Chris Sury

Chris Sury is the SU's Sports Officer.

Does Warwick Sport need to move towards one kit supplier?

Warwick Sport and Clothing

At the moment Warwick Sport encourages all clubs to use the recommended kit supplier ADM. For years they have supplied our clubs and our teams with kit both on and off the pitch and have provided an excellent service to our clubs. However, as part of the review process of Warwick Sport we have been looking at what other Universities are doing with their clubs and kit suppliers to see whether or not we were behind, or just how different we were to other campus’, teams and clubs across the UK.  It became quickly evident, that most institutions do it quite differently to us.

What did we see?

Well, take a look at this from Loughborough. Apart from me looking like a bit of tourist with my camera, what do you think?

These were my thoughts:

  • Everyone wears the same kit colour, helping sport to dominate campus.
  • Teams looked more organized and professional
  • In reference to sport, the teams appeared intimidating when playing opposition
  • There was a brand presence on campus, and the kit was a huge part of this.
  • Club members not only felt a part of their sport but part of a much wider community.
  • Students bought into sport and recognise Team Loughborough.

Loughborough has many differences to Warwick.  Some differences I found were positive, whilst others I returned back thinking, no, Warwick does do that a lot better. Yet this kit business really did leave a lasting impression, it was extremely impressive and Universities are doing it up and down the UK.

So what then… What are you saying/I like my kit thanks very much.

I am proposing that at the bare minimum, all teams should be wearing the same colour. It seems a little absurd that we have blue, red, yellow, purple and many other playing kits floating around on campus. What this kit would look like, the logos on it and the design should be involving all of you in the process within the next year or so. It would be nice to be able to wear and see something with a visible common identity, whilst recognizing what sport you are from.

Casual kits and loungewear could have that same Team Warwick feel as well, kit suppliers can create some really nice bespoke designs for different Universities to wear, again this would be with direction from the support of you guys.

Where are we with this?

At the moment we have started to talk to different suppliers to see what they can actually do. There have been lots of interesting meetings with different companies and we have heard lots from then on an improved service for clothing including promised deadlines, same day deliveries, lower prices, sponsorship, cut backs, bespoke kits, supplying Varsity T’s, same designs for Intra Mural teams and even employing student reps or possibly having a permanent staff member for 1 day a week to help clubs with their demands.

Timelines

  • The most important thing to take from this is that no action will be taken without consultation from yourselves.
  • Kit suppliers cannot always supply clubs with the huge variety of different equipment/kit that you might need, and most always understand this.
  • You as a club may not want to change your design or colour… this will be taken into consideration as to why and alternative solutions come up with.

To conclude, over the next few months you should look out for seminars that will involve your clubs in kit choices and decisions that we will look to make together. In a recent survey that we did before Christmas that asked for feedback on kit, membership and club prices, the vast majority of you, 70%, though that it was a good idea, and a further percentage, 17%, were happy so long as they could keep a certain amount of club identity.

What do you think of the whole process? Are we over looking anything? Perhaps you hate or love the idea. What concerns do you have? Please share your thoughts! 

ADM is visiting Warwick to meet with sports clubs that wish to discuss their clothing requirements for next year on Monday 18th & Tuesday 19th June. If your club wishes to discuss your clubs clothing needs for next year with ADM, you can book a 30 minute slot between 10am & 3.30pm on both days by emailing Peter Parker on P.A.Parker@warwick.ac.uk

