Fabric of England

The New Fabric of England has been revealed at a Harvey Nichols lavish launch party.

By Matthew Tyas | Last updated 12 September 2011

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Article by ManchesterFashion.com

The New Fabric of England has been revealed at a lavish launch party held at Manchester’s Harvey Nichols. Iconic graphic designer, Peter Saville, is the man who has created the New Fabric design for Umbro, which comprises the new England Football Kit and a ready-to-wear collection running along the same wave of inspiration. The new collection is available in Harvey Nichols, and for one night only, so was the chance to rub shoulders with a Northern great. Saville, a man synonymous with Manchester after his work with Factory Records as cover artist has gone global as the designer of the England Football Kit, TFN finds out more.

Umbro: How did the idea behind your design come about?

Peter Saville: I was intrigued to see if there was a pattern of some sort that could be quite minimal, but be in a way a medium for colour. I initially had the idea to look at an equilateral cross, like a plus sign, and that quickly developed into the geometry of the cross of St. George. Once we arrived at that point, everything started to happen quite quickly, that cross motif was wonderful as a repeat pattern across the shirt.

There’s also a cultural relevance to the design, can you explain a little more about that?

PS: Very quickly, I realised that it would be interesting, exciting and quite provocative for it to be different colours, that was something much more representative of how we understand England today. The problem with that red cross of St. George is that it’s been marginalised and associated with a certain mindset that didn’t really appeal to me, but I loved the symbol. And the idea that the symbol would be different colours would be exciting and quite provocative.

U: Do you think that a football shirt is the right place to have a debate?

PS: A football shirt is quite an exciting place to have this debate, and the England national team shirt is symbolically as big as a flag, and is some ways we might see it as more active on behalf of people than a flag would be. So I think it’s kind of brilliant that it’s happened this time, and I can suddenly begin to see the football shirt as a medium for more creative and conceptual ideas. I can see the football shirt becoming the new record cover in some ways.

U: How does it feel to be involved in a project as big as this?

PS: It is without doubt the one big universal medium in this country, and it’s interesting to do something for England, as opposed to a club. If you do something for a club, it’s about them and their history. Whereas doing something for England, it’s about a society and the place you live, the community you live in, so it’s a much more abstract entity.
I’m quite thrilled to do something for the wider public. In the days that I did record covers, they went to a lot of people, and it’s quite invigorating, quite exciting to know that a lot of people will see it, and with this millions people will see it.

Earlier this year, one of my old record covers from 1983 was on a stamp! That was one of the most exciting things that had happened for years, knowing that it was circulating unwittingly around the country. Of course, this is about England, it’s not about me, but it’s quite nice to do something that goes out into the world like that.
I hope some people will like it, I hope people will like the idea it puts forward, I think some people won’t like it!

I think it’s an interesting issue at the moment though, Englishness and what it means, and how you find a way that can be interpreted by everybody. My reservation about the cross of St. George is that it seems quite particular to a historic understanding of England, and the England we live in today is not that same historic England. So this way of seeing the symbol I would like to think opens up it up to other people to be able to identify with it. Also, we’ve realised that it’s an idea which is expressible by others, so I’d quite like to see people taking the idea of that cross in a colour, and doing their own version of it. I’m looking forward to seeing orange ones and green ones and pink ones.

With thanks to Umbro for the words and images.

Article by ManchesterFashion.com


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