We're three weeks into the Premier league season so we've had a chance to see most of this season's new kits in action. Instead of looking at the best and worst, I've grouped together some trends I've noticed across this season's designs.
First up are all-over print photographic 'ambient' textures resembling clouds, paint strokes, and marble, especially popular amongst this year's away kits where there's more room for experimentation.
Manufacturers seem to be capitalising on the global popularity of 'activewear', riffing on the premium, sophisticated textures you might find in a Sweaty Betty filled spin class - epitomising 'spots lifestyle' and appealing equally to a female audience with a softer, less aggressive aesthetic. The focus is on shirts that look good off the pitch and they're marketed accordingly, with edgy urban photoshoots aplenty.
Puma and Manchester City deserve plaudits for continuing a conceptual approach to their kits, each pattern inspired by a part of Manchester visual culture. The Arsenal away shirt follows a similar concept, as the texture is inspired by Highbury's marble lined hall. The Wolves effort is an unmitigated disaster - the blue body looks like a rag-rolled nightmare from Changing Rooms with no discernable link to the top section.
We are in the grip of a 90s fashion revival, so it's only right that we see some bold 90s geometric prints creeping into kit design. Newcastle are leading the charge with these remarkable efforts. Arsenal and Wolves have opted for more subtle interpretations, with angular chevron designs reminiscent of the famous bruised banana Adidas template of the 90s.
Pinstripes are a mainstay of retro football shirt folklore, it's impossible to have a pinstriped shirt without it having some retro charm. While only two shirts this season have proper pinstripes, and that can't really be called a trend, the Everton home shirt is my favourite of the lot, so I had to include it. Nike have managed to strike a perfect balance of retro style and contemporary edge and everything from the club badge, sponsor logo and sparing gold highlights are working in harmony.
Generally, home kits are safe and traditional, allowing for the away and third kits to go completely off piste. But a trend that I've spotted this season is a club's suite of kits following an overall design template, simply swapping out the colours for home away and third. Crystal Palace have arguably implemented the purest version of this, with all three kits sharing a colour palette of red white blue and black. Southampton have adopted an interesting reverse red and white sash system, while West Brom have possibly been the bravest, by rendering a disruptive stripe design in three different colourways.