As the world of football shirt collecting has grown, so too has people’s appreciation for certain teams. Borussia Dortmund shirts in the 90s, Fiorentina kits from the same era, Boca Juniors designs from any decade; many teams seem to have that ‘it’ factor which makes their shirts eternally collectible.
There’s another German team you can add to the list who, like Dortmund, wore Nike to great effect in the 90s. They were a founding member of the Bundesliga, and at one point the sole representative of the great city of Munich in Germany’s top division.
No, it’s not the behemoth that is Bayern Munich, but rather their cross-city rivals 1860 Munich.
1860 shirts are famous in kit circles in part because of their wonderful light blue and white colour scheme, but in 1994 Nike came on the scene to inject a dose of their flair into proceedings and raise the bar even higher.
In the first couple of years of the deal, we saw a concentration of beautiful kits with Nike rolling out many of their best templates at the time for 1860 Munich. These designs were more geometric in nature, with many looking almost like the cousins of the early 90s adidas shirts which came to dominate the shirt scene.
Nike cleverly introduced more black into the palette, and the addition did wonders to help establish more of a shirt identity. Helping matters further was the magnificent “Löwenbräu” sponsor (as seen on the 1996 1860 Munich away shirt pictured in this piece) which ticked every possible box for the makeup of the perfect sponsor. Local business, and a brewery to boot? Check. Neat tie-in through the club symbol of a lion (Löwenbräu literally means lion's brew)? Check. Inoffensive logo style which blends in well with the aesthetic of the shirts? Check.
Though not directly related to shirt design, 1860’s league finishes at the time (8th in 1995, 7th in 1996) represented the perfect blend for any ‘hipster’ football team, as having some level of success on the pitch without being one of the big boys.
By the mid 00s the team dropped out of the Bundesliga, and we’ve not seen them in the top division of Germany since. If they ever were to return however, there would be a wave of new fans falling in love with the team as soon as their 90s shirts resurfaced on social media feeds.
Our Bundesliga collection includes a few 1860 shirts, and you can browse them all here.