Any feedback welcome 

Chris

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Comments

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Agus Murod
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Suhaib Motala
1:15am on 19 Jun 12 From the comments above, it doesn't seem that feasible to have a uniform kit to be honest. However, the possibility of having Warwick colours could still be introduced via off-field sports clothing. ie warwick jackets and tracksuits etc. Eventually, once a warwick style for off-field clothing has settled, then in time perhaps societies will voluntarily and naturally converge to these colours gradually enough as to mitigate the harms unique to each sport. The key thing is, to reduce the harms, it has to be a) a gradual process and b) voluntary.
Thomas Hall
3:09am on 12 Jun 12 I think there is room for a compromise here. In general i agree that playing kit is too diverse, there are two many colour schemes and specific requirements, to enforce a single manufacturer and style on all clubs. Firstly, individual clubs would no longer be able to use their distinctive kit to advertise themselves on campus to new members: you'll notice at the start of the year during freshers everyone and their dog walks around wearing as much club stash as possible to try and advertise to the fresh. Second, a lot of clubs have spent a long time building up a decent selection of kit, good relationships with suppliers and as others say, it can be very expensive to make a switch. And finally it does seem extrememly unlikely that you can get one supplier to give us all the variety of kit needed: as you've often pointed out warwick has the most sports clubs of any university and hence the most diverse requirements. What works for loughbourgh and birmingham may not work for us. BUT, having said that, i think there could be a good avenue of creating universal warwick sport kit that anyone of any team can wear for travel, tours etc. For example, im on exchange at NTU (singapore, not nottingham) and they have a pretty nice NTU polo shirt that every club has, so you see them a lot on campus and the teams wear them to events. It also means clubs that are limited by rules on what colours they can wear while competing (riding was mentioned, judo would be another) can still have some form of warwick sport colours. And no-one gets forced to change their kit they play in, which can be a very personal thing to a club.
Matti Konsala
10:22pm on 11 Jun 12 As long as nothing is forced I don't see a problem with this. Ice hockey, as well as a few other clubs will obviously want to stick to their image, and there's no way a non-specialist UK supplier could produce jerseys anyway. Common off-ice kit could be nice though, as long as we can slap our logo on it and keep it unique enough. I'm pretty sure almost all our hoodies from before have come from different suppliers with slightly different designs, which looks a bit silly and is a lot of extra work
Hannah Moody
3:05pm on 10 Jun 12 As uniforms co-ordinator for the Warwick Devils Cheerleaders, I know that a move to change the colour of our kit would be disastrous for us as a squad. In cheerleading, your name and your kit is your identity – we could no longer be ‘Devils’ if we had to drop our red and black kits in favour of blue ones. Cheerleading is not only a very physically challenging sport but also contains a strong element of performance and so our visual presence is just as important as how we compete as athletes. You use Loughborough University as an example of the benefits of such a change but many students there were incredibly unhappy about the decision to get rid of their uniform. For example, Loughborough Goldrush Cheerleaders, under the same unifying process, were asked to drop not only the kit that makes them recognisable as a squad but also change their name to the “Loughborough Students Cheerleading Club” which, I think you’ll agree, doesn’t have the same ring to it. They were forced to send out a petition to save their team, as were Loughborough Aces American Footballers and Loughborough Lightening Netball. The Warwick Devils have spent years building up a reputation as one of the best university cheerleading squads in the country which has resulted in us winning national championships twice this year and being invited to compete in the world championships in Florida. When we arrive at competitions, other teams know that we are the Devils and that we are the ones to beat - to change our club colours would be to completely erase our efforts in becoming recognised and respected. Not to mention the extreme costs that would be involved in such a change. One cheerleading stunt kit can cost up to £150 and we would need to replace at least 40 of these. £6000 for new kit we don’t want and that is detrimental to our squad? No thanks!
Elizabeth Robertson
7:50pm on 9 Jun 12 I am part of a niche sport- riding. I am not against a kind of identity. But in terms of our club we cannot really ask our teams to compete in any one colour for two reasons. 1) If it is set on royal blue then this goes against our BUCS regs (pretty sure we can have black, navy and tweed only). 2) Our competition kit is extremely specialised (as has been noted by other people), and whilst readily available is generally quite expensive. As a club exec, I would feel bad telling people lucky enough to make the teams that they now have to spend extra money on top of an already costly sport when they are likely to already own suitable items... In terms of the idea generally, I like a "Team Warwick" identity for competition/matches etc but maybe loungewear rules could be more relaxed?
Hayden Cole
1:08pm on 7 Jun 12 Just be thankful you don't go to Nottingham Trent...pink and white!
Hayden Cole
1:07pm on 7 Jun 12 Colours - I'm not actually too bothered, but it would be nice to phase to a new design. I guess the colours would move to shades of blue and white, as that is what the big clubs have. Wouldn't be too bad, we could become arctic wolves and polar bears? The supplier issue is a big one though. Like George said, some sports you just have to go to the specialists.
