MEC x Santoni for Juventus Shanghai Academy


From field to city, football apparel is more than just a uniform on the pitch with MEC.

Materials Experience Center is no stranger to activewear nor the professional athlete world. In the past, MEC’s Creative Director and co-founders of Studio Eva x Carola, Eva de Laat and Carola Leegwater and the team have worked alongside Nike, as well as with Lenzing and Woolmark for seamless yoga and cycling collections. Their latest venture for athleticwear? Juventus Shanghai Academy. The renowned football club is famous worldwide for their skill, victories, and discipline. They welcome fans and aspiring athletes to not only support the team in stadiums or from the comfort of their home but to also join their academy and improve in the world’s most famous sport like a pro. To do so, these young sport aficionados rely heavily on what they wear. 

At MEC, they’re highly familiar with activewear and the desired performance features needed depending on the sport or extracurricular activity. This attire should move with the wearer and should be made of a material that properly breathes, controls perspiration, compresses where needed, and most importantly — is lightweight. Therefore, the experts at MEC alongside Santoni tech engineers decided on a collection that ecompasses Juventus-class attitude through visual design, physical feel, and in-action experience.

This Juventus seamless collection consists of four pieces: a jersey, zipped hoodie, a pair of shorts and socks. The aesthetic inspiration for these come from the busy urban Shanghai vibe and its high contrast between city and nature. By transferring this concept onto training gear, the sleek and classy design shows off the football club’s west to east impact. MEC’s team narrowed down on making this collection with monochrome colors and a splash of gold — as this is a common hue that stands out when driving past temples and other city staples.

In order to truly capture Juventus’ identity as the biggest and top youth football academy, the MEC team, powered by Santoni technology, managed to convey this message via training attire; one of a kind.

Graphic direction for this activewear was planned to embody elements of Chinese culture whilst still including Juventus’ mascot, the zebra. In addition, stripes and fade-outs for the design were decided on so these would give a feeling of speed, comfort, and confidence. These elements were chosen to emphasize the west to east influence of the team and a field to city approach.

As for the structure direction of this athleticwear material; strong and textured fabric with breathable intricate patterns for mesh ventilation, were at the top of the list to achieve an enhanced athlete’s experience. After all, the ultimate goal for this collaboration was to empower athletes with confidence and technical capability when training and playing.

For the Juventus jersey, MEC prioritized the following performance features: lightweight, moisture-wicking, flexible fabric suitable for any weather condition. Meanwhile, the shorts were designed like a regular loose sports pair rather than as compression tights. These classic black shorts were developed with an enhanced shape for motion and zoned engineered fabric placements to give breathability and support where needed. The pair of socks on the other hand, are made of a fabric with a bit of compression and medium in thickness to keep them breathable. As we know, athletes train and play for a continuous amount of time, at least twice a week. Having a pair of socks that helps regulate comfort, heat, and perspiration is important since footballers’ feet, in this case, are always on the go. Last for this collection: the zipped hoodie, was made on the lighter end to be suitable for wearing in all seasons — encompassing properties of: enhanced fit, room for full range of motion and ideal for warm up or cool down post-game. The main purpose of this piece is for casual athleisure and not for playing in, therefore, performance functionality wasn’t the ultimate goal, instead it was the comfort and aesthetic look of the material.

Overall the Juventus Academy Shanghai seamless collection embodies a balanced and necessary combination of lightweight, breathable, moisture managing and anti-abrasion attributes. Additionally, this attire set is strong and long lasting with a diverse range of customization possibilities. It’s important to highlight that the MEC team and Santoni engineers, found a way to include the Juventus logo and jersey number with name lettering, on the clothing — that’s right, seamlessly assembled while the garments were being made. This all-in-one production is game changing as it avoids the pieces from moving on to a next stage for final detailing and finishing, ideal for personalization.

This partnership collection resulted in a classic black and white zebra fade-out look — it’s bold, iconic, and powerful; who Juventus as a team continues to be. For MEC, exploring and creating new materials to enhance the end-user is exactly what they’re there for. Though it is another sports collaboration under their belt, it is also another step towards providing an alternate and better solution to what we’re used to as consumers; in this case up and coming athletes. It’s safe to say that the Materials Experience Center is always open to work on long term solutions even within a small collection of classic essentials for diverse applications. In this instance, football apparel has proved to be more than just a uniform on the pitch.