Craig Chval ‘15
As I’m sure you know, Notre Dame unveiled their 2014 regular and alternate uniforms on Tuesday. The normal uniforms look pretty similar to the old adidas ones, which I think are the best Notre Dame’s has looked in years.
In my opinion, Notre Dame’s uniforms are the best in sports. So I don’t get particularly pumped up for the Shamrock Series unveilings because we already have the best uniforms.
While my opinion about Notre Dame’s regular uniforms hasn’t changed, Under Armour’s very first Shamrock Series reveal had a different feel to it than in the past. Instead of a departure from Notre Dame’s identity, it was clear Under Armour wanted to embrace it.
The concept of Notre Dame’s helmet is that it mimics the Golden Dome, which is one reason why Jack Swarbrick said the helmet will remain gold after the 2012 Shamrock Series. The 2014 version adds an ND to the helmet, but it also has the same subtle pattern as the Golden Dome.
In addition to the helmet, the pattern on the sleeve, gloves, and undershirt is the same as on the floor of the Main Building.
It’s clear that Under Armour put a good deal of thought into these uniforms – not only in their aesthetics but in their connection to Notre Dame’s uniqueness. It seems our new partners are smart enough to understand the Notre Dame brand is more powerful than their own.
Under Armour also knows that enhancing Notre Dame’s brand is to their benefit as the new outfitter for Notre Dame equipment and apparel. While the 2013 all-white uniforms evoked the Dallas Cowboys and 2012 seemingly was about random colors, this year clearly has an emphasis on the actual University of Notre Dame.
And as Under Armour is embracing Notre Dame’s uniqueness into their designs, it’s also positive to know the uniforms themselves are unique. Although Under Armour has deals with other schools, Notre Dame is its main prize, having signed the largest apparel contract in college sports.
“Texas Tech is different from Maryland is different from Notre Dame,” said CEO Kevin Plank at the time of the deal. “We don’t have to invent any new history. We don’t have to tell any new stories. Notre Dame is quite simply Notre Dame.”
I don’t always accept press conference quotes at face value, but it appears Plank understands the value of the Notre Dame brand and identity. And he has followed through in the early stages of this 10-year deal.
It’s a positive sign for the beginning of our new partnership, which will hopefully continue to reap these kinds of benefits.