The kit is a nod to a wider project spearheaded by The Blank Family of Businesses to impart the importance and practice of sustainability in local communities. In that effort, Atlanta United has partnered with Trees Atlanta to plant upward of 1,000 trees in the metro area.
Dirty South Soccer spoke with Atlanta United Vice President of Business Operation Georgia O’Donoghue about Atlanta United’s new kit upon its unveiling Saturday night. Here’s what she had to say about the inspiration, the creative process and the new threads. The conversation has been edited for clarity.
Q: What’s the message that the club wants to put out there by releasing this kit?
A: So, a big one for us. As you saw on the kit, it’s 100 percent sustainable fabric, and on the neck tape, it says “City in the Forest.” The way that we’ve looked at this kit is we’re focusing on that sustainability aspect and how it fits in with our city — which, Atlanta’s known as the city in the forest. We are covered by more canopy than any other major metropolitan city in the U.S., and that’s how we got that name. So you see the colors of it really focus on that green, what we call “cool mint,” and deep green. But it focuses on colors of the city and how the geometric shapes are pushing that skyline and treeline.
Q: What specific actions and focuses is the club going to be looking toward regarding in the future?
A: Our biggest one this year is we’re working with Trees Atlanta to plant a thousand trees in the next two years or so. So that’ll be in the city of Atlanta, something we’ve never done before. We’re really excited to partner with them and all of our supporters. And then of course working with the Blank Family of Businesses, they have a very big focus. One of their pillars for the foundation is climate resiliency and conservation. We’re going to lean in with them and do a lot of activities with them and then additionally at the stadium as well. We’ll continue with our Greener Goals that we’ve always done. We’ll continue with our zero waste at the stadium. We’ll continue with our LEED Silver here at the training ground, all those things we’ve always done and we will keep doing, but we’re just going to put even more of a focus on that this year.
Q: Back to the design of the kit, what goes into the process of designing and producing an MLS kit and in particular, what went into the process of the Forest Kit?
A: So, it starts about two years before the kit actually is launched. We start on the club side, basically deciding what we want the story to be. And this one in particular, sustainability has always been important to us. It’s always been really important to our supporters. So we really leaned into what would our supporters want here, and that’s how we got to this one. So once we developed that story and what we want to see, we work with Adidas on what that look and feel is, and that process can take upwards of a year. And then, you know, you’ll see the kit two years after that. So it’s actually quite a long process.
Q: One aspect of away jerseys in Major League Soccer is that a lot of them are plain white and kind of basic. Did you guys have more of a creative process and more creative freedom to actually design this kit in a way that you guys wanted it to turn out compared to some kits in the past?
A: Yeah, the process was the same, but I’m really glad you noticed that because we saw the same thing. It’s always a really heavy white base and mostly white with accents. We wanted to stray a little bit from that. And you’ll see us doing more of that in the future I think because these are really fun opportunities for us to get outside of our normal color palette. It’s why we’re so excited about this one. I’m with you. I think it’s my favorite.
Q: Has there been any feedback that you guys have received in the past that kind of played a role in the creative process for this kit? Maybe from the fans?
A: That’s a good question. Our fans are pretty supportive of our kits in the past. We have been number one in MLS sales for kits since we came in. So quite frankly, our supporters gobble them up as we make them, but this was inspired by their focus on sustainability, just like ours. So I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily feedback, but it’s definitely part of their fabric as much as it is ours.
Q: The concept of kits and kit reveals can be an exciting aspect of the game for fans. Does that create a sense of excitement within the club that you guys are unveiling something like this to the fans?
A: Absolutely. We have been working nonstop on kit launch. For us, it’s important because it’s our uniform, but at the same time, we’re excited to get all of our season ticket members together for the first time this year. We joke that we don’t have a very long off season in soccer, but we miss having that interaction with our supporters and having that interaction on match days. So we’re all really excited to get back to it. And this year, because of the condensed timeline of the season and the condensed timeline of the kit launch as it relates to the season starting, it’s only a week apart. So we have not only kit launch on Saturday, but our March to Soccer starts on Monday. We’ve got events all the way through the next week-and-a-half into the block party next Saturday, and then our home opener on Sunday. So to say that we’re excited is an understatement! We’ve been working really hard on this and we’re really excited for people to see it.
What do y’all think of the kits?