The well-publicised financial woes of Aussie kit supplier BLK means that we’ve had to wait awhile for the firm’s Super Rugby teams to get their gear for 2017, but with their problems seemingly now behind them, kit is starting to appear and it’s fitting that the Reds are the first team we’re looking at from the Gold Coast firm this season.
With jerseys that are timeless in their simplicity, modern kit designers face quite a pickle – if you throw the rulebook out and do something totally off the wall, you’re pilloried in some quarters for messing with tradition, but keep it too simple and the other side of the argument will say you’re boring/unoriginal/etc.
So, it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario, and one that BLK has wisely toed the line of very successfully in the last few seasons. So for example the company has mixed last year’s more unconventional design with the clean and classic of 2015 – this year is very much more in step with the latter.
So we what we have here is a very simple, very minimal jersey that keeps things very much in the vibe of the classic Reds jersey.
It’s pretty much all plain red, as you would expect for a more traditional Queensland jersey, but we do have some modern contrasting dark blue accents on the top section of the collar, under the sleeve cuffs and armpits, and the piping around the bottom of the shirt itself.
Other than that, it really is that simple, and simple is no bad thing at all – it’s sleek, it’s understated, and it won’t take any attention away from Quade Cooper, which is exactly how he’ll like it, let’s face it.
If the home jersey is minimal and simple, then the away shirt is positively puritanical by comparison – but the colour is something of a departure from the Reds’ norm at least.
Black isn’t traditionally a Queensland Reds’ secondary colour – as with the home jersey, they generally opt for a midnight blue colour instead, but here they’ve taken a lead from last season’s preseason jersey, which was very popular with fans.
So what we have here is basically an identical template to the home shirt, but it’s black, black and indeed, more black – not a traditionally popular colour choice on the Aussie side of the Tasman, but one that certainly looks sleek.
If we were being picky, we’d suggest that maybe some red on the sleeve cuffs and collar might have made this feel more like a Reds jersey – and red and black is never a bad colour combo let’s face it – but that’s just our taste.
One advantage of the away shirt is that it does make one hidden little design flourish more evident than it is on the home shirt – if you look closely at the bottom third of the front of the shirt, you should just be able to make out a very subtle tonal depiction of the head of the Reds’ koala logo. It’s very hard to make out, but it’s a nice little touch to spruce up a what would otherwise be two extremely simple shirts.
Are these shirts reinventing the wheel or going to win awards for their boundary-pushing originality? Well, no – but given that a few months ago it looked very much like we might never review another BLK jersey again, we’re just glad to see the Aussie company back doing what it should be doing.