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Friday, June 27, 2014

Emphasis on the Uni


I hinted when highlighting Carolina Crown's recent uniform changes that I liked the uniforms as much as I can like the current iteration of Crown uniforms, and that that was another post for another time. This is that time; this is that post.

To be frank, I don't like the new breed of uniforms, and I'm rather averse to some of the drastic changes taking place, particularly this season. My reason is this: Just as uniforms - one form - are designed to give a cohesive look to the corps in the field, I believe that they ought to also tie the present version of the corps to its past. The recent Carolina Crown reboot - and I realize this isn't their first - is a complete departure from the cream-clad corps they had been in the recent past. The last few years in cream bore minor changes, including a difference in accent colors, that didn't bother me at all. These at least kept the overall look, while last year's change, and this year's hue adjustment, completely threw previous styles out of the window. If I may damn with faint praise, I am at least glad that this year's uniform is cohesive with last year's. If they would have switched back to cream last year, my perception would have been that they switched to dark pants for one year - a championship year - to mask sloppiness in the legs. At least they're doubling down on their decision.

While Crown hits closest to home, they are not the only offender. Santa Clara Vanguard, my other favorite corps, has largely departed from their traditional look, donning white tops for this year's Scheherezade program. Madison Scouts too went with all white for the summer. Still in both of those cases, the uniform style is a relative constant. and the color change is to a neutral one that is already or has previously been part of the corps' palate. This year - or more accurately, last year - only Crown provided that level of whiplash in uniform design.

Perhaps my issue comes from following marching/athletic music like a sports fan. While certainly there have been major changes in uniform and even color scheme for pro and college teams, they happen far less frequently. Continuity makes for ease of support - even if I'm not in team/corps merchandise, I can throw on green in support of the Cavaliers or light blue to represent Spirit of Atlanta. While uniform changes don't change this manner of support, color changes certainly do. I could cynically point out that the switch from #purplepantsband to the #spacepantsband in blue leads to more merchandise sales, but I don't know that that's a driving force. I think the design team just thinks it makes sense creatively, and while it may, I think it dilutes a potential branding opportunity.

But what do I know? Maybe I'm quickly becoming a corps curmudgeon (because you know, I'm "pro acoustic instrumentation" too). Now get off my lawn.
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