Umbro Takes on Retro with MTV
British sports brand Umbro riffs off the acid house days of the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s for its new partnership with iconic youth brand, MTV.
Tracing a path back to Umbro’s home city of Manchester, the Umbro X MTV collaboration celebrates a time when the masses, including football fans, and students came together in disused warehouses, abandoned office blocks and country fields to rave together to a single unifying beat.
Every movement has its uniform, and the rave scene saw a new oversized and androgynous aesthetic take hold. Lovingly referred to as ‘baggy’, the movement became part of Northern identity, bringing together influences from sportswear, club culture, and workwear. These baggy looks were loose enough for the shape-shifting moves of up-all-night ravers, warm enough to keep the chill of the Northern night at bay, and androgynous enough to share with your mates.
While Umbro’s casualwear was making the move from football terraces to dancefloors, MTV was rewriting the pop culture rulebook with its 24/7 music content providing the pre and post rave sounds for the nation’s party kids. For Spring Summer ’23, Umbro and MTV revisit the Second Summer of Love with a collection that combines casual sports-inspired silhouettes with a range of graphic prints and colours inspired by the ‘80’s and ‘90’s rave scene.
1990’s visual markers include a fusion logo, intertwining the Umbro and MTV brandmarks alongside a warped all-over checkerboard print. Fabrics too nod to the ‘90’s with a shell suit inspired nylon crinkle plus a polyester micro-let fabric which has been a long-time go-to for Umbro kits and training wear.
Silhouettes throughout are slightly oversized for a genderless fit. Hero styles include: the Coach Jacket available in a combination of Shaded Spruce & Brilliant White priced at £75; a Hoodie in Brilliant White, priced at £60; Trackpants in Shaded Spruce & Brilliant White, priced at £60; a Graphic T-shirt in options of Shaded Spruce, Brilliant White, Jade Lime, or Malibu Blue, priced at £25: a Football Jersey in three options of Shaded Spruce & Brilliant White, Malibu Blue & Fairy Wren, and Jaded Lime & Flame Scarlet, priced at £35; a Vest, Swim Shorts, and Bucket Hat are also available in the same colour options, and are priced at £30, £35, and £22 respectively.
The Umbo x MTV collection extends into footwear and accessories and includes: the Copley ‘Checkerboard Sneaker’ in Malibu Blue, priced at £80; a Cap in three options of Shaded Spruce, Malibu Blue or Jaded Lime, priced at £18; and a Waistpack bag in Shaded Spruce, priced at £20.
Featuring in the new collection’s campaign is Manchester band Porij. Musically inspired by the same era which informs the Umbro x MTV collab, NME described Porij as ‘Manchester’s most danceable new band’. In terms of musical style, NME described ‘each song becoming fiercer and more acidic as it progresses, as slippery basslines dissolve into swirls of echoing electronics, before sharply springing back into focus’. Just the sound then to front Umbro x MTV’s contemporary take on an era in the UK which would springboard dance music onto the global map while defining Manchester as the beating heart of the baggy revolution.