THIS WEEK IN KITS

With the World Cup hangover in full effect, this week’s excitement from the world of kits may just be what the doctor ordered. With so much going on though, it might be too easy to lose track of all that was this week in kits. Luckily, KTTP is here to provide some clarity on exactly what kits we should prescribe ourselves as well as those we might survive without.

Without further ado, let the recap begin.


JUVENTUS

On top of their mega signing, Juventus held on to the headlines this week with their solid third kit option for the upcoming season. Though adidas is taking a page from Nike this year by essentially using the same template for all third kits, this template is stylish and modern enough for me to get over this fact. Add to it Juventus’ now all too common Scudetto and Coppa Italia badge, as well as Ronaldo’s number 7 and you, might easily have one the best selling jerseys to come out of this summer.


MANCHESTER UNITED

Next in the recap is Manchester United. Though not the best United kit I have ever laid eyes on, I like the fact that adidas designers are at least trying out something new in light of the fairly safe and conservative designs we’ve seen since the adidas takeover. This number pays homage to United’s railway heritage with a clever train track graphic that runs from the bottom to the top of the jersey. The overall design might not be new when it comes to the world of soccer as a whole, but that might just be where the appeal of this jersey is as it offers something new yet still familiar.


BAYERN MUNICH 

From not trying to reinvent the wheel, we move on to a team that is really going in a whole new direction. The new Bayern Munich away kit is what I like to call the mint chocolate chip look. I don’t use this description as a wholly derogatory term as I really do appreciate the color Bayern has brought on. I simply just think this kit is just far too simple and just needs a little something more to be truly icy, fresh, or whatever other word you want to use.


BLACKBURN ROVERS

Championship side Blackburn Rovers has also decided to switch up the color palette. In this case, the team does it for its home kit and the decision proves to be absolutely brilliant. The new touch of sky blue which now stands in place of the typical royal blue offering adds a greater touch of class that complements the club’s badge and retro Umbro diamond sleeves to perfection. This is one kit I call H2T good. Props to anyone who gets that reference.


HULL CITY

As we move on, the English Championship keeps my attention as Hull City is another club doing great things. In contrast to Blackburn, Hull sticks with a familiar away look with this black jersey with orange accents. Surely, it is a simple design, however, that collar and the way this color palette accentuates the club badge is enough for me to be wooed by this kit.


CHELSEA

Speaking of simple, it might not get any more simple than Chelsea’s new away jersey for this season. This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing because as much as I wanted to hate Chelsea’s jersey, I find myself really loving this design. Its definitely just another template look, however, the jersey’s yellow color with hints of blue are just too damn sharp and classic to overlook.


PUMAS

Even though this was a recap rather than a countdown of this week’s kits, I can’t help but end on the highest of notes. For that reason, I end this recap with Mexico’s Pumas who are the only team to lend not one, but two solid kit options. The range demonstrated in these kits is what really wins me over. On one hand, I have the home shirt which is everything I want and expect with that giant Puma logo, and on the other is the away shirt which relegates the Puma to your typical club badge with a classic pinstripe soccer look to go with it.

Though I am not making any decisions for now on which ones to buy, some of the kits I have covered this week have certainly made a compelling argument. Share your thoughts in the comments below on which kits you think will hold up to be some of this summer’s most memorable.

OKAYAFRICA X NIKE SHOWCASE AFRICA TO THE WORLD

We are weeks into the tournament and somehow we are still talking about Nigeria’s World Cup Collection. No need to roll your eyes though as this is not another discussion on style and fashion. Instead, we’re here to highlight the greater significance of Nike’s project through the newfound interest and awareness it has generated for a nation and continent that stems well beyond the world of soccer.

It was only right for Nike to link up with OkayAfrica, a news and media platform that celebrates all facets of African culture for a North American audience. A few weeks ago, the two threw a Nigeria pre-World Cup watch party in Brooklyn as an opportunity to leverage the hype around this collection with all the work that OkayAfrica has done and continues to do.
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The whole project is enlightening to anyone. For me specifically, who has grown so used to hearing and seeing all the negative and unfortunate things about Africa, it is refreshing to finally be exposed to a new image that celebrates the vibrancy of a culture in spite of all this adversity. I am thankful that soccer now serves as a conduit to Africa’s art, music, food, and culture, however, I realize that the beauty of this continent was always there for me if I had only looked for it.

OkayAfrica remains committed to this work, and we were lucky to have spent time with them where they spoke at length on how the World Cup has reinvigorated this effort to showcase Africa not just to a diaspora community, but to the world. Read our full interview with OkayAfrica’s Director of Events/Activations Sinat Giwa, with Editor-in-Chief Rachel Hislop chiming in below.


Can you tell us about how you/OkayAfrica and Nike connected for the project?
We’d been planning events for World Cup 2018 for a while now, knowing that it was a key moment for our community of Africans globally. Once we knew the five African countries that would be making it to the World Cup – Morocco, Senegal, Egypt, Nigeria, and Tunisia – we began to plan around ways to reach the parts of our community that represent each country respectively. Nike approached us about activating around the Nigeria team kits because of our strong connection to the Nigerian Diaspora community, especially in New York. We knew that this event would not only be a pivotal moment for our core sports audience globally but that this collaboration would underscore how big of a moment these kits would be for Nigerian culture.

