England Women today revealed their first truly unique kit of the professional era – for the first time the Red Roses will have their own bespoke kit, designed by the RFU’s kit partner Umbro, and tailored to the needs of England’s high performance female athletes.
England are not the first to do this of course. Ireland and Canterbury have been creating bespoke women’s jerseys for a few years now, though they got themselves in hot water for using models instead of players to launch the kit in 2020, which they sensibly rectified in 2021. Meanwhile in August, Adidas revealed that the Black Ferns would have a bespoke jersey for the first time in their 30-year history.
But this England kit feels like another huge milestone in the women’s game – for the first time the most high-profile and successful team in the Northern Hemisphere will walk out onto the pitch wearing a jersey that is truly thiers, and has not just been designed with their bodies in mind, but with the input of the players themselves.
As Red Roses player Sarah Bern said at the jersey’s launch: “This is a historic moment and I’d like to say a big thank you to Umbro, who have always been supportive of the Red Roses, for giving us the opportunity to have our own kit and grow our identity even further.”
England’s women have had jerseys catered to them for a while of course, and had a unique jersey made for the World Cup in 2017 – but important as that was, it was still just the same jersey as the men’s kit with a World Cup badge on it.
This is different – the shirt is completely different to the men’s design, with subtle red accents on the collar and cuffs, and a totally unique ‘rose thorns’ motif around the collar.
“Having our voices heard in what we wear and ensuring a comfortable fit for playing makes us feel valued and respected,” says Bern. “Importantly, it unifies us with England Rugby, which we are proud to be a part of but also allows us to be unique. The kit design is amazing and I’m personally very excited to wear it.”
That’s why this kit is important, and why England and Umbro should be celebrated for helping make it a reality.