In amongst the madness of the #BeTheDifference World Finals in Marseille we ducked out of the scorching heat to catch up with adidas Football Senior Product Manager, Florian Baeuerlein, the man responsible for overseeing the new majestic 'Spark in the Night' UCL third shirts and the Finale '15 match ball. He's kind of a big deal.
Flo, the third shirts look incredible, can you talk us through your role in production?
I'm the product manager so I'm the link between the design team, the club and our sports marketing team, there's so many people behind these jerseys. I'm responsible for bringing together all the different threads and coordinating the creation of the jerseys.
How closely do you work with the clubs, is there a brief to follow?
When we start the development of a kit we start two years before so we normally start with an inspiration trip, we meet the club and talk about which topics they'd like to see on their jersey and what colours they might fancy discussing all different topics of inspiration that they may have in mind. It's not only talking to the club we'll also talk to the first team players, ex-players, academy players, the club museum, icons of the city, fans, it'sreally quite a broad fountain of inspiration but it's all about immersing yourself within every angle of the club.
There are rules around tradition for home and away shirts. Are third shirts the most exciting to design, a chance to be more creative?
Yeah, that makes it really exciting working on third kits because we have much more freedom in how we can create the shirts, there's more flex in getting our ideas over to the club and also with innovation to further develop the ideas of the design is key as well. Third shirts are the most enjoyable to create, of course there's more pride in designing a home shirt but the third strips can be more playful, more random.
There's a sense of retro feel around the kits, do you ever see kit design going back to the crazy patterns of the 80's & 90's?
I think it's a mixture. On the one side in football there's always this retro trend where fans can connect emotionally to great moments worn in a certain shirt in the past so I think there's always retro design around but what we try with adidas is we mix it also with innovation and new trends, especially this season with the third kits we have incorporated this fading shorts theme where there's consistent graphics on them and I think that's really different visually on the pitch, which is a good example of us combining this retro trend with something new.
Revealing all 6 kits at the same time here in Marseille, must be exciting for your team?
For us it's a great pleasure to have this great portfolio of partners and they are exactly that, partners. We are working so closely with all of the clubs in the development of their kits and we have an overarching story for this season which is the "Spark in the Night" concept where the kits are all dark based but with these pops of colour that will stand out on Champions League nights, I think it's great to have this common platform.
You must have a favourite from the collection, right?
My personal favourite is the Manchester United kit, for me it's just so rich of details and having United back in the adidas family is a great moment for us and that definitely makes it that extra bit special. Both United and Juventus are two huge assets for adidas this season and moving forward into future seasons and they're great clubs to work with.
And the Finale '15 ball, how do you retain the famous stars but keep the design fresh each year?
The star panel shape on the ball is the iconic piece of the Champions League ball so we look around for other inspiration and with the final being playing in Milan that's the place we got inspiration from. We took three main parts of inspiration from the city, first of all the red cross on the white background from the coat of arms of the city and the second inspiration is the blue serpent from the crest of Milan, which is where the snake skin pattern on the panels comes from. The bright colour pops are related to the expo which is hosted in Milan this year, another great example of how the city of Milan can showcase itself to the world and we wanted to incorporate all the three things on this ball.
Check out our full recap of the adidas Marseille Base event here.