With the WE.League set to get underway in just under a months time, I thought we could take a look at the kits (or uniforms as Japan prefers to call them) for this upcoming 21/22 season.
Of the 11 teams in the league, 7 of them have partnered with official supplier and streetwear manufacturer, X-girl, who has looked to create uniforms which embrace individuality and representation from the teams respective geographical areas. The teams which have partnered with the brand are Mynavi Sendai Ladies, Omiya Ardija Ventus, Chifure AS Elfen Saitama, JEF Chiba Ladies, Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara, AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies, and Albirex Niigata Ladies.
The 4 remaining teams, Urawa Red Diamond Ladies, Tokyo Beleza, Sanfreece Hiroshima Regina and INAC Kobe have all gone with their own separate brands. With Urawa and Sanfrecce with Nike, Kobe with Hummel and Tokyo Beleza with sportswear brand Athelta.
But enough about that. Let's get into the kits and let me know which one is your favourite!
JEF United Chiba Ladies
The design behind JEF Chiba's uniform is to have representation from the Chiba prefecture in the form of the prefectures flower known as 'Rape Blossoms' (Unfortunate name I know) or 'Nanohana'. The flower is a bright yellow and can be seen throughout Chiba, usually in the Spring where over three million bloom. The patterns on the shirt are also in the shape of Chiba prefecture. Another nod to the teams origins.
Niigata is a coastal city along the western side of Japan. The colours took inspiration from the wonderful sunset you can see cascade over Niigata and the Sea of Japan in the evenings. The white colour is to represent the teams nickname of 'The White Swans'. The pattern and design were created with the idea of the Swans and snow flying through the winter and the blue zigzags to represent the waves spreading from the Shinano River to the Sea of Japan.
AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies
AC Nagano Parceiro are a club which prides it's self on being a community based club and has a philosophy of inclusion, accessibility and collaboration. Thus they incorporated that belief into their uniform and team name. Parceiro means "partner" in Portuguese and so the triangle patterns in the shirt are representative of the trinity of club sponsors and supporters, as well as taking inspiration from the stunning Shinshu mountains.
Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara
The teams name of Nojima comes from household appliance and electronics company Nojima Co., Ltd which sponsors the club. In a nod of appreciation to the corporation, Stella Kanagawa adopted the companies blue and red colours. Due to the company specialising in electrical goods, the design and pattern was made to illustrate an electrical and digital current.
Chifure AS Elfen Saitama
Chifure AS Elfen Saitama is a club which has been focused on the inclusion of women in football since it's formation. In order to break the mold or the stereotype, they have chosen blue as their representative colour, due to the assumption of it being a boys colour. However, it is also based on indigo dyeing which is huge component of Japanese art and so the team wanted to create a club colour of 'Elfen Blue'. The white stripes were added to help the shirt stand out and represent what the team are trying to achieve in womens football, as well as the stripes illustrating the 'long' history of the team.
Omiya Ardija Ventus
The Omiya Ardija Ventus uniform is slightly similar to that of the mens team, in terms of the colours, however the design has taken inspiration from the various bonsai trees which are across Saitama City and a nod towards the scenic nature in the area. In Omiya, there is a Bonsai Museum which is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.
Mynavi Sendai Ladies
Mynavi Sendai Ladies are team based in Sendai alongside the mens football team. The name Vegalta comes from the story of Tanabata which is a similar star-crossed lovers story to Romeo and Juliet. The deities in the story are represented by the stars, Vega and Altair. The design incorporates the colours of these two stars with Vega being blue and Altair being white. Each year, Sendai City hosts the Tanabata festival which is a celebration of the two deities meeting, an opportunity to pray for a rich harvest and appreciation for the arts.
INAC Kobe Leonessa
Renowned designer Hiroko Koshino worked alongside Hummel Japan to create the following uniforms for INAC Kobe. The idea behind the design is to incorporate art and music, with shapes of instruments such as the piano and violin. When Koshino designed the kits, she spoke about "wanting the team to strongly express the beauty of a musical performance out on the pitch"
Sanfreece Hiroshima Regina
Similarly to the men's team, Sanfrecce regina have adopted the purple colours of the men's uniform, however the design is different. Not much is known regarding the inspiration for the design and pattern other than incorporating some elements of the clubs badge, but it has certainly received a better reception to it, than the men's home shirt.
Urawa Red Diamond Ladies
Not much can be said about the uniforms for Urawa Ladies, due to the fact they are wearing the same kits as the mens team in J.League. The slight design in the shirt is a representation of the the roof structure of Red Diamonds’ Saitama Stadium 2002 home ground where the men play.
NTV Tokyo Verdy Beleza
Tokyo Beleza have long colloborated with Athelta over the years to produce their kits. Verdy has always been known for it's green shirts since the glorious days of King Kazu with the mens team. The slight pattern in the shirt is representative of the new Verdy badge design for both the men and womens team. The shirt would be great for me if it wasn't for the giant sponspor in the middle.