Alice Ferraz: Brazilian National Team shirt gains new symbology

In a maneuver to strip the team’s uniform of political connotation, Nike uses a symbol of Brazilian fauna

We are just a few months away from the World Cup, which this year takes place in Qatar, a small Arab country on the Asian continent that opens its doors in November to fans from all over the world who come together to watch one of the most visible sporting events in the world.

According to official figures from FIFA, the 2018 edition accumulated an audience of more than 3.5 billion people who watched the games in person or on TV and the internet. It is not surprising that football is starting to come more and more into the agenda. The theme of the week? The fashion that will enter the field.

Calling fashion a type of clothing that initially has a technical purpose of dressing athletes for the game makes sense when we talk about the Brazilian team. In the country of football, the look of the canary national team – which, for many fans, is considered sacred and earns the status of a mantle – is always a subject that gives rise to the sleeve, especially in an election year in which being green and yellow or blue and white gained new symbology.

Each uniform has its history, whether it’s the shirt worn by an idol who shone and scored the winning goal, a controversial detail and even stories of luck and misfortune. The latter, by the way, was precisely what resulted in the arrival of green and yellow on world football fields.

Until 1950 – World Cup in which the team’s uniform was all white –, the Brazilian team varied between white and blue. But, as sport and superstition often go hand in hand in our country, after one of the most remembered defeats in football history, at Maracanã against Uruguay, the fans’ faith needed another color to cling to.

This is how, in 1952, the gaucho Aldyr Garcia Schlee won a contest and brought to play the color of gold – or rather, of the canary-of-the-earth, as associated with radio broadcaster Geraldo José de Almeida when describing the new uniform of the new canarian team – to the 1954 World Cup.

Since then, the yellow jersey has become a symbol of the Brazilian team and, in a World Cup year, green and yellow becomes a must of the moment, almost a mandatory code. It appears on the official shirt of the selection and also in thousands of fashionista interpretations. In 2022, however, the shirt comes with more fashion information than ever and gains a jaguar print, a sign of awareness of a time when talking about the environment is in fashion.

In addition to bringing the print and giving visibility to our fauna, Nike – the brand responsible for the design and production of the uniform – will also sponsor the research arm of Onçafari. The project, founded by Mário Haberfeld in August 2011 in the Pantanal, is based at the Caiman Ecological Refuge, owned by environmentalist Roberto Klabin. Your mission? Monitor, study and make the public aware of the importance of protecting jaguars, which for a long time have suffered severe casualties due to hunting, deforestation and environmental disasters.

“The idea was to associate the national team’s shirt with the Brazilian fauna. Animals have no political party and the jaguar arrives as a symbol. It is at the top of the food chain, and by protecting it, we are also taking care of the environment as a whole. After extensive research, Nike chose Onçafari to support and will fund our research projects for years (by contract, disclosure of time and amounts was not disclosed), “says Haberfeld.

The pattern that features the rosettes of the biggest cat in Latin America – on the yellow shirt it comes in bas-relief throughout the piece and on the blue in contrasting tones on the sleeves – was announced by Nike as “a tribute to Brazil and its people”, says the brand’s website, “a collection was made to show its grit”. This year the canary team is a jaguar.

It remains to be seen whether in November fashionistas and sportsmen will unite with green and yellow or blue and white – after all, in Brazil in recent years, colors have gained political meanings that transcend football. Companies like the giant Ambev have already started talking about it.

In a recent campaign with the iconic narrator Galvão Bueno, Brahma, a brand that is part of the group, proposes the union of fans regardless of other ideological differences. “Now, with almost one hundred days to go until the Cup, the feeling we heard is that, regardless of the differences off the field, people want to cheer for the team, shout a goal with the hopscotch, feel the wonderful atmosphere of a Cup. With this campaign, we want to remind Brazilians that the World Cup is almost here”, says Daniel Wakswaser, VP of marketing at Ambev.

A sentiment shared also by Galvão. The sports narrator and star of the campaign, who in his career has established himself as a Brazilian icon, points out: “Everyone knows that I am passionate about the Brazilian team. For me, it (the yellow shirt) represents 12 world cups narrated, more than 48 years realizing the dream of my life, which is to take the stories of the team to all corners of the world, and being part of this great passion of Brazilians ” . The fans’ dress code is still in play and the result will only be officially known in November.

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