All aboard The PartnerShip.
It’s Tuesday Night in Seattle, and an assortment of local media and university representatives assemble on a small boat resting on the calm waters of Lake Washington. They walk across a narrow strip of purple carpet, which is damp from the spitting rain. They settle before a purple-and-white storage unit and are warned to stand back, lest they be crushed by the metal doors protecting the precious apparel inside.
When the doors swing open, the instantly recognizable guitar riff and cymbals from The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Purple Haze” scream out of a set of hidden speakers. A thick cloud of purple smoke billows out of the back of the storage unit, distorting the view of three golden mannequins facing the crowd.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is no ordinary ride around the lake. (In fact, due to the aforementioned showers, The PartnerShip never technically departs from the dock.) This is Day 2 of the University of Washington’s 10-year partnership with Adidas. This is the “media boat cruise,” designed for reporters to view and learn about the program’s newest football uniforms (though all conversations are off the record, photos and video are prohibited and cell phones are placed in a secure case upon entry). This is an exceedingly exclusive sneak peek, before the uniforms are officially unveiled on July 10.
Let’s be honest. This is more than a little absurd.
But it’s also evidence that Adidas is willing to go all out for its newest client. And by the way, the uniforms are evidence of that, too.
Take the numerals, for example. All of the uniforms’ numbers are slanted at a 15 degree angle, to match the angle in the university’s block W. And if you look closely, the numbers themselves — white on a purple jersey and purple on a white jersey — are dotted with tiny artificial rain drops to provide a hint of regional flair.
As for colors, the uniform showcases a deeper, darker purple more akin to the color scheme in the early ’90s, and the gold of the pants is meant to match the tone of the Huskies’ helmets as much as possible. Shimmering purple stripes stretch across the shoulders. The angular numeral font is also supposedly reminiscent of the Don James era. (And the helmets, by the way, don’t fall under Adidas’ umbrella and therefore remain untouched.)
Oh, and remember the black flourishes in the program’s previous Nike uniforms? Say bye-bye to the black. It’s all purple, white and gold.
And occasionally, it’ll be bold.
Specifically, the program is planning to showcase “thoughtful,” eye-catching alternate uniforms once or twice per season, starting in 2020.
But not tonight. Tonight, The PartnerShip’s apparel consists solely of Washington’s core uniforms. The language onboard is littered with phrases like “climacool enhanced breathability” and “purple iridescent film fit for football royalty” and “seamless primeknit for unrestrained range of motion.” Tag lines are painted like graffiti in white and gold along the walls.
Calling all Huskies.
Here to create.
This is our angle of pursuit.
Inspired by history.
Designed for the future.
After roughly an hour, the various media members file back out on the purple carpet — past the tag lines, past the photos of previous Huskies, past the golden mannequins with bulging biceps and viral uniforms that have already been leaked online. They retrieve their cell phones and re-enter the world. They step out of the Purple Haze.