“There’s just a special connection between hummel and Sunderland that’s difficult to define…”

As Sunderland release their brand new hummel home kit, we speak to the kit designers on their plans for the Black Cats

We caught up with new Sunderland AFC kit partner, hummel, for a quick fire Q&A ahead of their greatly anticipated return on Wearside. Those icon shirt designs, bonds with the Black Cats and their current/future plans, read on for the lowdown…

WMS: Sunderland AFC recently announced a partnership with hummel which will run on an initial five-year term and is reportedly “one of the largest commercial deals in the Club’s history.” Could you just briefly talk about reuniting with the club and what that means for your company? 

HUMMEL: We are incredibly excited to reunite with Sunderland AFC after 30 years. For hummel, this partnership represents more than just a business agreement; it’s a return to our shared history and a celebration of our enduring connection with Sunderland and its passionate fanbase. This collaboration is about honouring tradition, and we are committed to delivering top-quality kits that reflect the spirit and pride of SAFC.

WMS: Hummel last produced a Sunderland AFC strip 30 years ago. Other big sporting brands have come and gone since around SR5. Yet, fans still consider your brand to have become intertwined with the club’s DNA. Why do you think that is the case?

HUMMEL: Our bond with Sunderland fans is rooted in our shared history and commitment to authenticity. There’s just a special connection between hummel and Sunderland that’s difficult to define, but returning to Sunderland feels like coming home to us, and we couldn’t be happier about it. We look forward to making new and lasting memories with the fans.

WMS: Between 1988 and 1994 hummel produced some phenomenal kits that still resonate with supporters. What is it about those strips in particular that is so iconic?

HUMMEL: The kits from that era are iconic because they not only embodied the style of the time but also encapsulated Sunderland AFC’s journey. The chevrons became emblematic of the club’s ambition and success, and their bold, distinctive designs left a lasting impact on fans and players alike. Now, 30 years later, we aim to design the next iconic Sunderland kit that will resonate for generations to come.

WMS: You recently stated that hummel will provide Sunderland AFC with the “Rolls Royce treatment.” Could you provide supporters with some insight as to what that may entail going forward?

HUMMEL: The term “Rolls Royce treatment” symbolizes our dedication to achieving excellence across all facets of our partnership with SAFC. We aim to set new standards in our kit designs while honouring Sunderland’s rich heritage.

WMS: “Heritage and innovation will be at the heart of an iconic collaboration” according to the initial club press release. Could you briefly talk us through the creative process behind this statement, for the new kits?

HUMMEL: Our creative process for the new kits begins with a deep dive into Sunderland AFC’s history and culture. We draw inspiration from the club’s iconic moments and symbols, infusing modern design elements to create kits that resonate with the fanbase. Each kit is a blend of heritage and innovation, reflecting our commitment to excellence and the enduring legacy of SAFC.

WMS: What are your thoughts on the Time Capsule project which recently saw 2,500 tops and 1,000 jackets sell out in less than 24 hours? Given the obvious demand, are those particular items likely to be on sale again? And, will there be further similar projects? 

HUMMEL: We are thrilled by the overwhelming response to the Time Capsule project, which underlines the passion and loyalty of Sunderland fans. Moving forward, we look forward to introducing more unique projects that celebrate SAFC’s history and engage with the dedicated fanbase.

WMS: Under this renewed partnership there will be six new kits every year. Will the philosophy behind this always remain as traditional for home strip, heritage for away and creative for third strip and is there any hints you can give us about what may lie ahead?

HUMMEL: Our kit design philosophy is rooted in respecting SAFC’s traditions while embracing creativity and innovation. As for future designs, fans can expect exciting innovations that pay homage to Sunderland’s legacy while pushing boundaries in kit design. We are committed to delivering kits that make SAFC supporters’ proud season after season.