Orlando Pirates has unveiled its 2023/24 season jersey in collaboration with adidas and Thebe Magugu is the designer responsible for the official home and away jersey.
Announced last Tuesday by all three brands, the collaboration is seen as “the latest marriage of performance sportswear and streetwear.” Sport has long intersected with street culture and the partnership was intended with cultural overlap in mind.
“Global sport is a phenomenon that will continue to rise,” says Magugu. “It’s fascinating to see other industries align uniquely to become a part of it – from music to luxury fashion. My brand is all about exploring and bringing to light unique facets of our history and culture, and none has left more of an impact than the legacy of Orlando Pirates, and I am honoured to contribute so significantly to that history.”
“I felt like it was important to hear the Orlando Pirates story before I began designing,” explains Thebe Magugu. “A tale of perseverance, fighting against the odds to become one of the most recognised figureheads in global sports. This idea of persistence is why I decided to treat the iconic skull logo as a maze. To symbolise the long and winding journey the team has travelled to land them here”.
Speaking to the scaled-up skull on the front of the jersey, Magugu wanted to add a confrontational and intimidating edge that communicated power without saying a word. “The shorts continue the bone and maze motif, referencing the thigh bone, making the whole kit a sort of internal X-Ray,” he adds.
While the away jersey design has garnered heavy praise from the fans, reactions to posts of the home jersey have been much harsher. The design of the scaled up X-Ray skull on the jersey seems to be the object of their irritation.
The jerseys will be available to purchase on the 27th July online at adidas.co.za/pirates. “Football is a unifier – people from very different backgrounds, races, religions, and beliefs are all bound in their common love of the phenomenon. It brings out passion, love, hurt – things that speak to the human condition. For this reason, I think global sports is an important societal pillar; it reminds us of our humanity,” says Thebe Magugu.