PUMA has rolled a fresh new collaborative capsule with Chinatown Market in anticipation of this year’s NBA Draft. Chinatown Market, which is primarily an online retailer of culture-inspired goods, sought to reenergize PUMA’s Basketball division with a set of cheeky graphics that serve as more than just another stock draft tee you would get from a major sportswear retailer. The capsule was sold during a one day pop-up event at PUMA’s Brooklyn HQ (sorry folks).
Among the collection, the long-sleeve tee rocked by draft prospect Deandre Ayton, generated the most buzz, and for good reason. Though not directly related to the world of soccer, the many labels and minds inspired by the beautiful game can take a few notes at what was had by this collaborative collection. It’s true, we all love when a streetwear label crafts a shirt that pays its respects to a classic football kit – whether by using its name in place of a sponsor, using a club’s colors and stripes, or designing a one off crest. But are we really going to keep pretending like its not getting played out after seeing the same formulaic approach time and time again?
Soccer and streetwear will always share a symbiotic relationship, borrowing elements from one another in further propelling each in its own right. What the PUMA x Chinatown Market capsule does right is bring the playfulness of sport back into fray. Labels need to start bringing back the simple emotions and graphic elements we associate to the game. Whether it be a childishly-drawn He-Man nutmegging a hapless Skeletor, or a shirt with a club’s cherished (and perhaps unapologetic) chant displayed in an equally timeless typeface, let’s start paying homage to the vibe we hear and see in the stands and the streets rather than just that of the kit and pitch.