At the invitation of The Shirt Project, Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly unveiled The Shirt 2014 on April 11 (Friday) at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore during a ceremony to celebrate The Shirt Project’s 25th anniversary.
This year’s Shirt, produced by third-time Shirt vendor Alta Gracia Apparel, features a 60 percent cotton, 40 percent polyester blended material in dark blue heather. Both the color and blend are firsts for The Shirt, which in the past has used a solid color and 100 percent cotton.
"I love this color because it is like nothing we have ever done before, yet it stays within the range of traditional colors,” Wetzel said. “The heather texture and 60/40 cotton/polyester blend also provide a vintage look and feel to The Shirt.”
Since one purpose of The Shirt is to foster a sense of unity in the stadium on gameday, a goal for the design team was to reflect the strong connections fans have to each other, to the team and to the historic home of the legendary Fighting Irish football team.
This year's design was unlike any other,” sophomore designer Camden Hill said. “Focusing on the recent success of Notre Dame football at home, we chose to include both an inside and outside view of the stadium, which is more relevant now than ever.
Representing the gameday experience in The Shirt’s visual design became a priority for the designers.
"This year we wanted to capture the full gameday experience and include every member of the Notre Dame community who is part of this great tradition," sophomore and vice president of The Shirt Project Molly Howell said.
The design, like The Shirt 2014’s material and color, departs from previous patterns while incorporating a vintage feel and look that honors the Project’s 25-year history.
"This design deviates from the style that has been used in recent years,” junior and president of The Shirt Project John Wetzel said. “The graphic was organically created by our talented designers rather than based directly off of images it was in previous years. It also doesn't feature any players, but rather centers around the stadium and the full gameday experience with the fans, players and band."
Hill said the design process lasted longer this year than in previous years because he and fellow designer, sophomore Victor Roh, started from a blank page.
“We did not use a specific player of highlight a singular event, but stuck to the traditional components that are present in each gameday,” Hill said. “Many of the design's aspects were created from scratch which also contributed to the extended process.”
Roh said accurately capturing the essence of gameday culture at Notre Dame was both a priority and a difficulty.
“The biggest challenge I faced during the design process is punching all the intangibles into the work,” Roh said. “It was not just about Notre Dame football, and it was not just about the players.
“It was also about the marching band, the stadium, and the fans. Capturing and visualizing all those 'game day experience' was the hardest part in our design.”
The front of The Shirt 2014 depicts a stylized version of Notre Dame Stadium, complete with light pollution that illuminates this year’s slogan, “Then. Now. Forever.” Coined by committee member and sophomore Kevin Frost, the phrase honors the history and traditions of Irish football and The Shirt while referencing Notre Dame’s sustained relevance in sports and education today and the University’s continued commitment to excellence.
“The design features the stadium, which is something that stays,” Roh said. “Students come and go, players come and go, but the stadium will always be there. When the students come back to their alma mater, they'll always find the stadium in the same place.”
The back of The Shirt 2014 portrays football players exiting the tunnel of Notre Dame Stadium, flanked by members of the Band of the Fighting Irish, the nation’s oldest university marching band. This will be the band’s first appearance on The Shirt. The phrase “We are ND” spotlights the unity of players and all fans — students, alumni, faculty, family and friends — at Notre Dame football games.
The Project’s 25th anniversary logo is included on the left sleeve and inside the neckline. It honors the 25 years and 26 Shirts that have in turn raised millions of dollars for students and student groups over the years.
“This year's Shirt keeps to Notre Dame's colors while staying fresh with a new shade and a blended fabric,” Hill said. “For the 25th anniversary of The Shirt, we wanted to ensure that this Shirt was exciting and innovative, and we hope that we have conveyed this in our decisions.”
The Shirt 2014 can be purchased at The Shirt Project’s website (theshirt.nd.edu), the LaFortune Student Center box office and the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore.