A little while back we threw out some hopeful predictions for England's new kits in 2024. We discussed subliminal patterns, flag details and collars, amongst other things, but one thing we didn't talk about was possible away kit base colours.
If you'd have polled 100 England fans asking them to guess what the colour of the next away shirt would be, I'd be surprised if anyone would have guessed purple. But, as a flurry of leaks have surfaced this week it appears that England will actually receive a purple away kit.
Is there a precedent for the surprising colour choice, and what is the early temperature check on the move?
Now as always we have to caveat our discussion today with the fact that everything is subject to change given the nature of early leaks such as these. Indeed, the potential use of purple only surfaced this week after some work from community member and friend of FSC Jack Henderson, who reported that an earlier leak showcasing a sort of olive/military green was incorrect. The funny thing is I think I might like the olive kit more than the purple, but regardless the purple shirt has since been doing the rounds.
In recent years we've seen a lighter shade of purple emerge as something of a trending colour. Lilac designs have emerged from Nike's own stable for the likes of Barcelona and Club America and it’s a colour which I’d suggest we might see more of at the level we’ve seen for off-white for example. Darker purples have been somewhat less common, but in a vacuum I would argue that the choice of purple for England is one which is designed to appeal to a broad audience regardless of kit traditions.
That being said purple has in fact been sprinkled in throughout England's sartorial past, most notably through the medium of goalkeeper kits. Whether as an accent colour on various 90s designs such as the 1995 or 1996 keeper kits or as the primary colour of GK shirts in 2012 and 2014, it's been in the background without us really knowing.
When I looked back on England's kit history, I found myself particularly enjoying the 2010 goalkeeper shirt from the heart of the eternally popular Tailored by Umbro era. The purple on that particular kit was very much the secondary colour to a black base, but it was a wonderful ensemble which has rarely been bettered since. The funny thing about purple too is that it makes a lot of sense if you think about things more abstractly. Across their history England have almost always had away kits in one of two colours: red or blue. The choice between these two slices of the primary colour wheel has been the main point of distinction from collection co collection, even as Nike are now beginning to open up the playbook. But what do you get when you mix red and blue together? With apologies for giving you a primary school art lesson, the answer is of course purple.
Whilst I wouldn't advocate all teams use this sort of approach (to jump back to the classroom for a second, we'd end up with a lot of brown kits from experience!), these sorts of connections help make sense of a design decision, whether intentional or otherwise.
It's also worth highlighting that England are supposed to be receiving a more traditional home kit. This lines up given that we’ve just had one of the most progressive England home shirts of all time. A more daring away shirt usually lands better when paired with a more conventional home, and England's supposed purple number will have a better chance in that regard. I would still expect a degree of uproar upon its release, but I'm cautiously optimistic we could be in for a treat.
As Head of Content, Phil is the creative playmaker of the team, covering every angle of football shirt news in our blogs and weekly Newsletter. Whether it's telling your fakes from your authentics, or deep dives into the newest football shirts designs, Phil will have all your football shirt content needs covered.