Friday, May 14, 2010

Africa Unite!

With the World Cup around the corner and the friendly games having started, I feel it's only fair to do a post on Africa, african art and football fever! 
'For South Africa, hosting the WC is an invitation to the world and an opportunity for change. For Nike, this comes in the form of the (NIKE)RED laces campaign, which contributes 100 per cent of the profits from special red shoe laces to help fight Aids in Africa.' WSGN.
The african trend is hot right now, with brands embracing african prints and colours, fashion magazine finally using only black models for africa-inspired editorial stories. Being african myself (as in being born in Johannesburg) for me it's been a delayed embracing by the rest of the world especially the fashion world. In a fashion sense, I know South Africa has amazingly talented fashion designers. The trend is colourful and playful. Africans, like Indians, are extremely practical often reusing raw materials and its very common to find street art made from wires and bottle tops, beads and glass.

I feel Puma's Unity Kit is true to it's players. African players tend to grow up playing on sand fields and after a game are covered in dust, to this subtle gradient from sky blue to sand has a real feel of that and is reminiscent of an african desert. Puma is also the official sponsor of the 12 African national teams.
Puma commissioned Kehinde Wiley for portraits of African football (soccer) players to launch the Puma 2010 World Cup campaign. Below is his painting 'Unity' measuring 9 x 12 feet, his keen eye for design and pattern beautiful captures the spirit of Africa.

This is the inspiration behind the Unity Kit:

You may also be familiar with South African photojournalist Pieter Hugo's project The Hyena & the other Man which were picture of street performers and their muzzled hyenas from Northern Nigeria. Shot in urban shanty towns, the photographs are nearly monochromatic, with only touches of color.
Fashion brand Asos also launched their Africa collection at the beginning of the year, which is part of their Green Room.
Stay tuned...I've got loads more to blog abaout. Next time it will be about the revolutionary world cup stadiums built in SA.


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