LAFC’s inaugural uniforms add fashion to function


Will the Los Angeles Football Club make its hometown proud? Performance-wise that remains to be seen, but on style points alone it already has. The LAFC’s inaugural-season uniforms, officially unveiled Saturday, add a dash of fashion to the functional Adidas Climacool kit — as much for what they don’t have as what they do. Here are three ways the look of L.A.’s newest sports franchise takes things up a notch:


The primary kit consists of a black jersey, black shorts and black socks with gold metallic details — black and gold are the team’s colors — including the shield logo on the right breast, the Adidas logo on the left and the MLS logo on the left arm. The name of the team’s jersey sponsor, YouTubeTV, is emblazoned across the front in white with a single pop of red. The signature three Adidas stripes that appear on every MLS uniform — Adidas is the league’s official outfitter; teams can choose to put the stripes one of two places — run across the top of each shoulder, giving the jersey a slightly dress military feel. A circular jock tag at the hem has the words: “Heart of the City — City of Angels” around a gold version of the Art Deco style wing that appears in the team’s logo.


For the secondary kit, a white background replaces the black, the gold metallic details carry over and the jock tag reads “Inaugural Season” in black Art Deco style letters with the “l” in inaugural and the “a” in season printed in gold. (LA, get it?) This version of the LAFC secondary kit will only be worn this season, according to the design team. The inaugural version of the primary kit will be worn for two seasons before any design changes are made.

In the fashion world, black is the go-to color for a timeless, elegant look — think the tuxedo for men and the LBD (little black dress) for women — and here that effect is heightened by the pops of metallic gold and the Art Deco details which, in addition to the logo, appear in an almost imperceptible textured pattern woven into the jersey.


What’s most notable about both versions of the uniform is how uncluttered they are — particularly when compared to uniforms across the league which tend to be larded up with bold designs, trippy graphics and, in the case of L.A.’s other home team, a diagonal stripe that calls to mind a beauty pageant sash. That’s very much on purpose, LAFC’s creative director, Marcus McDougald, says. “Clean, classic and timeless are the three words we had in mind when we approached [the uniform],” McDougald said. “We wanted something that we could build on for years to come — not a jersey that would look dated at some point.” Mission accomplished.


But the absence of clutter shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of detail; once you’re within arm’s reach of the uniforms, all sorts of delightful — and meaningful — details become apparent. For example, the geometric pattern woven into the fabric of the primary jersey does double duty, keying into the Art Deco-influenced aesthetic of the new team while paying homage to the sport’s past. “The pattern was inspired by the 1988 Netherlands home jersey — one of Adidas’ most popular jerseys ever,” McDougald explained. “We flipped it and shrunk it a little bit so it feels a little bit like an armor-plate pattern.”


On the secondary kit, the subtle light gray lines radiating from the neck area also have a dual inspiration, one being the 1994 Germany home kit — which is among Adidas’ most popular jerseys — and the other a Mexican sunburst pattern, a nod to the team’s efforts to position itself as team for the entire city.

The jerseys include another cool nod to the team’s supporters that won’t be visible on the field of play: the adopted mantra of “shoulder to shoulder” printed on gold inside the collar, a reference to the shoulder-to-shoulder supporters’ standing section — tickets will be $20 each — that will be part of the team’s soon-to-be-completed home stadium.

Can the glamour-meets-grit vibe of the LAFC’s uniforms ever make the team’s jersey as popular on the streets of L.A. as the near ubiquitous Dodgers cap? That’s a tall order, but thanks to the classy, uncluttered look and infusion of fashion-forward details, we expect to see it wing its way into the hearts — and closets — of those beyond the team’s immediate fan base.

For more musings on all things fashion and style, follow me at @ARTschorn.