Daniel Davies
9:21pm on 6 Jun 12 I agree that a uni wide colour scheme would be nice, having a uni colours would be great. However I find the benefits are clearly out weighted by the drawbacks. First off making a switch of kit costs money, If I remember correctly Football play in light blue, Basketball play in white and Ultimate Frisbee play in Red, and that's just the home kits. I for one don't want to buy some new kit. Secondly the is the thought of logos, as some teams are generally know by theirs. Take the Wolves and the Bears, if ether of these clubs changed logos their names would probably have to change to. This would take away all the hard work of perevious members of clubs that have got warwick sports clubs recognised within their various sports. I don't know how it works in different sports but when a year graduates from Warwick in Ultimate Frisbee they go on to form a club outside the uni. These generally take on names accociated with Bears after the club they spent there time playing for at uni. Take Bear Cavalry as an example, the most sucsesful mixed club in the contry in recent years, losing a link to a team link that would deffenitly be a negative impact for the university sports clubs. I am currently of the mindset that this idea would have been great if it was implamented when warwick started as havving the same identity would be great but now as the clubs have become big in their representiive sports it's too late and would do more harm than it's worth.
George Whitworth
5:25pm on 6 Jun 12 I wonder is there not a middle ground? I completely take the argument about the ACTUAL kit needing to be bought from suppliers who can actually supply it. I have played lacrosse during my time here, and you simply can't buy most of the kit from the UK. The bit I dont get is the heritage bit - does it really matter what colour you are wearing on the field? Most people are here for 3-4 years, so the heritage aspect doesnt really mean much. I would rather we had a University identity and there was at least guidance on a broad brushstroke level - eg, every team should predominantly wear royal blue if they compete in BUCS. I also don't see a reason why there can't be a generic supplier of non-playing sportswear (IE, weatherproof training jackets that could be useful in any sport, or trackies)
Hayden Cole
10:55am on 6 Jun 12 We have a lot of "niche" sports (ie. dodgeball, ultimate, canoe polo, volleyball, bowling, floorball, handball etc.) at Warwick, and none of these will be well equipped if we order from one manufacturer. These are very important club; dodgeball are far and away the best club in the UK, with many international players, and win almost every national tournament, while Ultimate won more BUCS points than any other club in 2009 (bar football).
Hayden Cole
10:52am on 6 Jun 12 "Individual clubs can still retain their senses of heritage with tie colours, badges and other pieces of stash." ----- Problems with this: we don't wear ties, and we're a mixed club (ie. girls never wear ties), badges are too small and meaningless, stash is expensive and you don't play in it.
Robin Pottinger
1:37am on 5 Jun 12 I'm personally not against the idea of having a common colour for the kit for all sports teams. What I do have an issue with though is the idea of having to use a set supplier. Dodgeball has built up a very good working relationship with Andy Blairs in Cannon Park over the years and I know the club would not feel comfortable with having to break that and ditch them. I'm sure they rely heavily on the business they get through the University and I would not want to be part of the reason for them to go out of business. Same colour, fine. Same crest/logo, fine. Same supplier, not fine. Plus no supplier will be able to meet the needs of every sport club, we can see that instantly with Hayden's comments about the kit Ultimate Frisbee require.
James Oyedele
10:54pm on 4 Jun 12 I think unified kit colours is a fantastic idea, agreeing with the points Chris made above concerning identity and professionalism. Individual clubs can still retain their senses of heritage with tie colours, badges and other pieces of stash. If we want to attract keen and talented sportsmen and women to this university and improve our standards of sport I think these simple things need to be changed.
Hayden Cole
8:13pm on 4 Jun 12 Further, Birmingham University changed to a single manufacturer (Kukri) a few years ago, and it basically royally hacked everybody off. You arguments about greater participation and more fellowship are the same ones rolled out each year - I don't see how "what the sports teams wear" will make a difference - they don't interact for other reasons.
Rosina Simmons
7:49pm on 4 Jun 12 Whilst I can agree with the idea and what it stands for (unifying the whole of Warwick sport body through kit) I too can't see that our Ultimate Frisbee team would be pleased with the decision, for the points that Hayden outlined; the Frisbee team has been one of the longest established in the country, I just don't think it's feasible to dismiss 35 years of our heritage for different colours or incorrectly cuts of kit.
Hayden Cole
7:12pm on 4 Jun 12 What about a teams own heritage? The Ultimate team wears red and black - and those are our colours. If we had to change (to e.g. blue and white) then we wouldn't be happy. Also, not all kit manufacturers make kit suitable for all sports. For example, Ultimate kit is traditionally quite "american" - loose, baggy t-shirts, and just-below-the-knee stretchy shorts, which you can only get from Ultimate kit manufacturers. We wouldn't want to play in other cuts / fabrics, the same way that you wouldn't make everyone wear rugby shorts. In addition, the ordering of kit gives the exec experience in dealing with a company, which could be seen as valuable life experience. Personally, not in favour.

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