Why did Nike’s Naija campaign resonate with you specifically and why is it important to OkayAfrica?
The campaign resonated because of its focus on the culture of soccer and how that extends outside of the game. The campaign was about our culture (a portion of our team that worked on the project is Nigerian). The game is central, but the players, the community rallying, the music, the art, and the fashion surrounding the games have always been just as exciting for OkayAfrica to highlight. It’s what we do.

Can you give us a brief on the creative concept behind the event – bringing in the IG photographers, including music in the mix, etc?
We had the idea to bring a Nigerian party 3.0 to life with a series of wonderful partnerships with dope creatives, movers, and shakers in our community. This was an opportunity to once again leverage our incredible relationships to underscore a pivotal moment. We wanted to create a proper Naija shindig with food, roaming photography and of course JAMS, as music is the framework on which OkayAfrica was built. As for musical talent, Moniki came through with the Afro-Brazilian vibes to remind us that Africans are worldwide and of the connections between Brazil and Nigeria. Moma is one of the best to ever do it, so we had to have him there, and Tunez is the top Nigerian DJ Worldwide – no question. Getting Burna Boy in the mix was incepted way back when we heard his latest project “Outside,” so when the opportunity to add him as a surprise performer came, we knew this was the perfect moment. Having Izzy Odigie solo dancing on the stage, the guys with fresh “Naija” and OkayAfrica logo haircuts as a nod to being in Brooklyn, it all came together wonderfully. Overall we kept it simple with a couple of great photo moments, good vibes, food, and really great music. If you’ve ever been to an OkayAfrica party you know it’s always just a moment to have our people gather and have fun.

The visuals captured are also a major part to the event. How did you fall upon the three photographers chosen to capture the spirit of Naija Worldwide Bash?
We work with Travis Matthews fairly often, since he shot our Fall 2017 campaign for Okayplayer clothing. He’s so talented and amazing at shooting on the fly. His event photography highlights that skill. I’ve been following Bukunmi Grace for a while now and knew she needed to be a part of capturing this event when we first started ideating, and Shako Oteka is the man! He came up from North Carolina on the fly, shot on his own accord and shared these amazing images with me and the team after. I had to include them. It was really special to get these varying perspectives of the event.

What do events like the Naija Worldwide Bash mean to American culture?
It means we (Africans) are here – and we’ve been here! So much so that the spirit of our content and when we gather resonates heavily with the diaspora and those who are searching for ways to connect more intimately with African culture.

What about on a global standpoint?
Same thing. Africa to the World! Our goal as a brand and an editorial platform is to connect people globally to the greatness and diversity of the culture that is cultivated on the continent, and this event was an extension of that work.

What are your comments on the turnout and how the event went?
It was a special one. To look out on the crowd and see not only people from all parts of the continent and the diaspora, but also attendees who may have been discovering our brand for the first time via Nike was really a warming feeling. For those who have been to an OkayAfrica party before, this was a culmination of all of the things we like to provide, good food, vibes, and music. And for those that were experiencing this for the first time, it was the perfect introduction to how we celebrate.

What’s the future for OkayAfrica and soccer?
Rachel: On the website for the World Cup, we’ve tapped several experts in the field to focus on the African countries in the competition—Morocco, Senegal, Egypt, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

We’ll have articles spanning everything from in-depth looks at the African teams in the competition, profiles on rising stars like Egypt’s Mohamed Salah to the afrobeat music being played in locker rooms before the games, and well pieces about how players are standing up to racism from fans.


We thank OkayAfrica for the opportunity they have provided to us to showcase their own work. We are confident their efforts will keep more eyes on Africa well beyond this summer.


IMAGES BY TRAVIS MATTHEWS


IMAGES BY BUKUNMI GRACE


IMAGES BY SHAKO OTEKA

THE IMPORTANCE OF NIKE’S SHORT FILM ‘THIS IS NAIJA’

“As an African kid, you don’t learn to play football on the synthetic turf or learn football with well-planned grass, you learn it the hard way… on the street corners.”

The night is alit — the roaring of trumpets, the banging of drums, the cheering of thousands, hopeful — as the Nigerian National Football team prepares for the biggest moments of their lives. For a country of 186 million, 60 percent of which is under the age of 20, this is a new Nigeria. One to which represents a new direction, a new spirit, channeled across a country of over 500 different tribes in what is known collectively as Naija.

In conjunction with Nike, Nigerian photographer and filmmaker Andrew Dosunmu captures this vibrant optimism in a new short-film titled, This is Naija: A Nigerian Football Story. At the forefront is the new Nigeria home kit, a devilishly beautiful shirt highlighted with neon green accents and an iconic zig-zag pattern which shattered the kit record, by selling out three million units in mere minutes. However, this is a story that runs far deeper than a flashy kit; this is the tale of a country, who’s relatively recent independence, is now revealing its deeply rooted creative history. A history of song and dance, of food and culture, of mythology and folklore — all of which permeates with every pulsating kick of the ball.

“When I think of Naija swag — swag is edgy, edgy is rugged, it’s authentic. Its the way we dress, its the way we carry ourselves, its the way we speak. its the way we move,” says Nigerian musician Nneka. This movement is ever-present in the likes of Wilfred Ndidi and captain John Obi Mikel, but also in rising musical and creative talents such as photographer Yagazie Emezi, filmmaker Grace Ladoja and Wizkid, to name a few.

As the most populous nation in Africa, Nigeria oozes this creativity, as it ranks second worldwide in terms of films produced and one that has birthed musical giants such as Fela Kuti and the Afrobeat movement. Footballing wise, Nigeria continues to grace the w