In a curious twist of fate (or is it?) The International 6 is taking place at the same time as the Rio Olympic Games. This makes for an interesting two-screen viewing experience. On TV, you watch all sorts of athletic feats (as well as some that involve horses for reasons that are not entirely clear). On newer channels, you can watch some wild Dota 2. Or you could do both, that’s what having multiple screens is all about.
The juxtaposition of these events is endlessly entertaining. The Olympics are about athleticism, sure, but they are increasingly a showcase for sports technology and performance wear. On any night, you can tune in to NBC and watch athletes adorned with cupping marks … because Olympians, of all people, can’t get hickeys the old fashioned way? And while doping is still illegal (sorry Russia?) gaining a performance boost via slippery clothing is still largely acceptable. FINA briefly required athletes to wear ‘slower’ swimsuits in 2010, but the general arc of athletic competition bends towards technology providing an added boost. Meanwhile at The International 6 people are wearing shirts. Let’s talk about them:
ViCi Gaming Reborn
This is undeniably a shirt, which is basically the job description, so good job to all involved? It’s not particularly ambitious in fashion terms, but the mandarin collar approach to what is basically a golf polo is neat—a popped collar that needn’t be fussed with. Presumably the team members have something to do other than fussing with their collars. The main problem here—and this will be a recurring theme—is that there are many sponsor logos and whoever designed this shirt had no idea what to do with them. They are tilted to fit with the chevron pattern, but realistically they are just crammed wherever they can fit. And a few places where they don’t. But bills have to be paid. This is a shirt, and it’s fine.
On the one hand, the blue and white colour scheme is not exactly flattering. If VGR suffered from having a surfeit of logos, Wings has the opposite problem: the team’s logo is adequate but not interesting enough to compensate for the rest of the shirt. It’s also worth noting that this isn’t a jersey; it’s just a t-shirt. Michael Phelps will not feel threatened by this kit. But from a fashion perspective, there is at least an interesting attempt at tweaking the male form happening here. The blue inserts curve inwards around the torso to create more of an hourglass shape for the team members, an optical illusion that masks their relative lack of definition. It’s a good idea that could be more fully explored.
This is the basic cut of VGR, but without a number of sponsorship decals vomited onto its surface. EHOME’s jersey, however, is worryingly shiny. It’s a matte kind of sheen, but nonetheless a reflective surface. That can mean only one thing: flop sweat egad! This is why esports needs more performancewear. Next!
It’s a black t-shirt with some decals. I fell asleep twice while writing that sentence.
Let’s start with the obvious: Yes, this gradient was likely a preset in the version of Microsoft Powerpoint you once had on Windows XP. It’s not the best of gradients, but at least it’s visually intriguing, as are the gold highlights. The whole outfit has a bit of a sunset theme, which is a nice way of saying it looks like a mid-tier soccer jersey. It’s not great, but it has performance pretensions.
Look, the team name oversells it a bit, but I get that “evil mildly-above-averages” doesn’t have the same ring. The jackets are fine, but they have too many flaps or pockets, because advertiser logos have to go somewhere. The result is therefore somewhat awkward: who has three breast pockets on each side? Also, the fabric looks stiff. It doesn’t scream performance.
These are the shirts you get made when you liked the Tour de France as a child but grew up to play esports: shiny, a bit loose, and lots of decals. Whereas the pattern of the Wings jersey serves to make the wearer look in better shape, this one is just a series of shapes. It’s not good for the wearer or the viewer. Everyone loses. Hopefully they’re better at esports than they look.
The ghosted grey-on-black pattern is a nice touch, allowing for some visual intrigue while leaving plenty of room for the obligatory decals. The grey contrast sleeves and orange logos also work. None of this is standout design, but the jersey is still a work of remarkable competence.
This inset is the kind of pattern you normally see in books about airbrushing for customized motorcycles and hotrods. It isn’t really designed to accentuate the wearer’s shape so much as to provide visual intrigue. The artificial chrome border doesn’t really line up with the light in all environments and the inner mesh pattern looks a bit like a sweater vest. There are many interesting ideas here, but they don’t add up to much.
The bird is nice. It is also the rare pattern in these jerseys that works when the wearer is not standing in a stiff, upright pose, which is an underrated quality in performance clothing. Whereas other esport outfits suggest that the wearer won’t be doing much, TNC’s design implies that action is always just around the corner.
Remember the Evil Geniuses jacket? This is that jacket but with the ridiculous number of pockets in a contrasting colour so you can’t miss them. Don’t worry, guys, that was never a risk.
This is what happens when you don’t feel compelled to fill all available square footage with decals, and isn’t it an improvement? Turning the OG letterforms into a hexagon and then matching that shape on the sleeves is also a nice touch. This is probably the kit you would do best to wear in public.
This is like a greatest hits album of the previous jerseys: a contrasting logo; decals galore; grey-on-black contrasts; chevrons; pot pourri, probably. But somehow it sort of works. Life is full of little miracles like that.
Stop lying to me: this is a soccer jersey. I like it.
Whenever bowling and esports merge, this will be the shirt of choice. Until then … probably not.
At least the logos were moved to the sleeves. That makes the rest of this t-shirt relatively serviceable, though largely forgettable. I, for one, will never think of it again.