.
Moving to the away, that cream colour is beautiful. What was the thinking behind the choice of colour?
We call the away kit the ‘Maple Creemee’, which is a popular dessert treat here in Vermont. It’s a real point of pride for Vermonters. That’s why I went with that beautiful cream color.
And then with the third shirt, what’s the inspiration there? Can’t help but feel this one wouldn’t look out of place alongside the Nigeria collection you worked on!
The alternate kit is black and deep green with an all-over eastern pine print. Black kits are always very wearable, and this kit has proven to be popular with folks of all ages.
Of course we can’t forget the keeper kits. Any personal favourites from the set of 3?
We have the foliage away kit to represent Vermont autumn, the pink swirl tie-dye that is in the color of the state flower, and the Vermont Republic goalkeeper shirt that carries the banner of the original independent Vermont that existed from 1777-1791 (our starting goalkeeper wears number 77, and we also have a goalkeeper who wears number 91).
What has it been like being not just a designer but also a co-founder of the club? Has that deeper level of involvement brought with it any notable differences when it comes to the designs you’ve been working on?
The major difference is that I don’t need approvals on the designs! The freedom is wonderful. My co-founders are incredibly supportive too, giving me the time and space necessary to build out the visual look and feel of the club.
On the crest, we absolutely love the design! Could you tell us about the process of designing the crest, and how you ended up with the look you did
I’m so glad you love it! I wrote a fairly detailed blog post on the design of the crest here.
Speaking more on Vermont Green as a club, what are some of the key values of the club which you particularly identify with? Further to this, what do you think makes the club special?
At Vermont Green FC, we have an ambitious mission to embed environmental justice into our competitive strategy, operational processes, and culture. We believe football can be a powerful catalyst for a more environmentally sustainable and socially just world. These kits — produced by PlayerLayer using 100% recycled polyester — are one example of how we prioritize the environment in our business decisions.
PlayerLayer produces garments with a manufacturer that is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, operating in state-of-the-art factories designed with climate change and environmental stewardship in mind. They use the Higg Index product tools to measure the environmental and social impacts of all products.
Each kit is made from approximately 23 recycled plastic water bottles and is Global Recycling Standard certified. We’re playing a small part in helping our manufacturer convert more than 12 million recycled plastic water bottles into new products.
The two factories that produce our kits are covered in 992 solar panels that will generate power savings equivalent to over 340 tons of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to taking nearly 74 passenger vehicles off the road each year.
The factories also have award-winning recycled waste management systems that include paper, metal, plastic, fabric, food, hazardous, and mixed waste. Waste fabric from production is collected and sent to a facility to be upcycled into other products.
We couldn't let you go without briefly touching on some of your previous work which you’re most proud of. Many people will know you as the “Nigeria guy”, but what other kits or crest designs are you most proud of from your portfolio?
That's like picking my favorite child! Seriously though, I’ve really enjoyed working in the women’s game recently. The NWSL is growing so rapidly and I’ve had the good fortune of working on a number of their clubs' visual identities. I hope to do a bit more of that in the future.
What does the future look like for Matthew Wolff? Will you largely be focusing on Vermont, or will you be balancing your work there with other projects?
We’ll have to see! I’m obviously deep in Vermont Green work now which is incredibly fulfilling and I believe we’ve only just scratched the surface of our potential. I may try to sprinkle in a couple of other projects later this year…I’ll have to see what sort of opportunities come up.
Big thanks to Matthew Wolff for taking the time to speak to us! For a great example of the kind of designs he's created in the past, check out this Minneapolis City SC shirt. This was dazzle camo before it was cool.