Peaking around 2018, the high number of kits which harked back to the glory days of the 90s proved popular amongst both the wider shirt community and broader footballing landscape, so much so that many people were understandably worried that the trend would become a trope. I was admittedly identifying with that group as recently as last week, but after seeing Real Betis’ new 4th kit, I’m not ready to say goodbye to retro designs justyet.
Across Betis’ kit history, their mid-late 90s away stands tall as one of the standout designs in a strong pack. Anything Kappa x Betis was worth a second look (and with a 10+ year long relationship there was plenty to choose from!), but the gorgeous 1995 away was a shirt many would refer to as a lovely example of 90s geometric goodness, the kind of which we were starved of during the 00s and early 10s.
Kappa have faithfully recreated the 95/96 shirt as a fourth kit for Betis in 2020, marking 25 years since the beginning of the first Kappa x Betis spell. Though there are some differences, this is pretty much as close to a remake of an old shirt as you’ll see, and it’s a glorious sight.
The unmistakable giant ‘K’ pattern is back, albeit with some subtle size differences. I only realised the design was actually a ‘K’ for Kappa a couple of years ago, and when someone pointed it out to me on Twitter I was gobsmacked. The novelty factor of a brand reference that doubles as an aesthetically pleasing, 90s dream of a pattern is the sort of thing that goes a long way in the world of kits. As such I’m very happy that the 2020 edition retains the look, as anything else would’ve looked second rate.
I’m falling in love with these colours once again, and as much as I appreciate the classic Betis green I can’t get enough of these ‘tealy’ shades that have been brought back. If you compare pictures of the ‘95 kit and the new kit they are virtually inseparable in terms of colourway, and again I’m happy to see the consistency.
In terms of differences between the kit and its inspiration, we’ve got Kappa’s modern shirt construction on display including a one-button collar, and extended cuffs (with a small cutout triangle), as opposed to the more classic collar and simplified cuffs of the 90s shirt. Sadly, the 2020 kit also has a plain back like many other modern kits, but it’s not enough to detract from the beauty of the overall aesthetic.
A huge Betway sponsor is another negative on the kit, but again the power of the 90s pattern and colourway rise above some of the modern ‘issues’ for me.
As Betis x Kappa part 2 continues to roll on, I’m crossing my fingers for some more throwback designs. I’m not sure if any will be able to capture the same sort of magic as the 2020 Betis fourth shirt though, and it’s more than deserving of a place in the FSC Approved catalogue.
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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.