PUMA’s latest ‘ftblCulture’ collection puts its African national teams on center stage.
If football and fashion have anything in common, it’s the creativity that makes each field endlessly fascinating. On one hand you have mind-bending moves, passes, and finishes that provide the backbone to many a fan’s core memories, and on the other you have an unyielding desire to churn out lasting tailor-made premium classics of clothing.
The latest of such ingenuity has been delivered by PUMA. The brand has refreshed its ftblCulture range with the addition of new capsules specifically for their African national teams ahead of AFCON 2024. These items include kits, tracksuits, bucket hats, and tank tops, similar to the lifestyle ranges PUMA has created for its top club teams like AC Milan and Manchester City.
However, this is the first time something of this nature is being bounced off for African national teams on a wide scale. Nike first pioneered this with the Super Eagles of Nigeria, which was a huge success leading up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign in Russia.
The designs are specifically crafted with the aesthetics of each national team in mind, with motifs in each shirt of the various teams also inspired by indigenous local symbols and national emblems.
Now, lets take a look at some of the inspirations behind the designs PUMA released.
The Ghana capsule is inspired by Kente, a national cloth made of handwoven strips of silk and cotton with significant cultural importance. Once reserved for Ghanian royalty, the cloth has become an iconic symbol of the country.
The kente cloth comes in various shapes, forms, and colors and each distinct design has its own name and meaning. The exact kente patterns PUMA used for the Ghana fbtlCulture range are called “Sika Futuro’’ and ‘’Wofro dua pa a na ya pia wo.” “Sika Futuro” means “gold dust,” and Ghana, a country known for its gold deposits since time immemorial, previously used gold dust as a medium of exchange. “Wofro dua pa a na ya pia wo” literally means “one who climbs a tree worth climbing gets the help deserved,” a Ghanaian proverb that maintains that any good individual effort deserves to be supported by the community.
PUMA’s theme for the Ghana streetwear capsule is “shining brighter, shining bold,” and were modeled by poster boy Mohammed Kudus who is a PUMA athlete, Black Stars captain Dede Ayew, new prodigy Ernest Nuamah, and Bournemouth FC’s Antoine Semenyo.
The Ivorian capsule is first and foremost inspired by the country’s national orange color, which is paired with an elephant tusk motif as a nod to the club’s nickname, Les Elephants. Cote D’Ivoire used to be a land with many elephants, many of which were killed for their ivory tusks, which were a sought after commodity for making ornaments.
At the forefront of the kit reveal is Dortmund’s Sebastian Haller, who is also a PUMA-sponsored footballer.
Like Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal’s version of the fbtlCulture collection is a play on the national team’s nickname, the Terenga Lions. The pattern on each item features an unmistakeable silhouette of a lion’s teeth mid-growl, which is overlaid on the national team’s home green color. At the forefront of the shoot reveal is the country’s talismanic leader, Sadio Mane, and the theme behind the design is “when lions lead.”
After a fine showing at last year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, PUMA perfectly executes another excellent design for the Atlas Lions of Morocco, also forming the shape of a lion while paying tribute to the country’s signature zellige art. One of the senior most players in the team, Romain Saiss, leads the reveal for his country.
The Egyptian collection completes the five streetwear capsules. The Pharaohs get a line inspired by the hieroglyphics of Ancient Egypt. The kit is also made in the traditional red color of the Egyptian national team, where the hieroglyphics motif is spread vertically all over. PUMA has long been decking out the Egyptian national team in hieroglyphics, and the brand dips in to that well quite successfully once again.