The fourth in our series of #cf97ThirdKit interviews sees me speak to Option 4 designer Eric Puente.
Check out the previous interviews with Mike Sever (Option 1), Danny Carlino (Option 2) and Freddie Christiano (Option 3) regarding the inspiration behind their designs. One more Q&A coming later Thursday!
What was the inspiration behind your design?
I wanted to design a kit that celebrates the Chicago flag and really represents the city. It was meant to be for the fans of the Chicago Fire, but also other people just wanting to show their love and pride for Chicago. One of the team’s past official alternate kits in 2005 was also a Chicago flag inspired design and many fans since have coveted that rare and unique kit.
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I wanted to give fans the opportunity to have another flag kit that they would feel proud wearing in Toyota Park, Chicago, and anywhere else in the world. I wanted the kit to also attract people who love the Chicago flag as a symbol of the city, who aren't necessarily Chicago Fire fans. The flag design has become very popular in Chicago and everyday you see people wearing it on a t-shirt or a hat or reinterpreted into a Chicago team logo.
I felt this could be an opportunity to make a kit that Chicagoans could embrace and at the same time spark more of the city's interest into the Chicago Fire team.
What do you feel is unique about your design?
I think the detail in my design is what makes it unique and why it was ultimately chosen over the many other Chicago flag inspired kits. The Chicago flag's three white bands on my design are meant to revisit the famous white band of the Chicago Fire jerseys from the team’s inaugural year.
The back of the neck says "Chicago" and under it is the municipal symbol; The Y shape inside the circle represents the three branches of the Chicago River that connect within the city. Another detail that is not very clear from the image on the contest website is the inside of the collar that has the year 1871 and 1997 separated by a single six-pointed star, which is meant to represent the Great Chicago Fire and the club’s founding.
These little details make the kit very unique from the other kits, because the whole design begins to represent the city of Chicago. The design celebrates the traditions of Chicago, honors the history of the city and the club, and evokes the passion of the citizens and Chicago Fire fans.
What would it mean for your design to be chosen as the club's third kit?
Honestly, it would be the most incredible thing. I've been a Chicago Fire fan for seven years, the last three of which I have been a season ticket holder. I'm a huge fan and to be a small part of this club's great history would be truly amazing.
It would be great to see the players on the field in the jersey I designed, but I think it would be more rewarding to see all the fans, especially those in Section 8, because after all they would be the ones who ultimately picked my design.
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I also have my own collection of Fire jersey from every different style as far back as 2001 and having my design be a part of that collection would be kind of fun to see. As a designer having just graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology with a Bachelors in Architecture, it's a sense of accomplishment to have this design picked as a finalist, and if it's picked as the club’s third kit it could be a great start to this young designer's career.
Overall, having my design chosen as a the club's third kit means that I'll be a small part of The Chicago Fire history which I think is the best prize of all, being a part of this club that I love. GO FIRE!