Cue the stripes! Or maybe just one stripe? The Stripe.
As Cal changes sponsors from Nike to Under Armour, the unifying symbol amongst the uniforms that have been released thus far is the Sather Stripe. In addition to the stripe, there has also been a font change and a return of the classic block “C” logo.
The “C” screams tradition, as do the other stylistic choices, but this one in particular has a classic historic feel. It resembles that of the popular hike amongst students known as “The Big C.”
The trademark, “baseball swoop” included in the script font also delivers an old-school feel.
“We just couldn’t get past Sather Tower,” Under Armour senior creative director Adam Clement said in a CalBears article. “It is truly one of the iconic pieces of architecture on any collegiate campus in the nation. It just kept rising to the top, how it really stands out as the defining icon on campus. Your eyes keep going back to that.”
While Sather Tower is one of the (if not the) most iconic symbols that represents the school, it does not make for the most aesthetically pleasing visual, in my opinion. On some uniforms, the stripe is vertical as is true to to the way Sather Towers stands, but on some uniforms the stripe is horizontal and on some – it is both.
Maybe it’s just me but the perpendicular-esque lines do not sit well with me.
“I’ve been around a lot of campuses, and there are few that have icons that really stand out and are special and unique,” Clement said is a CalBears article. “There’s the Golden Dome at Notre Dame, the Duke University Chapel and The Campanile at Berkeley.”
The story behind it is great, but the vertical stripe in the middle of the men’s soccer uniform is painful to the eyes. The blue uniforms are nice and I enjoy them, however, the white jerseys are a no-go. It almost looks as if someone took a piece of duct tape, cut out a piece for the number to fit and placed it on the jersey.
“There are some really neat lines in the tower,” Clement said in a CalBears article. “We love the vertical nature of it, but we also love the beveling. It became very, very special for us.”
Now the women’s volleyball and football uniforms are not as bad as the stripe is more of an accent rather than a focal point. On the volleyball jerseys, there is a horizontal stripe mid-way on each sleeve to represent the stripe. For football, there are also horizontal sleeve stripes and vertical stripes on the sides of the pants. One feature that I miss is the contrasting colored collar on the football jerseys. The jerseys are now all one color, but it just feels wrong, and something feels like it’s missing.
Whether some would like to admit it, Nike tends to be the head honcho when it comes to design and visually-appealing products. Neither uniform, be it Nike or Under Armours’ were too chaotic, less was more in both cases. It just seems that Nike did a better job to master the art of simplicity.
Another issue is, while Sather Tower is the proper name of the monument, most everyone I have ever heard mentioned the tower refer to it as, “The Campanile.” There is even a website called, “Campanile.berkeley.edu,” which feature the hashtag, “#campanile100” in honor of the tower’s 100-year anniversary.
Under Armour will also design the footwear and equipment for the athletic department’s 34 recreational sports club programs and the Cal Band. As a personal sneaker head, I am curious to see what kind of kicks Under Armour is going to dish out – because after all, Nike (what comes to mind is Steph Curry’s shoe) has been lacking in the footwear game.
The uniforms could be a lot worse, that is for sure, but last year’s uniforms were a lot better.
There’s an old saying in the softball world that goes, “look good, play good,” and to some extent, I agree with it. But there is an even more well-known saying that goes, “Money makes the world go ‘round,” and Under Armour is bringing in funding to Cal that Nike simply wasn’t. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, so love them, hate them, or remain indifferent, the Bears will look to dominate on the field regardless of the logo they are bearing on their bodies.
Christie Aguilar is the assistant sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].