The yellow jersey. Called Amarelinha or Little Yellow One, the home shirt for the most successful football team in the world represents the exuberant pride of the nation and is as recognizable as the country’s flag.
“Football is so ingrained in Brasil, it dissolves into the culture. It’s hard to capture the meaning of the relationship between Brasilians and the sport,” says Peter Hudson, former Creative Director who worked on Nike football apparel for seven years. “I think you have to go to events, be at a match, look players in the eye on the starting line to really appreciate what it means.”
The Brasil national team home jersey wasn’t always yellow. It took a devastating defeat in the 1950 final at home to initiate a color scheme change. After wearing white and blue for half a century, the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (CBF) debuted a new kit in yellow, green and blue — the colors of Brasil’s flag — in 1954. The design was the result of a national competition, and the new colors stuck.
With football’s biggest tournament returning to Brasil this summer and half the world’s population tuning in, Nike adopted “Cool under pressure” as the design mantra for 2014, re-focusing on details to reflect the country’s heritage and passion. “The signature that goes across all federation designs is: the best in Nike innovation meets national pride,” says Nike Football Creative Director Martin Lotti. “It’s like designing a second flag for a country, you need to honor the past, the country and its culture.”
The carefully embroidered crest over the heart is bigger than previous designs and has metallic gold thread woven in to catch the sun during play. The enlarged crest was born of a direct insight from the athletes grabbing the crest and saying, ‘This is what I’m fighting for.’ “So, we stripped everything else away and let the crest shine though,” Lotti explains.
When Lotti presented the design to Brasil national team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari at the final review, his response was emphatic. “I absolutely love this jersey,” Scolari said. “There’s only one thing missing: a sixth star.”