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Umbro & Aitor Throup: Archive Research Project

The experimental British designer debuts his collaborative archive project with the sportswear label

After designing for Stone Island and C.P Company, conceptually functional designer, Aitor Throup debuts his archive project collaboration with Umbro. Umbro/Aitor Throup Archive Research Project pulls together over two and a half years of research. The capsule collection of reinvented iconic pieces, takes classic designs and reconstructs them, with technical fabrics inserted at key stress points, allowing extra movement, breathability and support.

More than just a focus on performance though, the collection is also aesthetically refined, pared down and minimal. “ARP is based on encapsulating all of the football specific performance construction studies we have done. We have extensive research in terms of the archive and heritage, but more importantly we wanted to define a new, football-specific, language of design,” says Throup.

Mainly made up in muted grey, the collection doesn't follow the preconceived notion of what football kit should look like, taking it to a new style-led audience. Colours and emblems have been removed to make the pieces anonymous. “This project is a summary of everything we have achieved in a more refined and curated way, we had total freedom in a sense, with styles and colours not dictated by a specific team”, says Throup.

Selecting a number of pieces from the Umbro archive to base this new collection around, Throup was interested in fundamentally iconic products. “We started with maybe 10 or 11 iconic pieces and have filtered it down to six” he says. “Some of the archive you couldn’t not choose, the Aztec was worn by the England team in 1966 and the Alf Ramsay jacket, which he wore in that era, is iconic by definition”. As well as being chosen for their status, Throup also selected a number of pieces that connected with him in a more personal way. “The drill top was integral to the 90s, with that triangular insert neckline, everyone wore them. And the Barcelona short is important to me, as its the short I have played football in for years,” he exclaims.

Umbro's Cosmos Blackout line, launched this summer along with Umbro/ARP, also looks to the brand's iconic heritage, this time focusing on the famous NY Cosmos football team of the 1970s. The club was once home to infamous stars including Pele and the Cosmos Blackout collection being launched to celebrate the team's current resurrection. The new club is being managed by Man Utd's Eric Cantona.

A combination of intense research, exploration and a personal passion, the Umbro/Aitor Throup Archive ARP capsule is a finely curated and perfectly formed collection. Aspirational in aesthetic and high performance in construction, each item is a piece of functional, perfectly designed and definitely desirable menswear.