Aston Villa Football Club has sealed an innovative new technical kit partnership with Fanatics and premium menswear brand LUKE 1977.
The ground-breaking partnership sees Aston Villa as the first English team to adopt a three-party agreement with a preeminent manufacturer of sporting apparel and a leading UK fashion brand that holds Birmingham at its heart.
The arrangement sees Fanatics extend its relationship with the club, by becoming the official kit manufacturer whilst continuing to deliver its multi-channel retail capability, including management of the Villa Park store.
With Fanatics’ technical expertise on board, the partnership expands and enhances Villa’s retail offering to its vast, global fanbase. The club’s merchandise will continue to be showcased in the Villa Park store and on-line.
LUKE 1977 is a contemporary menswear fashion label with Birmingham ingrained in its DNA. The brand, headed up by Birmingham bred Aston Villa fanatic Luke Roper, will maintain the quality and heritage of a kit that has played a significant role in the Creative Director’s life.
This partnership has allowed Aston Villa to provide fans with a kit that has resonance with its Birmingham roots and ultimately develops its engagement with the local community.
LUKE 1977 worked collaboratively with AVFC and Fanatics on the design element of the club’s 2018/19 kit. The design benefits from the input of lifelong Villa fan Luke Roper, who understands the history of the shirt, and the technical prowess of Fanatics.
As both retail partner and kit manufacturer, Fanatics will operate a full vertical-manufacturing model, meaning the new kit, bearing the LUKE 1977 brand logo, will be managed by a single company from production to point-of-sale. This means fan merchandise enjoys faster speed-to-market in an increasingly on-demand world.
Commenting on the announcement, Aston Villa’s Chief Commercial Officer, Luke Organ said: “Aston Villa Football Club is proud to pioneer an exciting new tripartite technical kit partnership. Traditional routes often leave the club lacking an element of creative input, we wanted to take back control of the look and feel of the strip for our fans.
“We believe this partnership will further allow us to engage with the fans to a much greater extent than previously experienced with manufacturing partners.
“The deal with LUKE 1977 and Fanatics represents a true partnership. All parties work collaboratively to deliver the very best product for our fans.
“As a club we are determined to lead the industry in every way that benefits our fans. We continually innovate off the field, providing the very best fan experience we can.”
Commenting on the announcement, LUKE 1977’s Creative Director, Luke Roper said, “As part of the pride and a lifelong Villa supporter, it is a huge honour to be asked to bring my 20 years of design experience to the creation of the new kits.
“I have worked closely in collaboration with both Aston Villa and Fanatics, which demonstrates a fresh approach to design and a commitment to give more back to the supporters. Every time a Villa fan sees the kits, they will know that one of their own has been a part of the design process.”
Fanatics International Managing Director, Ed Boardman added: “As an existing partner, we recognise the passionate fan base that Villa has and we’re delighted to add our manufacturing expertise to this new and exciting partnership.
“The design process was led by our Product Development team and overall, the new arrangement reflects a unique manufacturing model that offers collaborative opportunities for fashion-led brands such as Luke to enter this previously inaccessible sport.”